Why won't industry managers hire PhDs? | Summary and Q&A

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January 20, 2018
by
TurningScience
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Why won't industry managers hire PhDs?

TL;DR

PhDs in industry are often viewed as problematic due to habits acquired in academia, such as feeling superior, finding faults instead of solutions, and over-analysis; however, by following three guidelines—being effective, finding solutions, and being decisive—PhDs can be valuable contributors in the industry.

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Questions & Answers

Q: Why are industry managers often hesitant to hire PhDs?

Industry managers may be hesitant to hire PhDs because of stereotypes associated with them, such as feeling intellectually superior, criticizing instead of offering solutions, and getting stuck in analysis paralysis, which can hinder teamwork and progress in the industry environment.

Q: How can PhDs become valuable contributors in the industry?

PhDs can become valuable contributors in the industry by following three guidelines: focusing on being effective rather than just smart, finding solutions instead of faults, and being decisive and action-oriented. By adapting their work habits to fit the industry culture, PhDs can contribute positively to their teams and projects.

Q: How does the academic environment differ from the industry environment?

The academic environment focuses on individual expertise, fault-finding, and extensive data analysis for certainty, while the industry emphasizes teamwork, solution-oriented mindset, and quick decision-making for progress. The academic culture of being an expert and analyzing problems thoroughly may not align well with the fast-paced and solution-driven nature of the industry.

Q: What are the consequences of getting trapped in analysis paralysis in the industry?

In the industry, where time is often of the essence, getting trapped in analysis paralysis can lead to delays in progress, missed opportunities, and frustration from managers and colleagues. It is generally more beneficial to make informed decisions with 90% certainty and fix any issues that arise later, rather than delaying progress in pursuit of 99.999% data certainty.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Many industry managers have concerns about hiring PhDs due to their habits acquired in academia, such as feeling intellectually superior, criticizing instead of offering solutions, and getting stuck in analysis paralysis.

  • To be a valuable PhD in industry, it is important to avoid these stereotypes by focusing on being effective rather than just smart, finding solutions instead of faults, and being decisive and action-oriented.

  • Industry values teamwork, problem-solving, and quick decision-making, so it is essential for PhDs to adapt their work habits to fit into the industry culture.

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