Sponsored Ad:
See the top rated post in this thread. Click here

Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: How are those of you with no business background preparing to start your PhD?

  1. #1
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Posts
    2
    Rep Power
    1


    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful. Good post? Yes | No

    How are those of you with no business background preparing to start your PhD?

    Sponsored Ad:
    Hello everyone!

    This is my first post here. I'll be starting a PhD this fall in OB. I do not have much of a business or stats background so I'm wondering if there are things I should be doing over the summer to prepare. For example, learning a programming language, studying statistics of some sort, reading certain papers or text, etc. I'll definitely be bringing this up with my advisor but I would love to hear from you about what your experience has been like starting the first year "from scratch". Were there things that you wish you had prepared in advance to feel less like you were completely out of place in the business school?

  2. #2
    Within my grasp!
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    311
    Rep Power
    12


    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful. Good post? Yes | No

    Re: How are those of you with no business background preparing to start your PhD?

    In general the best way to handle the summer before you start is just to relax. Once you start your program there will be very little of that.

    Your program would not have accepted you if they did not think you were at least minimally ready/prepared for the program. I am not in OB (Finance) so I am not knowledgeable about the level of stats and the types statistical software used in OB programs. That being said, if you feel your stats background is weak, look at some free, self paced, online stats or econometrics courses at the advanced UG level to cover the basics, but don't drive yourself crazy. MIT OpenCourseWare has a couple of these courses and I am sure you can find more elsewhere. If you can find such a course that does the analysis in R, even if only using R Commander, that would be useful (individual fields or even subfields have preferences for SPSS, SAS, Stata, etc, but R is free, open source and is used to some extent across all fields). Knowing a general purpose programming language like Python is often useful but learning it can wait until later at such time that you need it and many business researchers never do.

    As far as reading papers, unless your program or a professor teaching a first year course or a professor you will be an RA for contacts you and tells you to read certain papers, don't bother. Relaxing will have far more marginal benefit at this point than reading a paper or two.

  3. #3
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Posts
    16
    Rep Power
    1


    2 out of 2 members found this post helpful. Good post? Yes | No

    Re: How are those of you with no business background preparing to start your PhD?

    I worked for 10 years (at associate, manager and director levels) before the PhD. Being successful in the PhD doesn't require practical business knowledge (though it helps). Most "business" books are garbage and won't help you in the PhD (and, I would argue, won't help most businesspeople).

    This summer should be about getting your LIFE and your MIND in the right place to be successful.

    I was coming into it after 10 years in the workforce, so I decided to take the summer to really get myself in the right place. You shouldn't be trying to do the work ahead of time (except maybe a little reading but that's a big maybe). A few things that worked for me:

    -If you will have to move, move early and get settled. (I left my job in early June and moved mid-June).
    -Get comfortable with R (if you can find what your program uses, that's fine, but R is free and if you learn R STATA is easy) or Python (CodeAcademy or Datacamp have great courses). You'll touch multiple languages (probably), so don't stress too much. If you've NEVER done any programming, I'd recommend starting with CodeAcademy's Python course.
    -Get your computer, automatic backup, etc all set up.
    -Install and get comfortable with Mendeley or Zotero (or any paper/citation management software). Get it syncing across all devices.
    -Load the freezer. My spouse (also doing a PhD after 10 years in workforce) and I started the semester with the freezer JAMMED full of crockpot meals we had cooked in July. Significantly reduced the cooking workload for first semester when you're trying to get your feet under you.
    -MarieKondo your life and house. Get things organized.
    -Get caught up on those things you keep putting off, like going to the dentist.
    -Relax.
    -Exercise.

    It's not a bad idea to devote an hour or so a day to reading to help you prepare. As I said before, I think most of the business books are a waste of time (as a prospective academic, especially, but also generally). Consider reading The Economist. This will give you a broad, generally insightful, look at many relevant topics. Maybe some of the popular press books like Thaler's Misbehaving, Khaneman's Thinking Fast and Slow, Angela Duckworth's Grit, etc. My ideas for research have come not so much from reading academic literature (of course, that's where you have to refine things, review what's been done before, explore known theory) but from more popular sources such as podcasts (Freakonomics), the news, and even science-fiction books.

    If the school offers a "Math Camp" to review calculus and statistics, go for it.

  4. #4
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Posts
    2
    Rep Power
    1


    Good post? Yes | No

    Re: How are those of you with no business background preparing to start your PhD?

    Thank you both so much for your detailed advice; primarily to relax and get my things in order. You two have already put me more at ease. I did a basic R introductory course using DataCamp Mobile and Iíve done HTML and CSS in the past so Iím not completely foreign to coding. I wish there were more mobile options for ease of practice but I understand the impracticalities.

    I really like the Marie Kondo suggestion as well. Iíve heard it has a similar positivity to Queer Eye. It will definitely be good to get my apartment in order, including food prep!!!, so I have a calm, restful refuge.

  5. #5
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Posts
    23
    Rep Power
    2


    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful. Good post? Yes | No

    Re: How are those of you with no business background preparing to start your PhD?

    Sleep in while you still can

  6. #6
    A long long time ago XanthusARES's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    1,498
    Blog Entries
    14
    Rep Power
    13


    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful. Good post? Yes | No

    Re: How are those of you with no business background preparing to start your PhD?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandalorian View Post
    Sleep in while you still can
    This.
    Til now I always got by on my own
    I never really cared until I met you...

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Where to start preparing for Sentence Completion
    By MikeNoob in forum GRE Sentence Completions
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 07-23-2012, 05:44 AM
  2. Replies: 0
    Last Post: 01-01-2012, 04:04 PM
  3. Replies: 2
    Last Post: 10-31-2011, 02:18 PM
  4. How to start preparing for essay?
    By MaxRum in forum TOEFL
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 06-02-2003, 11:53 PM
  5. Replies: 3
    Last Post: 06-10-2002, 12:25 PM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •