I am currently thinking about applying for PhD in Finance (the country is Germany), because I like studying and the university atmosphere of young and talented people. However, a PhD in Finance does not really help for a subsequent business career and is often considered just waiting out and earns no additional skills e.g. programming or practice.

My biggest concern is, that if I pursue an academic career, there seems a high likelihood of failure. The number of professor positions is really limited, and all other university jobs are usually of restricted term. So I would likely at best end up maybe in some administrative job at university.

I can probably write a nice PhD thesis, but I am not like one of these super geniuses which create their own theoretical model or earn best-paper awards - is it still possible to get a long-term job in academia in Germany (or should I just pursue a business career)?

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    Related economist.com/node/17723223 Commented Jan 24, 2015 at 23:33
  • @MarcClaesen "One female student spoke of being told of glowing opportunities at the outset, but after seven years of hard slog she was fobbed off with a joke about finding a rich husband."^^
    – emcor
    Commented Jan 24, 2015 at 23:45
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    Maybe you should consider my career path. I delayed my PhD studies until I was in my 50's, after an industry career. I still got all the fun of studying and the university atmosphere, but without having to worry about future career. Commented Jan 24, 2015 at 23:52
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    "PhD in Finance does not really help for a subsequent business career" - [citation needed]
    – earthling
    Commented Jan 25, 2015 at 1:46
  • Could you please clarify your question? Do you want to know if you can get a job in a German university with a PhD in finance given that your dissertation will be enough to pass but your articles will not be stellar? Or are you asking if you should get a PhD at all? Or are you asking if you can get a job (perhaps in administration) in a German university without a PhD?
    – earthling
    Commented Jan 25, 2015 at 1:49

1 Answer 1


A PhD is not about "studying," it's about learning how to become a researcher (in a particular field of study). If you're interested in a career in business or industry outside of research and development, a PhD will often be fundamentally out of sync with the needs of those positions.

And yes, it is very hard to break into the ranks of German academia. However, if your heart is not interested in becoming an academic, then I wouldn't recommend choosing that asa career path.

Basically, if what you want to do really doesn't call for a PhD, don't do it.

  • I am interested in academics, but more as e.g. a lecturer or administrative position. Is it reasonably possible to stay at university with just some job, or could I end up in a deadend?
    – emcor
    Commented Jan 25, 2015 at 8:24
  • People in these positions usually do not have a PhD though.
    – naco
    Commented Jan 17, 2021 at 20:53

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