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Thread: Where do PhDs go?

  1. #21
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    Default Re: Where do PhDs go?

    Quote Originally Posted by rcourtney View Post
    I was teaching overseas prior to this episode. This may sound like a little old-fashion, but I came back here because this is home... which makes the rejection a little more painful
    I empathized with you. I came back home even though i was offered a job in London cos this is home. Whenever i tell s'poreans that i did a degree in political science and business, some will go "Har, u want to join the garmen? which party ah?" They dont seem to know that the study of political science is not entirely about the government AND u dont need a degree in politics to enter the political scene. Secondly, some of them thought that i went to a crap uni (the faculty asked for distinctions before they accepted me) cos they have never heard of my uni. My conclusion is that the city's soccer team is not in the premier league!! Even Bath, Bristol, Warwick, Loughborough unis r considered ulu cos some s'poreans have never heard of them.They r in fact very good unis whose soccer teams r not represented in the EPL.

    When i was hunting for a job, i used to wonder why didnt i go to a uni better known in S'pore (whip out chart of EPL teams) or pursue a degree in engin/biz/finance whatever S'pore wants. i wondered whether it was a good idea to study whatever i found interesting. However at the end of the day, i think u must enjoy whatever u r doing. Afterall, your qualifications gets u a job, not a career.

    Since your PHD is not in humanities, i don't see why u can't get a job in the industry. I suggest that u be patient and continue trying. Some MNCs will want u eventually.
    All the best to you!
    Last edited by bovine; 20th November 2007 at 09:04 PM.

  2. #22

    Default Re: Where do PhDs go?

    Quote Originally Posted by rcourtney View Post
    I have to my best ability, market myself for the right industry. Interestingly, I have worked on some of my students' CV, and some of them got jobs in PWCH and Accenture... Sure I can work in another field, but why? Due to the way Singapore's hiring process?
    I know of Phds working in the two companies you mentioned. Be patient, i'm sure a interview phone call is coming your way. Especially with your SAP and ERPs platforms implementation experience

    But it is a very competitive market and not good pay masters

  3. #23

    Default Re: Where do PhDs go?

    Have you tried applying to Astar? They are now aggresively recruiting PhD graduates. With a computer science degree, You can shoot for I2R, IHPC, etc.

    Good luck!

  4. #24
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    Default Re: Where do PhDs go?

    Quote Originally Posted by bovine View Post
    I empathized with you. I came back home even though i was offered a job in London cos this is home. Whenever i tell s'poreans that i did a degree in political science and business, some will go "Har, u want to join the garmen? which party ah?" They dont seem to know that the study of political science is not entirely about the government AND u dont need a degree in politics to enter the political scene. Secondly, some of them thought that i went to a crap uni (the faculty asked for distinctions before they accepted me) cos they have never heard of my uni. My conclusion is that the city's soccer team is not in the premier league!! Even Bath, Bristol, Warwick, Loughborough unis r considered ulu cos some s'poreans have never heard of them.They r in fact very good unis whose soccer teams r not represented in the EPL.

    When i was hunting for a job, i used to wonder why didnt i go to a uni better known in S'pore (whip out chart of EPL teams) or pursue a degree in engin/biz/finance whatever S'pore wants. i wondered whether it was a good idea to study whatever i found interesting. However at the end of the day, i think u must enjoy whatever u r doing. Afterall, your qualifications gets u a job, not a career.

    Since your PHD is not in humanities, i don't see why u can't get a job in the industry. I suggest that u be patient and continue trying. Some MNCs will want u eventually.
    All the best to you!
    Thank you for relating your experiences It is interesting to note how some Singaporean companies percieve the value of a degree from a foreign univerisity. I have seen ads indicating that they only want people from local universities. That comes to me as completely silly. At post-grad level, quality of research outputs preceeds all reputations (and do we need to do a nobel winner head-count?). For the record, I have cited people from Warwick (big on systems science) but none from local university... This is the kind of mentality that needs to be re-examined. I am saying this is wrong, but potentially short-sighted.
    Last edited by rcourtney; 21st November 2007 at 09:35 AM.

  5. #25
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    Default Re: Where do PhDs go?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lukeber View Post
    I know of Phds working in the two companies you mentioned. Be patient, i'm sure a interview phone call is coming your way. Especially with your SAP and ERPs platforms implementation experience

    But it is a very competitive market and not good pay masters
    Thank you for the encouragement. I'll continue to work for a job... As for my SAP and Oracle skills, while I've learned a fair bit on them, I don't have formal qualification for them. Last I've checked, a single module on SAP cost about $14k, this is the kind of money I don't have, especially if I just want to validate what I've learned. For now, I can only highlight these as skill-sets

  6. #26
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    Default Re: Where do PhDs go?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shodan99 View Post
    Have you tried applying to Astar? They are now aggresively recruiting PhD graduates. With a computer science degree, You can shoot for I2R, IHPC, etc.

    Good luck!
    I actually had an interview with them. The hiring manager is kind enough to let me know that the field of my research is not a perfect match. While this is not a good thing for me, but at least this is a very valid reason which I have fully accepted

  7. #27
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    Default Re: Where do PhDs go?

    Do you still remember why you struggle for your Phd in the first place?
    A Dr. to your name or to proof a point?
    Are Uni recruiting Phds to meet targets?
    Are Consulting recruiting Phds to intimidate/impress their clients?
    At least 6 RIs within A*star would have a place for you.
    just1book, no kidding!

  8. #28

    Default Re: Where do PhDs go?

    I find this topic very interesting... I currently work in a R&D center in a MNC, and for me, i find the so called concept of "R&D" in Singapore a joke. There's nothing really cutting edge, there's nothing noteworthy that becomes a RFC contribution in the future, and yet they call it a R&D center. I think we're just not staffed with the correct people.

    side note ... what is your area of research ?

    I had contemplated doing my PhD when I was doing my honours year, but I really couldn't see where I would be (other than academic) with a PhD. The problem is there is a growing number of PhD holders out there, and there are only so many (commercial) positions that need to be filled by them.

  9. #29

    Default Re: Where do PhDs go?

    Quote Originally Posted by rcourtney View Post
    I have to my best ability, market myself for the right industry. Interestingly, I have worked on some of my students' CV, and some of them got jobs in PWCH and Accenture... Sure I can work in another field, but why? Due to the way Singapore's hiring process?
    Don't equate a few rejections with "Singapore". You were rejected by companies, by individuals in those companies. Not by the country. Unless you assert that your sample of companies who rejected you completely represent all other employers in the country.

    Lets face it. For entry-level positions, employers prefer entry-level people. That is, fresh grads with an undergrad degree.

    For employers, they don't want to take older people with PhD because they probably believe that this guy is overqualified, hence likely to run to a better job once it comes along. Also, they may be concerned you may stick out among the freshies.


    You lost out to cheaper and younger people. It's not personal. It's just business.

  10. #30

    Default Re: Where do PhDs go?

    Quote Originally Posted by rcourtney View Post
    Thank you for the encouragement. I'll continue to work for a job... As for my SAP and Oracle skills, while I've learned a fair bit on them, I don't have formal qualification for them. Last I've checked, a single module on SAP cost about $14k, this is the kind of money I don't have, especially if I just want to validate what I've learned. For now, I can only highlight these as skill-sets
    As long as you have the practioner experinence validated, there is no need for a practising professional to complete the module before certification. It only costs a few hundred dollars for a module certification, few years back. Same applies for Oracle suite / Oracle DB.

    Find your friends in the industry and you will have all the information needed

  11. #31

    Default Re: Where do PhDs go?

    I faced a similar situation when I got my Phd, some 20 years ago - you can guess my age.

    There was not much job opportunities locally at that time. I ended up going back to the UK where I got my PhD and worked as a research fellow. But I intentionally chose a post-doc research project in a university which was sponsored by an industrial company. Having finished the project with some success, the company offered me a job. Doing it this way, I managed to cross the barrier between academia and industry. Subsequently my industrial experience was counted and had landed me job opportunities back home.

    Everyone's circumstance is different. My way of breaking through the barrier may or may not work for you. Hence this is merely a personal tale for your reference only.

    Good luck!
    Last edited by palmtastic; 21st November 2007 at 10:49 AM.

  12. #32

    Default Re: Where do PhDs go?

    Quote Originally Posted by rcourtney View Post
    Thank you for relating your experiences It is interesting to note how some Singaporean companies percieve the value of a degree from a foreign univerisity. I have seen ads indicating that they only want people from local universities. That comes to me as completely silly. At post-grad level, quality of research outputs preceeds all reputations (and do we need to do a nobel winner head-count?). For the record, I have cited people from Warwick (big on systems science) but none from local university... This is the kind of mentality that needs to be re-examined. I am saying this is wrong, but potentially short-sighted.
    The reasoning is very simple. Its the notion that if you are able, you would have been able to enter a local university and if you didnt. Means you are most likely a reject and hence had to do a degree overseas. Hence foreign grads are not look upon with high regard in some sectors. Saying that, Im a "reject" too.... haha so beleive me I know the feeling when the interviewer ask the infamous question. "Hah why you never go local uni??"

  13. #33
    rcourtney
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    Default Re: Where do PhDs go?

    Quote Originally Posted by Winsonapm View Post
    Do you still remember why you struggle for your Phd in the first place?
    A Dr. to your name or to proof a point?
    Are Uni recruiting Phds to meet targets?
    Are Consulting recruiting Phds to intimidate/impress their clients?
    At least 6 RIs within A*star would have a place for you.
    I did it because I am interested in knowing more about a particular field, particularly in complexity sciences such as CAS and 2nd order cybernetics. As mentioned, my intension has always been starting low, so I don't really care about all the bells that comes with research. I'm more than happy to obmit my credentials, but that would constitue some integrity issues, not to mention that I can't account for the time I'm away studying.

    Admittedly, I am short-sighted as to not see my current situation as a real and serious eventuality

  14. #34
    rcourtney
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    Default Re: Where do PhDs go?

    Quote Originally Posted by darrelchia View Post
    I find this topic very interesting... I currently work in a R&D center in a MNC, and for me, i find the so called concept of "R&D" in Singapore a joke. There's nothing really cutting edge, there's nothing noteworthy that becomes a RFC contribution in the future, and yet they call it a R&D center. I think we're just not staffed with the correct people.

    side note ... what is your area of research ?

    I had contemplated doing my PhD when I was doing my honours year, but I really couldn't see where I would be (other than academic) with a PhD. The problem is there is a growing number of PhD holders out there, and there are only so many (commercial) positions that need to be filled by them.
    I am into system science, applying concepts like fitness landscape, cybernetics and to a large extent, social systems theories onto socio-technical systems. I would best situate my studies onto the areas of change management, (socio-)knowledge discovery, IS policy implementation. While the Europeans seems to take these in a fair bit (hard vs soft), it is still quite raw elsewhere.

    Regarding doing a PhD and speaking from personal experience, do it by all means if the subject areas interest you and you like toying with concepts and theories. It is a satisfying experience though I am now questioning if it is a prospectful excercise

  15. #35
    rcourtney
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    Default Re: Where do PhDs go?

    Quote Originally Posted by waileong View Post

    You lost out to cheaper and younger people. It's not personal. It's just business.
    My apologies if I have use the term "Singapore" too loosely. And I am assuming that the above statement is a matter of personal opinion.

    In anycase, you have just stated what I've mentioned and already knew (and experiencing); and the whole point of this thread is to see what is being (and can be) done to overcome this.

  16. #36
    rcourtney
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    Default Re: Where do PhDs go?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lukeber View Post
    As long as you have the practioner experinence validated, there is no need for a practising professional to complete the module before certification. It only costs a few hundred dollars for a module certification, few years back. Same applies for Oracle suite / Oracle DB.

    Find your friends in the industry and you will have all the information needed
    Thanks for the tip I'll have a look around and talk to some friends to find out more on this. Cheers!

  17. #37
    rcourtney
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    Default Re: Where do PhDs go?

    Quote Originally Posted by palmtastic View Post
    I faced a similar situation when I got my Phd, some 20 years ago - you can guess my age.

    There was not much job opportunities locally at that time. I ended up going back to the UK where I got my PhD and worked as a research fellow. But I intentionally chose a post-doc research project in a university which was sponsored by an industrial company. Having finished the project with some success, the company offered me a job. Doing it this way, I managed to cross the barrier between academia and industry. Subsequently my industrial experience was counted and had landed me job opportunities back home.

    Everyone's circumstance is different. My way of breaking through the barrier may or may not work for you. Hence this is merely a personal tale for your reference only.

    Good luck!
    And a much appreciated tale it is I did contemplate about doing postdoc at one point but often fell into the believe that postdoc will be more relevent for an academic career. Maybe it is time to rethink about this line of strategy

  18. #38
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    Default Re: Where do PhDs go?

    Quote Originally Posted by aeskywan View Post
    The reasoning is very simple. Its the notion that if you are able, you would have been able to enter a local university and if you didnt. Means you are most likely a reject and hence had to do a degree overseas. Hence foreign grads are not look upon with high regard in some sectors. Saying that, Im a "reject" too.... haha so beleive me I know the feeling when the interviewer ask the infamous question. "Hah why you never go local uni??"
    Not going into details. I went over due to personal reasons. While I did qualified for local university, I didn't get my first choice in terms of study areas; so I am a "semi loser" In all honesty, I am glad I did for if I didn't, I don't think I can stretch what I am interested to do to this far.

    In any case, I feel that it may be too early to determine academic potential at the early age of 18+. I have seen local scholars with average results and have seen "reject" getting tenure in upenn. Then again, what would indeed be a good age to judge if not the stage prior to entering the workforce
    Last edited by rcourtney; 21st November 2007 at 12:28 PM.

  19. #39

    Default Re: Where do PhDs go?

    Quote Originally Posted by aeskywan View Post
    The reasoning is very simple. Its the notion that if you are able, you would have been able to enter a local university and if you didnt. Means you are most likely a reject and hence had to do a degree overseas. Hence foreign grads are not look upon with high regard in some sectors. Saying that, Im a "reject" too.... haha so beleive me I know the feeling when the interviewer ask the infamous question. "Hah why you never go local uni??"
    There are three types of foreign universities:

    Ivy league
    Normal
    Degree shops

    If you're from Ivy League (Harvard, MIT, Princeton, etc) I doubt you'd have any problem getting a job in Singapore or anywhere in the world.

    If your degree is from those notorious distance learning universities, companies have a reason to be suspicious.

    If your degree is from an average overseas university, then I think it's 50-50. I think people understand that nowadays, given a chance, young people would rather study overseas than locally. In the past, people couldn't afford it, now they can. And a lot of them study in Australia, for instance, to get bonus points for immigration + the chance to work overseas and eventually migrate.

  20. #40

    Default Re: Where do PhDs go?

    Quote Originally Posted by aeskywan View Post
    The reasoning is very simple. Its the notion that if you are able, you would have been able to enter a local university and if you didnt. Means you are most likely a reject and hence had to do a degree overseas. Hence foreign grads are not look upon with high regard in some sectors. Saying that, Im a "reject" too.... haha so beleive me I know the feeling when the interviewer ask the infamous question. "Hah why you never go local uni??"
    oh... this is SOOO WRONG. I did not get a Phd, mainly because I find the local Phd not worth my time taking, although my MEng Supervisor kept asking me to take.

    I am a local grad too but I always feel slightly inferior to my overseas grad classmates. Just went for my classmate's wedding who graduated from MIT phd. On my table got TWO other people from MIT with phds....

    Well none of them are working in singapore.... why... nobody in singapore can pay them well enough compared to the jobs in US. Well, one of them is working in BP, another in a management consulting firm, and another in a internet startup. Ok so these are where 3 MIT phd grads went.

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