Quit my job for a PhD?

  • #1
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I got accepted into the top3 schools for industrial engineering. I currently make 60k (pretax).

The most important factor is obviously enjoyment. My current job I don't mind much (the discomfort experienced is tantamount to a loss of about 15k/yr posttax). But how much will I enjoy myself during and after the PhD program *? I don't read industrial engineering books in my free time (which proves that I am not that extremely dedicated or obsessed) but I like to think a lot of daily situation in terms of probabilities, distributions, shadow prices, rates, and tradeoffs - and some abstractions of models I come up with I find enjoyable. People I know would describe me as an analytical person.

The next most important factor is pure revenue.
[post tax remains][length of the program][current earnings-research money] = 2/3*4*(60k-15k) = 120k = [total opportunity loss in the next 4 years]. I don't know how much money an average PhD in IE makes after graduation**.

Time requirements (incl. transportation). Currently: 9h. PhD: 12h

Please clear up some of the uncertainty in * and **. Also, might there be some other factors I missed?
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
Good reading/writing skills is very important for graduate work. If you do mind reading/skimming over lots of papers (most of the time learning new theory/getting your head wrapped around them as a result), I don't recommend it. Also be prepared to lose a lot of extra time that you normally get from a 9-5 job. You could spend weeks or months working constantly in the lab or trying to write a paper out in time. On the bright side, depending on how your supervisor is like, your deadlines/schedule are much more relaxed.

Engineering PhDs, IMO, makes 90k-100k if you land a decent job. HOWEVER, some employers don't want to pay that much, so you will have to be really good in your field/assess the employability of your thesis topic.
 
  • #3
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Thanks for your feedback. One key thing with industrial engineering is also that it's more borderline applied math rather than technology/engineering.

I assume I would perform average or a little below average in the PhD curriculum.

EDIT: I think you have identified a third important factor: time.
 
  • #4
I think its okay if you perform average in the PhD curriculum, as long as it isn't extremely poor. Keep in mind that scholarships normally look at it, but also look at the papers you've published.

The most important factor still is your thesis topic and amount/quality of papers published. If you manage to publish a lot of decent papers (not easy) I think you are pretty good for scholarships.
 

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