Hi all, I completed my PhD a couple of years ago and am currently working in industry for a great company. I'm always looking for ways to accelerate my career and thought about doing an MBA online. Anyone have any experience with this, whether its worth it, or general advice?
Some have told me that very few people have PhD MBA so would stand out when applying for director level positions. Would I still be considered for high level positions with around 7 years industry experience (by the time I finish the MBA)? I currently have 4 years industry experience, two prior to PhD and 2 after.
The most correct answer to your question is: it is a definite maybe.
Working in aerospace industry for the last 11 years with an M.Sc. degree i found that the people who tend to advance the fastest are those who can speak to mid and upper level management in the language they are used to. So topics and lingo like project management, cost cutting, performance tracking, status tracking, project planning are the hot topics. MBA will each you the lingo, but in many cases you will have to sell your soul. If you can pursue a purely technical route and establish yourself as a SME or a tech fellow, you will have an opportunity to actually stay busy with science. But if you choose to advance via management route you will have to come up with metrics that explain why the currently bad performance of a given department is actually good and produce a plan on how it will only get better and cheaper. If you are comfortable with this type of meeting after meeting day after day schedule, talking about fantasy land representation of reality, then doing MBA will help you with learning the language you will have to use.
If you want to pursue a purely managerial route, actually having an MBA will put a check in an important box. If you want to pursue technical route, which can be slower and harder because most people do not care about innovation, just the bottom line price, then managerial lingo is still very important, but an actual MBA is not so much.
EDIT: Just wanted o add that above stated experience is with a large aerospace company with market cap in excess of $100B. Environment in a smaller, especially private company can be very different.