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Is it useful to undertake a PhD in Economics ?


Toutpetitchat

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Hello,

 

I am currently in a French agronomy engineering school and, as I am completing a Master's Degree in Environment Economics, I am seriously hesitating (as many people I believe...) about undertaking a PhD in Economics, or Natural Resources Economics, next year.

I am really fond of economics and I have loved craming on economic subjects, but even if I would enjoy working on a research topic for 3 years I know from now that I don't want to pursue in an academic career but rather in the private sector or international organizations. I would like to work on development economics and/or natural resources economics. Teachers and researchers told me that a PhD was an international added value on the CV even for entering a firm or an international institution, and encouraged to do it in the US because it would be pretty much more valuable in the world afterwards. But I'm facing big diffuclties to evaluate whether it is worth it or not to "lose" 5 years of my potential professional life by doing a PhD whereas I don't want to be a researcher. I can't see if it is worth it more for elitism reasons than real utility.

 

Considering my future ambitions, is it really useful ? Does that make a significant difference for recruitment ? Or is there another training (shorter !) that would give me the same opportunities in consulting firms or else ?

 

Thank you very much

Edited by Toutpetitchat
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but rather in the private sector or international organizations

 

you need to be more specific re where in the private sector, what international organizations, and what department/role you want.

 

In general:

 

Senior researchers and above at consulting firms all have PhDs in a relevant field, 100% in America, and increasingly so in Europe. If you already have some consultings in mind, you can simply access their "people" page and look at the qualifications of the people who hold the job you want. You will need those qualifications or better.

 

IMF, World Bank, UN like to hire PhDs at the senior level. MAs and ABs from Harvard get in at junior positions, but you need a PhD or extensive work experience (which can be research) to advance beyond level 5. Again, http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/EXTJOBSNEW/0,,contentMDK:23123971~pagePK:8453902~piPK:8453359~theSitePK:8453353,00.html

 

Senior people at NGOs don't always have PhDs because these organizations are less formulaic than the big international outfits, and also because, depending on the field of the NGO, field experience may be more valuable than formal qualifications.

 

I have no idea what you want to do because you don't say, but if you want to continue in Ag Ec, yes, you do need a PhD. I mean, if superiors in your field are telling you to get a PhD, maybe you should get a PhD, no?

Edited by ExponentialDecay
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