What do I learn in a PhD program?

Prepwise AnswersCategory: General CareerWhat do I learn in a PhD program?
Career Dev Staff Staff asked 5 years ago
1 Answers
Kate McKeon Staff answered 5 years ago

My perspective is based on having been admitted to a very prestigious PhD program that I left after 1 year.
A big thing to learn in (or before) the PhD program is how to play politics. Whether an academic or overhead somewhere else – unless you’re driving revenue you are overhead – you will have to play the game to get and keep funding. That means obedience. Not just, you-can-get-along-with-people, but obedience: doing what you are told, even when you disagree with it. If you are on the wrong side of the political fence, expect to be ostracized or worse. And at certain entities, the political fence is both intracompany and national.
Your research skills will be transferrable. If you do great work, your next appointment will even spring for the programs/data sets you are most comfortable with to keep you progressing.