Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Presented at the Canadian Science Policy Conference

It was a fantastic discussion of "Is a PhD Really a Waste of Time?" at CSPC Incubating Innovation and Ingenuity today with reference to the 2010 Economist article.

In brief, the answer is that just the PhD alone is not sufficient.

A student asked "Does that mean I have to take more classes?"
You are finished with classes! A PhD gives you the training to learn independently. The "more than just the PhD" is about self-assessment and building a network. Find a career you would like to explore and "work backward," as Ivan Waissbluth, one of the panelists commented. Ask them how they got there. Talk to professionals outside your lab, the university. Having said that, if you are interested in patent law or business management, a law degree or an MBA (mini MBA) may expose you to more skills and contacts you never knew about. But even with patent law, find a patent attorney and find out what their job is like before you write the LSAT. Perhaps start as a technical consultant and see if patent law is for you. Innovations or business classes at the school of continuing studies may be beneficial, but not necessary, depending on your own career goals.

Soft skills, self-assessment, a network, and a passion to lead the world with innovative ideas will take you to your dream career. Read my older posts which address these in detail. Good luck!

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