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Guest Blog for College Students: When to Pursue a Ph.D. After Earning an MBA

Earning an MBA requires both a lot of time and financial investment, but the rewards include greater job opportunities and a chance for a higher salary. It’s not a stretch, then, to think that pursuing a Ph.D. will afford even greater opportunities, but it may not always be worth the additional time and money. For example, if you earned an Internet marketing MBA, would you need to pursue a Ph.D.? Perhaps not. Before you decide on the investment of further graduate school, decide whether or not your circumstances align with one of the following reasons for pursuing a Ph.D.

Your Career Requires It

Few careers require a Ph.D., particularly when you’ve earned an MBA and aren’t going to medical school, but there are a few that do. If you intend to be a tenured college professor of business subjects, you will need your Ph.D. Some government positions and research jobs require a Ph.D., but chances are, the job you want in the general business field won’t even require an MBA.

Meet with your college’s career center and discuss the career paths in which you’re most interested. If a Ph.D. isn’t required, you may want to get some practical experience in the field before you spend the time and money pursuing additional higher education.

Your Field Is Highly Competitive

Some jobs may not require a graduate degree of any sort, but in a competitive job market, every credential that can set you apart from the competition will give you a leg-up. If you and another candidate have similar experiences and positive recommendations, and the only thing setting you apart from the other is that you have a Ph.D. and they have an MBA, chances are the employer will pick you.

However, there is a small chance this can backfire. If the employer thinks that you’ll insist on higher pay they may hire the person less likely to ask for a high starting salary. You can circumvent this potential problem by stating your acceptable salary range when applying, and choosing a range that’s fair and competitive for the position.

You Want to Publish or Lecture

You can publish articles or research, and you can become a guest speaker regardless of your level of education. However, the more impressive your degree, the more likely you will be taken seriously. A Ph.D. may afford you opportunities to publish your work in prestigious publications that an MBA alone would not. A Ph.D. may even help you attract sponsors for your research.

Having a Ph.D. may make you a more sought-after commodity as a guest lecturer than an MBA alone. Individuals and businesses seeking guest lecturers always want to make sure their speakers are experts in their fields, and a Ph.D. is a simple way to demonstrate your expertise.

You Enjoy Learning

You can certainly pursue a Ph.D. for your own enjoyment and satisfaction. Just be aware that having a Ph.D. does not a guarantee you a higher salary. But if you can afford the time and financial investment, you should embrace the desire to continue your education.

Regardless, there are benefits to earning a higher degree. Earning a doctorate will give you more expertise, lend you more credibility, and set you apart from others in your field.

Pursue a Ph.D. after earning an MBA if your desired career requires further study, if you’re competing against a lot of people with doctorates in your field of work, if you want to publish, lecture and desire further credibility, or if you truly enjoy higher education. If any of these situations apply, you can turn your finance MBA or other specialization into a Ph.D. and become one of the renowned experts in your field. If not, your MBA may be credibility enough to help you achieve your goals.


About the Author: Damon Nikkel is a contributing blogger and associate professor of business administration. His articles have appeared in publications, both online and in print, advising fellow graduate students on how to best pursue their desired careers.

Latinitas Note: Latinitas does not endorse this program. Information provided by a guest blogger.

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