Dr. GatorUptown?

I hinted in an earlier post on GatorUptown.com that I was considering a variety of continuing education options, some of them practical and others more extreme… Well, let’s talk about the more extreme option.

I’m giving some semi-idle thought to earning my Ph.D and becoming Dr. GatorUptown.

This is hardly the first time I’ve considered it. In fact, when I was finishing my MBA I was on the cusp of either staying for my Ph.D or going back to the workforce. It all boiled down to whether or not I got offered an attractive job at a specific company — and when I did, I accepted, and the rest is history. But I often wonder what my life would be like if I had gone the other route.

I’d have finished my Ph.D program by now. I’d probably be teaching somewhere, I guess, or possibly would have reentered the workforce in a much different capacity. But more importantly, I’d have spent 4-5 more years in Florida, would almost certainly have never moved to Charlotte, and would likely not be living in New York City right now or have ever met many people whom I love dearly.

All that in mind, I don’t regret the choices I made one bit. And setting personal experiences aside, I think the time I’ve spent with my company over the past seven years has been phenomenal, with professional growth that I wouldn’t trade for academia. My time at this company has also helped me focus my professional interest quite a bit, with a passion for HR, organizational readiness/effectiveness, and Diversity & Inclusion that I didn’t have when I finished my MBA and went back to work. The question is, where do I go from here?

I’m thinking I would like to earn a Ph.D in a business field, whether it’s technically in Business Administration, Organizational Behavior/Psychology, Management, or Human Resources. I see various programs out there with some combination of these titles.

Ultimately I’d like to study and research how Diversity & Inclusion practices can impact the workplace, potentially with a specialty around LGBT issues in the modern office environment. I’d like to become an expert of diversity issues, a respected scholar who can help teach employees in the workplace (and/or future business leaders in college) how to make the workplace a more diversity and inclusive environment.

Having said that, there are lots of options to consider. But before I get into all the logistical specifics, and before I make this an incredibly long-winded rant, let me just put the question out there to my readers: What’s your take, in general, on me going back to school and earning my Ph.D?

Leave a reply below!

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5 Responses to Dr. GatorUptown?

  1. RH says:

    I can only speak from personal experience here: make sure you need the PhD before you go and get it. I don’t regret mine, per se (I am about get a big promotion at work, opening a core facility, that I would not qualify for if I didn’t have it), but I will say that it *closes* as many doors as it opens (perhaps more), sometimes. After completing my postdoctoral training, when I was applying for jobs, I often found I was “over qualified” and faced the, “but you have a PhD! Why are you applying for *this* position??!!”

    Never mind the fact that it’s normally a soul-crushing experience (at least in my field, hehe), be sure to *thoroughly* investigate what your job opportunities may be when you are done before you embark on this very difficult journey. Disclaimer: your field may be much less saturated with PhDs and opportunities may abound for you. Not so in the biological sciences. There are far more PhDs than traditional positions, and most of us are forced to look for “alternative” careers.

    That’s my two cents and the one thing I wish I was told before I started mine.

  2. RH says:

    Forgot to mention: with all that said, I know you, and I am sure you would excel in the world of academia. Therefore, if you really want it and think it will add a boost to your career, then go for it! 🙂

  3. KM says:

    Just read it. I like you idea, but of course, this isn’t my field. I believe that diversity in science is very important and promoting that diversity is difficult, so I would be interested in the best methods for doing this. As far as going for a PhD, you need to be really passionate, because you will be chronically overworked, underpaid, and may find very few jobs available when you get out. But if you love it enough and feel it is important enough, you will still be happy. Poor and very busy, but happy. If you are lucky enough to get an elusive faculty position at a major university, then you can make a reasonable living, but it is generally not too easy. But it is possible. This is my experience in my own field and it could be a very different experience on another path. It seems like business oriented academia might pay a bit better, but honestly I have no idea. So, there is the gloom and doom. The benefits of academia include: flexible hours, teaching/helping/mentoring students, using your brain to solve problems/puzzles, and building knowledge for the betterment of humanity. Most days I am happy with my decision and enjoy my job, but some days not so much. At various times have contemplated going back to school to become a nutritionist… this would be my backup plan. But so far, sticking with it… good outweighs bad. It will help a lot when I am able to get a long-term job somewhere and settle down. Moving around so much is for the birds.

  4. jim says:

    I applaud your ambition. Personally I feel it would be very beneficial if you were to stay at your company, earn your PhD, and be an adjunct/visiting professor while still keeping your full time job and growing at the bank. That would offer you the best of both worlds. You are able to teach part-time with an MBA but to get the better schools to accept you they want a PhD. I believe if you follow your heart you will end up with an HR or HC related PhD and that would open a whole lot of doors for you where ever you wanted to go after you finish. Save the academia arena until you retire and want to devote your time to growing the minds of the younger generation at that time.

    Much love little brother. Keep me informed on how this is going and if there is anything I can help with.

  5. I like Jim’s comments. The house in Pinehurst is less than 2 hours from Charlotte and about the same from UNC at Chapel Hill. It is also not that far from Duke. You could consider living there, working at BOA and commuting to UNC for PHD courses when required . While that may seem like a long commute, it is possible. Your living expenses would be minimal. You might have to put up with the owner’s visits a few months of the year. The owner’s are really not that bad, you know. You could probably qualifiy for tuition as a North Carolina resident. While there are tenants in the house at Pinehurst, their lease is up soon and they are looking to buy a house. There are other Universities near Pinehurst, but Duke and UNC are perhaps the best known. This is another scenario you may wish to explore. PS….does Sal play golf or tennis?

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