Two doctorate - Your views!

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by chrisjm18, May 25, 2020.

  1. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I'm glad we agree.
    I'm glad we agree there, too.

    Where we never agree is the impact of earning--and having--a doctorate can have on someone's career. "Can." "Someone." Not "will" or "everyone." (Or, alternately, "won't" and "anyone.") I've seen too many times when that achievement has done amazing things for the right person.
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  2. "I always have thought it was strange for someone to have two doctorates" - ditto, but some situations might encourage it.
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  3. Courcelles

    Courcelles Active Member

  4. mintaru

    mintaru Active Member

    I think an MD/Ph.D. program is a special case. The Ph.D. is a pure research degree. It does not lead to a medical license, only the MD does.

    Therefore, I believe it does make sense for a physician who works in the field of medical research to have both degrees.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2021
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  5. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    I agree. Same with some of the JD combinations.
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  6. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    I, too, don't like speaking in absolutes. So let me clarify my position here. It isn't that I feel a doctorate cannot or won't have an impact on a career. It is, and I apologize as I started this reference in a previous post, got distracted, and ended up not fleshing it out fully.

    My view is that it is a cart before horse sort of situation. Are you earning more because of the doctorate? Or are the people capable of commanding those earnings just more likely to get doctorates? I don't think we can really know for sure. That doesn't mean don't get a doctorate, of course. There is undoubtedly a correlation between the two things. I question as to whether we can establish causation. And the reason why I urge caution on the topic is that we see the same thing being done in marketing for degrees like the MBA and that has led to much heartache for many people.

    It is quite possible, in my view, that everything you accomplished in your career you might have accomplished without a doctorate. It's hard for me to believe that someone as motivated to not only earn two doctorates but to dedicate as much of your brain power and hard work to tackling niche industry problems you would not have made it there no matter what you had on your wall. My reason for believing this is simply that, anecdotally, I have found that certain things set candidates apart. They may be perfectly common things in one area but in a different context they make a candidate shine in ways that really help them launch.

    For HR professionals that can be a law degree, for example. Within a law firm a law degree is no big deal. They're quite literally everywhere in the office! Within HR, though it's viewed as being not only relevant but sufficiently elevated that the person is bringing something special. In other spaces, it can be retired military. This one is a bit trickier. I have welders who are retired enlisted. I have colleagues who are retired officers (reserve or AD). But it feels like if you retired at a grade higher than O-4, those individuals can often bypass the normal process and go straight to interviewing with the CEO and get the job offer for the position I get told to create after first writing an offer letter for it. In the defense contractor space these individuals are probably much more common. In manufacturing, not so much. So it stands out.

    All of this is to say that I don't doubt that your doctorates have served you well and that they can serve another person just as well (or better). I am just personally less convinced that the thing itself is the cause of the success and, perhaps naively, choose to believe that the individual can make it there even without the extra glitter if they are able to set themselves apart in some other way. We only recently had a VP retire whose only academic credential was a bachelor's degree from Empire State College. And that he earned much later in his career because he realized his advancement was limited by a lack of a degree. But here you're talking about a man who worked his way into the executive suite (ours is not a company that throws around VP titles, it's a pretty elite tier here) because he set himself apart in other ways. Could he have made more with a doctorate? Maybe. Would he have become COO if he was a retired Navy Commander? Hard to say. Would you have made less with only one doctorate or more with three doctorates? We can't know. Because even if we compare two candidates with identical credentials and even career paths (to a point) one individual can take their career to new heights while the other simmers in middle management for the remainder of their career.

    A lot of words to say that I'm not black and white on the subject and I don't deny the impact on earning a doctorate can have. I just try to be a little holistic in my view of career management.
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  7. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    MD/PhD had evolved into its own specific kind of program, training for a specific career - "physician scientist". Especially under National Institutes of Health Medical Scientist Training Program. It's a cool way to get an MD for free, and also one of the most competitive kinds of educational program. Darn elite.
    Medical Scientist Training Program (
  8. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    That would be an interesting study, and consistent with the persistent ROI questions and comments we get around here. (Which frustrate me since I think there is so much more to be had by doing it.)

    In my case, it was the former. My salary doubled one year after it and doubled again two years later. The quid pro quo was obvious, too. There weren't other variables involved. But that was just me.

    I agree. That's why I keep pointing out that it is such an individual decision. Blanket statements--in either direction--aren't really helpfu.

    Nope. Not me. That was definitely not happening in my pre-doctoral career, and that was after a military career. I was a 36-year-old captain with an MBA and couldn't find work anywhere. I struggled for years before going back and finishing my Union PhD. Maybe someone else, but not me.

    I agree. But how to make that move? Getting my PhD gave me quick and serious consideration in consulting, which is where I landed.
    Obviously, I don't know personally. But I can't argue with it. I know quite a few people who did it in Civil Service; leaving the military as an O-5 or O-6 and stepping right into a GS-14 or GS-15 position. I suspect it is similar in the private sector. Your connections and reputation tend to work more in your favor when you're at that level.
    The first one, yes. Holding the second doctorate has never mattered anywhere I've gone. That's fine, because I did it for professional development reasons, and those worked out amazingly well. For the first one, it was the credential that made the difference. For the second, it was the learning.
    Just as I am dubious at the assumptions we see here about a quid pro quo: earn the doctorate and get the money/job/teaching gig/etc. As you and I both say, it is a complex, individual issue and broad statements--again, in either direction--aren't very actionable. But knowing what one needs sure is.

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