Marketing Related PhD + Lecturing = Good Idea?

My background has been in business management and I’ve always had an inclination towards marketing. Four years back I completed an MBA from a very reputable university and went on to complete a Masters of Marketing. This helped me get a national marketing manager job with a company that 12 months later (two months ago) rationalised its cost base and got rid of the marketing department including me.

To keep some cash flowing in the door I’ve approached a couple of universities about teaching marketing and all they have both offered me sessional/part time teaching work in their post-graduate schools of management on the basis that I have strong experience. I had a meeting with one of them today and was urged to undertake a PhD in a marketing related area and take on teaching full time.

The pros include relative certainty re holding academic positions in future, and learning something new in a field that I enjoy. The cons are that I’d be making less doing teaching and studying than I would be working fulltime (with the option of casual teaching on the side), and I might well never work in industry again.

It’s all a bit unknown to me at the moment. I understand that PhDs in chemistry or biology provide known employment prospects in industry, but as marketing is considered by many to be a “soft” discipline I wonder whether actually attaining a PhD will in fact make me less employable, not more. One way to counter this might be to choose a particularly “applicable” thesis subject that gives practical insights into boosting business performance, but even doing that I wonder whether I would be attractive to industry.

I’m 47 and feel that I could still make a difference in business and perhaps make some solid bucks. Financial security is important to me and I don’t have too much of that at the moment. I’ve always tended to view academics as, well academics - impractical people nestling in the safe harbor of university life. The thought of becoming one without recourse to getting a job in industry makes me feel uncertain.

Anyone had parallel experience, or have words of wisdom to offer to help me decide whether to pursue this opportunity? All perspectives welcome!

I have a friend who is finishing up a marketing PhD right now and is about to enter the job market. From what I gather, one usually applies for between 100 and 200 different colleges of which hopefully a dozen will invite you for an interview and you might get 3 or 4 offers. Academic positions used to be pretty plentiful although nobody knows what the future will be like given the economy.

A PhD opens you up to less industry jobs than a Masters degree but, according to him, more interesting ones. That you have some previous industry experience can be important, he works with a lot of people who entered straight from undergrad and, IHO, they would be wholly unsuited to the non-academic world.

Feel free to send me a PM if you want any more info.

Based on my job-search experience, private-sector companies tend to top out at the Master’s from a marketing perspective. I haven’t seen any job requirements that list a marketing PhD, although a number list a Master’s in marketing.

So the PhD would open up more academic doors, but no additional private-sector doors.

You would have private sector consulting opportunities with the PhD. That can make it more lucrative than the teaching alone would imply.

A business PhD is probably about 5 years of full-time study, compensated only by a modest stipend. Also, at the PhD level any social science subject, including business, means some serious quantitative analysis. The PhD won’t be primarily about the soft side of marketing. If neither of those things take it completely off the table for you, talk to some folks who have recently graduated from similar programs.

I’m doing a PhD in marketing right now. Send me a PM, and we can talk over the phone if you want. I can give you any information you might need.