ForumWatch: Do PhDs Need MBAs?

Posted by: Geoff Gloeckler on April 6, 2011

Recently, Deena12, a participant in the Business Schools Forum posed the question: Do PhDs need MBAs to enhance their careers? With a PhD in engineering and a $100,000 annual salary, Deena12 wanted to know if it was worth it to spend two years out of the workforce, not to mention all that tuition money, to earn another degree.

The consensus seemed to be that an MBA always brings with it certain benefits - from additional knowledge and skills to a more complete network of contacts. Still, some responses mentioned the cost and the fact that the necessity of an MBA really depended on what kind of career goals Deena12 had moving forward. If they did not include business-related roles, such as serving as a manager or executive or running a startup, then an MBA might not be all that big of a help.

In a post by bigdirtmover, Deena12 received thoughtful advice from someone who also has a PhD in engineering and chose to enroll in a top MBA program. “I think combining a PhD in engineering with an MBA is a great way to accelerate your career,” wrote bigdirtmover. “Your PhD trained you for the discipline to drill down in analyzing while [it] prepared your mental prowess in solving complex problems. As discussed, an MBA provides you the toolsets to appreciate and contribute to the commercial side of a business.”

Although this conversation dates back to the fall, it continues today with a total of 11 messages, the last of which was posted on April 1. And it’s a subject that many a PhD has pondered. What do you think? Join the conversation in the Business Schools Forum.

-by Francesca Di Meglio

Editor’s Note: This is the second of what we hope will be many blog posts about discussions taking place on the Bloomberg Businessweek Business Schools Forum, where prospective b-school applicants, current students, and recent alumni trade admissions tips, job-hunting advice, and occasional barbed comment. We invite you to join these discussions or start one of your own.

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