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Ph.D for Non-Academic Careers

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So I am having a trouble trying to write my SOP in a way that will appeal to professors. It seems to me that professors are very picky about those they choose (obviously!) and I notice that professors tend to choose Ph.D candidates who want to either teach or become researchers. As someone who wants to work in the field after obtaining a Ph.D (my chances of my dream job are greatly increased with a Ph.D - think private consultant/partner in a firm), are professors turned off by those who indicate that they are not interested in an academic career after a PhD? My concern is, how do I address the fact I want to work in the industry as opposed to becoming a permanent academic in my SOP?  

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I mostly agree with rising_star that your SOP should be focussed on the research you want to do as a doctoral student. That said, in my field, SOP prompts generally will ask the applicant to write something about their post-PhD plans and goals. However, this section should be very very short. I addressed it via 2 sentences at the end of my SOP. 

So, the fact that you have non-academic career goals should not be a major factor in your SOP content. I would also advise you to avoid saying that you want to pursue a non-academic career path, unless your field is one where this is a common path.

I think many professors are realistic and realise that there are way more PhD graduates than academic positions, and that they realise not everyone wants to turn out just like them. However, there are still a fraction of professors who think that students who don't end up in academia after a PhD are failures and they won't want to admit you! You don't know who will be evaluating your application so I think that mentioning non-academic careers can only hurt you in your application. Unless a particular program prides itself on the placement of its graduates outside of academia, there is almost no way for this to help you.

Instead, once you are admitted and get a good feel for how professors will react, then you should seek out the supportive ones and talk to them about your career goals! I talked to some professors at a mentoring session recently about non-academic careers and they said that professors tend to be hesitant to bring up / suggest a non-academic career path to their students because they are afraid of sounding like they are saying "you're not good enough for academia". So, I think since it's our career, it's our responsibility to make the first step and seek support when we are pursuing non-academic career paths. Just that the application SOP is not the right place for it, in my opinion, because you don't know who will read it. You'll have more control and get better results when you seek out your own advisors/mentors on this topic.

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