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Thread: UK PhDs

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    UK PhDs

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    Hey again guys and girls - Apologies if this is under the wrong thread - but it's a similar theme and is a part of my admissions process..ish.

    So, in my previous thread I asked for a profile eval, which some of you graciously did-- now I'm hoping for advice on a different topic.

    I have the great opportunity to work on a PhD here in London. My supervisor would be a brilliant professor that is highly regarded at the London School of Economics and the project has just been awarded a grant in conjunction with Amazon, Facebook, and four other unis.

    Two things --
    1.) I have a business background - I want to teach/research in business (though dealing with MIS subject matter). This PhD will technically be in "Computer Science" despite my portion of the research dealing with the organizational/managerial/social aspects. Seems silly now that I type it out, but will this branding impact my job search?
    2.) I want to be in the US for my career. It's home. Coming from the UK, will I have issues finding a placement here (beyond the standard competition/placement issues)?
    3.) If so -- would I be more competitive pushing to get into a "lesser" University in the states than a combined PhD from LSE/UCL?

    Thanks all!

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    Re: UK PhDs

    1. I am management so can't comment on this with respect to computer science but I would imagine that you would be able to apply for MIS jobs. I think it would be much tougher if you wanted to try to fill a strategy, IB, or management position.
    2. I have heard that it is generally more difficult for PhDs from outside of the US to get placements at US institutions. However, the schools you are considering have strong name recognition so this may be less of an issue. Additionally, a good CV is a good CV so as long as you've got a good publication record then this will be less of a concern for you.
    3. This is really up to you. It could be a good strategy to apply broadly and then make this decision once the dust has settled in the Spring. Oftentimes it is made for you based upon where you are accepted/rejected. If I were in your shoes, I would probably target a US PhD in a business school but I am pretty risk averse.

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    Re: UK PhDs

    Have you told your advisor that you are aiming for an MIS position with a US business school? Is it an established joint program between UCL and LSE, or something new? Have they ever placed people as MIS faculty before?

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    Re: UK PhDs

    Yes, they have a successful placement record. Mostly in the UK, but they have placed people at good schools in the US as well.

    An aside, but related note --

    How do you all rationalize the "placement problem" for lack of a better phrase? I mean a large portion of PhD's graduating from top 5's still end up in "post-doc hell" or no where near academia.

    Still finding it hard to wrap my head around 4/5 years of training for a 20% chance (being generous according to my research) of getting a position that's not a short term contract.

    Anyone have more positive numbers for Biz phd's that I haven't seen?

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    Re: UK PhDs

    At least for top Marketing PhD programs in the US, the placement problem doesn't seem to be huge like that. Of course the job market is competitive, but a 20% chance for top schools seems too low.

    Some information about placement of Marketing PhDs can be found here:
    Who Went Where Survey

    I don't know about other fields.

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    Re: UK PhDs

    20%? Where did you get your numbers? That seems way off!

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    Re: UK PhDs

    Quote Originally Posted by QuantanamoBay View Post
    20%? Where did you get your numbers? That seems way off!
    My numbers come from the very un-scientific process of going through several schools -- taking the number of placements per year they have listed on their website (obviously, may not accurate) and then taking the current number of students that are listed on the universities "Current Candidates on the job market" page (or however they have it labeled) and assuming that is representative of standard years (again, not a great measurement). Take SC for example, 11 people on the market this year -- last year 6 were placed.. 6 out of 11 seems nice. But, go back to 2006/2007 and 4 were placed over 2 years. Lesser schools are FAR worse -- better schools are marginally better. Further - most schools make NO indication if their "placements" are 9 month contracts or tenure track positions -- We very well could be looking the schools advertising that they placed contracts. I've seen this as well, I've looked for the people that were placed in 2015/16... what do ya know... they're at a different university now after 1 year of work.

    Ph.D. Alumni Placements - Darla Moore School of Business | University of South Carolina

    No way of knowing how representative that is. They are literally the only numbers you can find...and the general negativity of the internet surrounding PhD placements (mostly in the humanities, of course) makes me hesitant no matter how passionate I am about the subject matter.

    All Departments: PhD Career Outcomes Statistics | Duke Graduate School

    This from Duke is very encouraging, though.

    As for the Marketing Phd's above -- I could be way off but on first glance, they only account for 81 phd's -- all of which got placements, no real accounting for all of the other PhD's that didn't participate/get positions. Further -- a staggering number in that report that could go overlooked is the average of 14 interviews to 53 applications -- and 2 offers to 14 interviews (Note: the minimum job offers received is 1... so no candidates that didn't receive jobs were accounted for -- go ahead and throw this report out for my purposes). We all know that the market is competitive -- but if at a corporate office I got 2 offers for 14 interviews, I'd think I'm interviewing in the wrong industry or I'm not qualified.

    I think the part that "scares" me is how slippery the data is on this. We can assume a good percentage of PhD's intentionally avoid academia for corporate jobs -- but PhD programs certainly don't advertise the percentage of students they have that do not get academic positions.

    With that said -- Not trying to be negative about it -- I'm just the type of person who prefers to have at least SOME data/information to support decisions (MBA programs are great at providing this...) and with PhD's... there's just a big black hole.

    Trust me... I want to be proved wrong about this.

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    Re: UK PhDs

    Management PhD here. Job placement rates are considerably higher than 20% for R1 programs. I think the toughest thing is getting through the program (30-50+% attrition rates are not uncommon). It is not uncommon to have four students on the market in one year and just one student in the next due to uneven cohorts or to students choosing to take another year or leave a year early.
    I am at a mid tier R1 and all of our recent graduates have gotten a tenure track position (and usually multiple offers). I would guess that tenure track placement rates from R1s would be 85% or so. (few students who graduate from an R1 "fail" the market)
    Post Docs are relatively rare based upon what I've seen in the market. However, it is pretty common for people to start at a lower ranking school and then move up after a year or two as assistant professors.
    I think it is possible that computer science/MIS may not be as great of a market as management or marketing, but I don't really know for sure. I would suggest requesting this data from the schools you've been accepted to before making a final decision. I would steer clear of any schools who have a placement rate of less than 80 or 85%. It may also be a good idea to ask about attrition rates as well. I think those give greater insight into your potential success in the program than placement rates do.

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    Re: UK PhDs

    Quote Originally Posted by BCB View Post
    Management PhD here. Job placement rates are considerably higher than 20% for R1 programs. I think the toughest thing is getting through the program (30-50+% attrition rates are not uncommon). It is not uncommon to have four students on the market in one year and just one student in the next due to uneven cohorts or to students choosing to take another year or leave a year early.
    I am at a mid tier R1 and all of our recent graduates have gotten a tenure track position (and usually multiple offers). I would guess that tenure track placement rates from R1s would be 85% or so. (few students who graduate from an R1 "fail" the market)
    Post Docs are relatively rare based upon what I've seen in the market. However, it is pretty common for people to start at a lower ranking school and then move up after a year or two as assistant professors.
    I think it is possible that computer science/MIS may not be as great of a market as management or marketing, but I don't really know for sure. I would suggest requesting this data from the schools you've been accepted to before making a final decision. I would steer clear of any schools who have a placement rate of less than 80 or 85%. It may also be a good idea to ask about attrition rates as well. I think those give greater insight into your potential success in the program than placement rates do.
    Wonderful! It's great to get an "inside" voice. As I said above -- my main concern is the lack of data to prospective PhD's. I come from the professional world -- so getting a handle on the ins and outs of academia is a bit foreign.

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    Re: UK PhDs

    Quote Originally Posted by sjb55 View Post
    As for the Marketing Phd's above -- I could be way off but on first glance, they only account for 81 phd's -- all of which got placements, no real accounting for all of the other PhD's that didn't participate/get positions. Further -- a staggering number in that report that could go overlooked is the average of 14 interviews to 53 applications -- and 2 offers to 14 interviews (Note: the minimum job offers received is 1... so no candidates that didn't receive jobs were accounted for -- go ahead and throw this report out for my purposes). We all know that the market is competitive -- but if at a corporate office I got 2 offers for 14 interviews, I'd think I'm interviewing in the wrong industry or I'm not qualified.
    Yeah, the information is fairly incomplete. But it's still better than nothing, and can still help us to speculate. Like, we have at least 81 placements in 1 year. If the percentage of success is indeed about 20%, then over 400 PhD candidates applied. If you take into consideration that Marketing PhD programs usually accept about 2 students a year, 400 applying a year sounds too high. And, as a consequence, 20% would be too low. It doesn't make sense to me, especially for a top school.

    Also, every time you use industry standards for academia, you have to be extremely careful. Because things are often very, very different. Some examples:
    - First, given how competitive the job market is, and the lack of information, PhD candidates can apply to a lot of places. We probably don't even know which universities are really planning to hire, and for what type of research area. In the corporate world, we usually apply when we know there is a job opening, and we have a much better idea if we fit the profile they need. Thatīs not the case in academia.
    - Second, the interview process isn't comparable to anything I've seen in the corporate world. Interviews are made during an event of the American Marketing Association (AMA), even for universities outside of US, where schools and PhD candidates on the job market gather together. And then, each PhD candidate goes through a series of interviews with different universities, one after the other. And that's the main window of opportunity to get a job. If you miss that, things become a lot harder, and maybe you will have to wait 1 year for the next event. So, you have only a couple of days a year to take a shot, at a place where lots of universities are concentrated. PhD candidates will try to get as many interviews as they can on that limited period of time. You don't want to go to only a few interviews, and wait to see what happens. You want to maximize your chances. That also works for universities. They also know that the AMA event is the best shot they have to get the best new PhDs. So, they also don't want to interview a small number of candidates, they will often interview as many as they can during the event. For both PhD candidates and universities, the AMA event is a marathon of interviews. So, the number of interviews is often defined by how many interviews you can crunch during the event.
    - Third, the interview is far from being the final stage before you get an offer. A lot will need to be done between the interview and the offer. There will be further interviews, travels to make, lots of negotiations.
    - Fourth, in the corporate world, you can narrow it down to the job opportunities which are a very good fit for you. And, in that case, you are probably much more qualified than a lot of other candidates for that job. But in academia, a lot of PhD candidates from Consumer Behavior, for example, would be very close to each other if you look at their qualifications. In the corporate world, a lot of job applications they get are crap. In academia, probably all of those applying to a job have very good qualifications.
    So, 2 offers to 14 interviews is probably a very good result for a PhD candidate.

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