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Thread: Should I get a PhD if I'm not sure I want to be an academic?

  1. #1
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    Should I get a PhD if I'm not sure I want to be an academic?

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    I'm a recent college grad ready to apply for PhD programs in the fall. I have my 3 rec letters, my GRE, and I think I have a shot at a school at least in the top 10.

    The one caveat is that my goal in getting a PhD was always to work eventually at the Fed, the IMF, the World Bank, or as a research economist in the private sector -- i.e., to do econ research, but not strictly as an academic. But some people I've talked to on the PhD track have told me that in order to be successful as a PhD student, I should really want to be a professor in the LR -- especially considering the 5-7 year-long commitment that is a PhD.

    Do any of the current PhD students on the forum have a perspective on this? Is anyone in a PhD program with similar goals in mind?

  2. #2
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    Re: Should I get a PhD if I'm not sure I want to be an academic?

    There is nothing wrong with getting a PhD with non-academia in mind. You need a PhD to get the best jobs at the IMF, World Bank, and Fed. A masters is all you need for industry.

    Although I ended up in academia, it was never my goal when I entered my PhD program. I originally wanted to do what you want to do.

  3. #3
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    Re: Should I get a PhD if I'm not sure I want to be an academic?

    yes, if you want to work at the Fed, the IMF, or World Bank a PhD is usually required for senior/ research positions, although I assume they have many without PhDs working in other capacities alongside. I've noticed the BOC often will hire either a PhD or masters graduate with X years experience. Outside of these few career paths I wouldn't recommend a PhD, a masters and CFA or another professional designation would be valued more and is more cost effective.

    As a last note, im sure you already have, but, i would recommend reading into what its like being a PhD student and if the life style is for you.

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