Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Why should I try to obtain the doctor degree if I already have a good idea to work on?

Quite recently I got a question from one of my friends, which was formulated as “Why should somebody do a lot of work researching different items in order to obtain a doctor degree if he already has an idea? Consider for example S. Brin or S. Jobs. Those who have ideas could develop them, but those who do not have any are forced to work for others. Therefore the question is why should I spend time on this degree? What will it give me except a potential workplace in companies owned by people having ideas and implementing those in their business?

First of all, as I meant to say in the original post promoting the doctor study – this study will provide a lot of fun and memories to you in the future, so if you are not a brilliant sale person and will not eventually earn a lot of money, then at least it will be a top result you have achieved in your life. Moreover if you already know how to earn a lot of money right now, then don’t spend time on the study. Instead grab all those billions and later return to this topic.

Secondly, a doctorate student rarely comes with a ready, well-formulated idea. Normally s/he will have no, or it is too general to develop into a commercial one. Moreover the whole point of studying at university is to get access to online knowledge via libraries of articles etc, attend conferences and discuss different ideas with different people. In other words the study allows searching, finding and developing ideas effectively (!). The same happened with earlier mentioned Brin who left the doctor study since started developing PageRank – an idea he produced during the doctor study with people he found during the doctor study.

Besides the answer on the question greatly depends on the kind of the idea. For example it can be something extremely theoretical (like math theorems), not very broad to provide good enough return on investments or something that cannot be commercialised at all. In that case the doctor study will be the only and the best option to develop such ideas. Another factor I would mention here – this path is much more obvious to choose and follow for those who do not become from commercially successful families and therefore is usually taken. The best option (I tend to believe) will be to study and implement ideas as an own business in parallel.

At last (but not least) – one of my friends Roman answered: “You should not forget that PhD and MBA mean a lot in business and especially in such areas (countries) as Middle East and Germany. Besides you should study if you feel you need that and would like to do it.” I fully agree with that. The only way to complete this road will be to know why you need that and to enjoy this several years long walk. Besides, if you will complete the study and you will not be promoted on your current work place then you either work for the wrong company or your study was a fiction.

The concluding remark will be – the doctor study teaches you to formulate your thoughts, correctly explain them to others (so your ideas as articles would be accepted), how to work with information and knowledge bases, how to generalise and apply ideas producing something brand new.

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