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I am starting a Master's conversion course (in Computing and IT Management) but I am still very unsure about all of the details about doing a PhD such as where and what I want to do it in. Some programs require that you have you Master's certificate to hand when applying too, and I haven't even started my MSc yet.

I was thinking of taking a gap year after the MSc to continue my entrepreneurial activities and goals, to find some temp/contractual work and to give myself more time to apply to PhD applications.

Would this be beneficial or detrimental to my applications and academic prospects?

  • What country and what field? – astronat Aug 19 '18 at 10:09
  • My mistake. It would have been beneficial if I specified such. It is Computing with an emphasis on web development and IT business innovation. – Individualist Aug 19 '18 at 10:32
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If you're using the gap year to get real-life work experience, it will improve your potential to do a PhD. The reason is simply that you'll have a clearer idea of why you're going to grad school.

I've seen many students who weren't ready to be adults even at the end of their undergraduate degree. They were heavily sheltered by their parents, and never had to worry about things like money. When money isn't an issue, university becomes something to be attempted because it's there. The post-undergraduate job search becomes heavily intimidating, and going to grad school the easy way out. So they end up in grad school with no real idea why they're there.

Real-life work experience goes a very long way to broadening one's world view. You'll learn what's needed to succeed, what's needed to be able to afford a house/car/spouse/children. You'll learn that you only have so much time to spare and that grad school might not be worth it. And if you do choose to go to grad school after all, you'll have a much clearer idea what exactly you want out of it. Since motivation is a key factor in any endeavor, this improves your ability to complete the PhD.

Only drawback is, it's my impression that grad schools like to admit starry-eyed students who're doing PhDs because they want to become professors. Having different career goals isn't fatal to your application, but you might have to modify your statement of purpose somewhat.

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It seems odd to me that you are interested in a PhD at all. I even wonder whether you understand the effect it would have relative to what seem to be your goals. You seem to be very interested in the management side and in entrepreneurship but a PhD is an entirely different sort of thing.

In doctoral studies in Computer Science you will study very deeply in some very narrow part of computing with an eye to doing research in that and related sub-fields. That is nothing about running a business.

Looking at it from another aspect, your current and proposed studies don't seem to be laying a base for doctoral studies, though they would be good for what may be your real goals. The same is true about a gap year.

Entrepreneurs need to be broadly educated, not narrowly. They need to bring teams together to create something, not just research it. Doctoral students need to be totally committed to their narrow field, at least until they finish a dissertation.

Are you sure that seeking a doctorate won't get you further from your real goals? Think about what you really want and then focus on that. It might even be that advanced study is right for you, but in a field different from CS. Sergey Brin, for example, doesn't hold a doctorate, but he can hire a lot of them as required.

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