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  • What's Wrong with having a PhD?

    Discussion in 'General jobs discussion' started by mhjones12, Mar 12, 2013.

    1. mhjones12

      mhjones12 Well-Known Member

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      As I near the end of my PhD in Mechanical Engineering and I begin looking for jobs, I've come across articles about how having a PhD is often seen as a negative to an employer. So my question is, what’s wrong with having a PhD? Do you know of your company's policy on hiring employees with PhD's (particularly in engineering)?
       
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    3. GarethW

      GarethW Chief Clicker Staff Member

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      Can you post a link to the article(s) you mentioned?

      I don't know about company policy, but I think that some PhDs in a niche discipline might mean that suitable jobs just aren't available. Either that or they think that PhDs are "overqualified", and the expectation if that they will move to something "better" soon. Where I live (Cambridge, UK) you can't move for PhDs in all sorts of fruitcake specialites. You have to wonder what the point is. The people with the wackiest ones are usually planning an academic/research career, and are so rich anyway they don't need to worry about jobs.
       
    4. jamjumpin

      jamjumpin Member

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      Companies are more bothered about your experience than your qualifications. Having a PhD means you spent too much time studying when you could have been doing the actual job and learning what it's like in the real world.

      There's also a bit of what Gareth said, 'being overqualified,' the expectation that as you have a PhD you'll want more money than someone without one.

      I don't know if any of this would be included in policy but it's one of those rumours that floats around a lot.
       
    5. GarethW

      GarethW Chief Clicker Staff Member

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      I've known some Cambridge PhDs to earn a pittance. But as I said before they're usually pretty well off anyway and don't care
       
    6. lavrgs

      lavrgs New Member

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      The people I have worked with feel that if you're going to hire a PHd you'll also need to hire someone to do his work...as output, in some cases, doesn't seem to be prolific.
       
    7. Michael Ross

      Michael Ross Well-Known Member

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      I can't speak for why in all cases, but I can recount why one manager did not like PhDs, and why I did not pursue one myself.

      The manger had, by bad experiences, found PhD MEs to be impractical and not time efficient. I can't say if that is warranted; but by nature, in some, perhaps many cases, one who gets a PhD may be more inclined to academic pursuits, and research, than to making money for a corporation. He liked people who would jump right in and fix things, getting their hands dirty if necessary. You needed to be willing to study for days, design parts and detail drawings for weeks, sweep floors, build and operate test equipment, and so forth, to further the cause. And he wanted you to do it right now, no training, get on with it.

      I was offered a fellowship to work on a MSME and teach undergrads, but I looked at the available curricula, and spoke with other MS and PhD students. I was attracted to doing experimental work.

      However, the curricula were heavy on programming and narrow in scope. I thought I would be better off, and perhaps able to find gainful employment without having to move around to get jobs, if I was more of a generalist. I do like to get my hands dirty so I was less inclined to more study. I was also older - meaning I would have less time get payback for the additional years of schooling.

      I think doing research could have been a lot of fun. But, I would probably prefer to be support for graduate candidates. I do all the fun stuff, and they go off into dark rooms and gonkulate.
       
    8. ykornblum

      ykornblum New Member

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      I came through the business starting from an apprentice as a welder machinist (no high school), continued to draftsman/designer, and then went to school and got my Bachelor, Master and Ph.D. in Mechanical engineering. I found that getting the extensive education is very helpful and gave me the confidence that I can do anything. However there are situation where I do not tell prospective employers that I got a Ph.D. Sometimes I do not tell them I got a Master. One has to look at the employer and figure out if giving certain information would help or not. Most large companies will take PhDs but small companies are likely not to take PhDs simply because they need hands on people and Ph.D. they think is not the kind of person to do it. All my employers knew I got Ph.D. except one. So finish your Ph.D. and have an open mind about what to tell prospective employer.
       
    9. xietao063

      xietao063 New Member

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      @GarethW@jamjumpin Agree with them,The manager or Boss wants some who can handle works, if you can't do this, he will not give you money. After all,Company's purpose is earn the money by its employee do works.
      PhD was nothing wrong. Previous messages said "being overqualified", means PhD is just not suitable about it's job.
      Find a job involved in something about research, be worth with you years' study and PhD.
      Have a GOOD LUCK.
       
    10. xietao063

      xietao063 New Member

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      Forgive my poor English....:)
       
    11. nfmisso

      nfmisso New Member

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      Matthew; you appear to be a well rounded individual. Too many people who go straight on to graduate degrees are too distant from the real world, and too stuck in academics; which gives a poor reputation to all who have not had significant work experience.
       

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