Hello all,
What a great resource this site is. It has become my daily destination.

I have a question and would like to pick the collective brain of the MTers. I have 15 years of experience in increasing levels of responsibility in the area of Technical Support - from the frontline Support Engineer to Director of Support. I have recently completed my MBA and have decided to pursue further academic challenges by enrolling in a Ph.D. program in Advanced Management and Decision-Making with Knowledge Management specialty. The program is a combination distance/onsite so I will be able to manage it along with my job. The area of KM is a special passion of mine, and I have been very active in the field - participating in conferences, workshops and industry forums.

The other day I was talking to a colleague and she said the she felt that while it was great to have a Ph.D. it was almost better not to put in on your resume – she mentioned that she was in several hiring decision meetings when the candidate was rejected because he/she had a Ph.D. So even though I have a solid uninterrupted record of steady growth and real measurable business achievements, will I shoot myself in the foot by adding the Ph.D. to the resume? Or will it actually add credibility to my KM efforts?


noahcampbell's picture

I think a Ph.D really helps if you plan to join an R&D group where a Ph.D is often required, work internationally (because a Ph.D is the only globally recognized education level, at least in the sciences) or expect to sell lots of books and/or lectures.

If I had a Ph.D, I would most likely list it in the Education section of my resume at the bottom with all the other education achievements, unless I was apply for one of the jobs above, in which case, it would go after my name.

itilimp's picture
Licensee Badge

Personally I think that it's a great thing and you should go for it.

I suspect the angle they are coming from is that in the technical support field there seems to be a divide between the 'I've got every qualification going' and the 'I don't need qualifications, I've got years of experience' people. Those who fall in the latter camp would certainly frown at a PhD and assume that it means you are only good for theory and don't know anything about practical application in the real world.

Note that this isn't my personal viewpoint, I just recognise it in some of my colleagues.

bflynn's picture

Here's what I've observed - it is one data point, it may not represent a trend.

I have been in one interview review meetings where a PhD was raised as an issue. In truth, the issue was that the person who was interviewed deemed himself to be too good for certain roles. The PhD was mentioned as the "reason" and the blame was put on the degree. The reality was that the person wasn't hired because he wasn't willing to do what was required.

Because of the few bad examples like above, there is a certain stigma that some (less experienced) hiring managers attach to advanced degrees, including an MBA and PhD. It is a cultural joke - "Sit and do this. Oh, you have an MBA. Then I'll have to show you how to do it."

Your personality will set the tone as to whether you are one of those people or not.


chuckbo's picture

I agree that it depends a lot on what kind of work you want to do -- also what company you want to work for. Are PhDs valued at that company. Like where I'm at, over half of our employeed have advanced degrees, so this company considers it a very good thing to have a PhD. Of course, that opinion is shaped by having a large percentage of PhDs working here. And, of course, lots of them are on our Science team, but far from all of them.

But I agree that I know a computer contractor who earned his PhD and never uses it on his resume. He's felt that it's a much bigger barrier in hiring situations, in IT, than a bonus. Too many people think of PhD recipients as book-learned, theoretical, ivory-tower types instead of people to bring in and get the work done. I can particularly see that if you're a contractor.

So that's what I'll add to the thread.

PierG's picture

I appreciate a PhD or an MBA more for the fact you WANTED it and you SUCCEEDED more then for the real value they have.
My 2 eurocents.