Once I completed my MBA in 2010, I decided to do a PhD. I had two main personal motives to make that decision:
Second, I wanted to have more work-life balance during my late career through teaching and consulting.
I have always liked the dynamic corporate life, competition, challenge and success. However, stress levels in today’s enterprises are extremely high, and strongly correlated with how senior you become. Budgets are limited, competition is fierce and uncertainty is high. Being passionate about what I do, I enjoyed meeting and overcoming these challenges. I enjoyed the rewarding feeling after a killer campaign, a new product launch or a successful presentation. I enjoyed working long hours and giving my job the biggest chunk of my time. However, I began to notice that this might not be the way I wanted my life to be forever, especially when I wasn’t running my own business or making $500,000 a year. It was just not worth it to continue like this for the next 25 years till I reach my retirement age.
I started thinking about what a career that I like doing would be, with lower stress levels all while maintaining the same or even better pay. I found that a mix of academic teaching and independent consulting could be that career for me, and this is why I decided to do a PhD and not a DBA. I have always enjoyed working with interns and younger colleagues. I have also enjoyed giving presentations and running workshops. But I never knew how much I enjoyed academic teaching until I was actually with students in a classroom. I just loved it!
I also found that I have already done more consultancy and advisory assignments among my full-time job duties in the last few years. The same assignments that external consultants are paid triple or quadruple my pay, and for less time. So by having a full-time or a part-time teaching career that can sustain a minimum of decent living, I can still pick independent consulting projects that pay more for my hours.
So, I decided to do my PhD aiming to phase out my full-time professional job and phasing in my academic career and independent consulting after I reach the age of 45. I thought this would help me spend more time with my family, revive old hobbies, work out more and improve my overall wellbeing.
While it is too early to evaluate the rewards of this motive, I already see some results. Just for the sake of curiosity, I created an academic resume a few weeks before my graduation and started applying for Assistant Professor positions. Surprisingly, the interest shown by academic institutions was good! So good that it made me think of pushing forward my “professional career phase out/ academic career phase in” plan.
So yes, the last 5.5 years of my life I believe have been well-spent and totally worth it. My two main motives proved to be met to a good extent. The feeling of fulfillment and accomplishment after completing this long journey is alone very rewarding.