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When should you apply for a doctoral program? 5 tips to help you make your choice!

Updated: Apr 29, 2020

An original KÖZGAZDÁSZ ONLINE post.

A PhD is top level university training, yet, application may be a difficult decision. You have to make a choice between gaining some professional experience right after graduation and carrying on with your studies. A doctoral training means some more years of commitment, but at the same time it is a serious long-term investment. We have discussed the topic with Dr. Gábor Michalkó, Director of Corvinus Doctoral Schools, and below, you can find five cases when you should definitely consider applying.

1. If you are interested in a career as a scholar getting a PhD is a must

Nearly two thirds of the students owning a PhD stay in academia. This means not only becoming a university professor but actively taking part in research. In this case a PhD is not only a basic requirement but a very important opportunity to gain experience for your later career, for example, you may start teaching courses even as a student. Also, you will be able to take part in local and international conferences, which is good not just because of the participation but also the networking opportunities.

The system is open at both ends, that is, applying for a doctoral program does not necessarily entail commitment to an academic career. If you decide you would rather like to work in another professional field, you can do so. If you are considering working in an academic environment but you are still uncertain, application may also be a good idea.

2. If you like doing research, a doctoral school is the perfect choice for you

Research is an important pillar of doctoral training. Even during your studies, you can take part in various scientific projects, which will provide you with useful experience even if you go in a different direction later.

You will have a chance to apply for scholarships which will allow you to start your own projects during your studies, and to gain experience abroad. The Fulbright Fellowship, for example, offers opportunities at reputed universities of the US. Here you can read an interview with Máté Baksa, network scientist, who is a PhD student at Corvinus, and is going to do research at Yale University as of September.

If you have the necessary motivation you may as well be a member of a research institute even during your doctoral studies. Here, you can get further experience, which may be a determining factor in your future career path, especially if you are planning on working in that field later.

3. It is an important starting point in becoming a renowned expert

A recurring argument against pursuing doctoral studies is that during those four years you are missing out on labour market experience, which may be important if you do not wish to become a scholar. However, even in this case a doctoral training has its benefits.

A PhD carries huge prestige, owned by the most reputed and known experts. After the quarantine, the role of experts may be even more valued. As Gábor Michalkó says, “the array of the research methodology tools accumulated during doctoral training is an indispensable basis for decision making mechanisms”. He adds that “the social experiment we have involuntarily become a part of can only be analysed and assessed by the apparatus of scientific thinking”.

A PhD is an advantage not just in its name - it also entails important professional experience. A doctoral school is a chance to acquire all elements of scientific thinking. It is not simply the continuation of your Master’s training, it requires even stronger motivation. It is important to be conscious, systematic, independent and self-disciplined, without which you may end up losing your grip.

4. You want to be part of an inspiring community

A PhD is at the top level of university education, which means studying together with the best. This is a huge opportunity to build your networks, both with participants of academia and business. PhD applications mostly come from highly ambitious students, which is motivating for everybody.

“PhD students attain such high levels of knowledge, ways of thinking and approach, analytical, assessment and communication skills, as well as contact networks that it is valued by all employers, and often honored in lowered working hours and payment of the tuition fee fully or in part” – adds Mr. Michalkó.

5. You want to create something big

People often wish to create something big and useful. One way to do this may be an enterprise, but there is a lot of innovation resulting form research too. According to Mr. Michalkó “a PhD training is creativity in itself, with students often learning to switch to the mindset of innovative thinking even at times when they are not particularly doing anything.”

He claims that good research is inherently innovation even when not listed as such by the patent office. Research strives to carry social value and contribute to people’s lives. At Corvinus, for example, among other things, there is research looking into ways of improving the lives of the elderly by using innovation. You can read more about research at Corvinus here.

You may apply to the Doctoral Schools of CUB until the 4th of May! Details about application is here. More information about the Corvinus Doctoral Schools is at the Corvinus website.

Images: Unsplash, Pexels

Written by: Máté Kovács

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