Phil Hardy

The Power of the PhD

With A-Level, GCSE, and Degree results all being announced this month, it’s an exciting time for many students as they embark on the next stage in their life. Many degree and masters graduates are at a cross roads in deciding if the take the plunge into the world of work, of if they continue on their educational journey and embark on undertaking or working towards a PhD.

A PhD Defined

“Often students rush into a PhD without really knowing what is involved, or how useful it can be. Here we highlight the pros and cons of undertaking a PhD “

A PhD is defined as a recognisable postgraduate academic degree. It’s awarded to candidates who have submitted a thesis or dissertation, based on extensive and original research in a field of their choosing.  Undertaking a PHD can take anywhere between three and five years to complete.

Often students rush into a PhD without really knowing what is involved, or how useful it can be.  Here we highlight the pros and cons of undertaking a PhD and hopefully give you some food for thought to help you make the right choice for you:

It’s the highest possible degree you can achieve.

You will be recognised as an expert within your field, and gaining a PhD will fulfil your intellectual satisfaction if you have a personality that strives for greatness. You will also indulge in having ‘Dr’ within your title. However, don’t be under the illusion that this will be easy to achieve, as 40% of candidates don’t complete their PhD due to the difficulty that is involved.

Expanding Knowledge

Your analytical skills will improve through the extensive research you will undertake within your chosen field. As you will be consumed within your field of study for an extensive period of time, it is important to ensure that you pick a topic that you have an interest to keep you motivated to complete, and let the thirst for knowledge take over.

Builds up your confidence

Once you have completed your studies and start working, you will be able to use your experience whilst studying to learn about any new areas that may come up within your chosen field, and be able to adapt to different environments within the workplace.  This may be difficult to see as you go through the motions in completing your PhD, as you will be without a full time income, and you will need to be mentally prepared that you may watch close friends and family climb the ranks within the career, and they maybe further ahead in their career when yours is only just beginning.

Some jobs require a PHD or equivalent.

At Zenopa, many of our clients within our healthcare communications division state that candidates who have a PHD is advantageous (especially in Medical Writing roles.). However having a PHD is not necessarily going to guarantee that you will be offered a job. Dependant on the role, you may find some companies will find you over qualified, or under experienced if the research isn’t relevant to the role in which you have applied for.  It is also worth noting that having a PhD won’t automatically mean that your starting salary will be higher. Roles open to both first degree and PhD graduates tend to offer the same starting salary, but there is more scope for the PhD starter to progress to a more senior or managerial position more quickly.

Sectors and types of work for PhD graduates include:

Education – teaching, administrative and professional roles

Public sector- government agencies welcome PhD graduates due to their high analytical skills.

Industry Research and Development – you can continue your research in a commercial or industrial environment for Healthcare, Medical, Pharmaceutical, and engineering sectors.

Business and Finance – e.g. investment and retail banking, insurance and pensions, involve high levels of analytical, statistical and communication training, - skills connected to a PhD graduate.

Consultancy – having the ability to be able to give a solution to a problem and work on projects for an extended period of time makes PhD graduates perfect for consultancy roles within different industry sectors.

Publishing- having the skills s to analyse and write papers for different audiences with the correct use of language are essential and these are skills used within a PhD.

Not- for- profit sector – opportunities are available within charities and non-government organisations.

Entrepreneurial activities – with the analytical, problem solving and creative thinking from your PhD you’re a worthy candidate to start up your own business – whether this be based around the researched topic or something completely new.

About Zenopa

Zenopa is a service organisation that’s provides flexible, rapid and effective recruitment solutions within the healthcare industry. We work with leading companies within the healthcare sector that require both first Degree and PhD graduates across Medical Communications, Pharmaceutical, and Scientific sectors. If you would like to find out more about how we can help you, register your details, send us a message, call +44 (0)1494 818 000 or email enquiries@zenopa.com

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