Do you really need a PhD? You must read this debate of the month!

Here is a post on my LinkedIn and attracted a lot of interest. What is your take?

“Many PhD holders have NOT added anything new to the body of knowledge. That’s why you shouldn’t do one UNTIL you are ready to add something new.”

Here is what Patrick had to say:

Patrick Mwebesa FCCAI totally agree, on LinkedIn alone there are thousands of them. One wonders how PhDs are awarded?

Paul came in defense of the PhD holders:

Paul MwebesaWell, one of the things you are asked to do as part of your PhD is to try and publish your results in good academic journals. Most journal editors (and reviewers) will demand to see significant addition to existing knowledge before your paper is published anywhere. So might be a good to look at publication history before you dismiss a PhD holder!!!!

That perspective took Partrick from me:

Patrick Mwebesa FCCAHi Mugisha, my brother might have a point. Though it might not be easy to confirm. Give it a try.

I had to clarify; thus:

Mustapha B. Mugisa, CFE, MBAPaul MwebesaandPatrick Mwebesa FCCAThat is what a good PhD is supposed to be. I just watched a documentary on BBC Knowledge about Isaac Newton and his great writings on physics, life and philosophy. He wrote from primary observations. He never wrote to fill pages. Everything he wrote was a new finding and new contribution to the body of knowledge. Where he quoted, was to confirm or correct an earlier observation. That is what a PhD is all about. His first paper was about 1,000 pages of fresh findings never ever published. That is the standard of a PhD. And it came natural to him that people started calling him a Doctor of Philosophy. He deserved the PhD. He did not have to buy the PhD.

In the meantime, my Facebook friends picked it up.  First was Omusigi;

Rwatamagufa OmusigiMy question would be……how many people bother to read what has been published?… my take on this is that by the time they complete a Phd, they have already added to the body of knowledge. And many of them have continued to publish….but many Ugandans have a poor reading culture..

Then Audrey got intrigued:

Mugisa AudreyThe problem has been the type of research. it does not encourage thinking beyond the already existing literature. Adding to the body of Knowledge especially for my friends in arts- ,never!!!!!!! its copy and paste.

I had to also came in again:

Mustapha B. MugisaRwatamagufa OmusigiA good PhD is supposed to add new knowledge in areas of interest. Solve an existing problem. Find a cure for HIV or offer fresh insights into the issue, etc. People will read! I just watched a documentary on BBC Knowledge about Isaac Newton and his great writings on physics, life and philosophy. He wrote from primary observations. He never wrote to fill pages. Everything he wrote was a new finding and new contribution to the body of knowledge. Where he quoted, was to confirm or correct an earlier observation. That is what a PhD is all about. His first paper was about 1,000 pages of fresh findings never ever published. That is the standard of a PhD. And it came natural to him that people started calling him a Doctor of Philosophy. He deserved the PhD. He did not have to buy the PhD!

And so, the debate continued:

Rwatamagufa OmusigiTrue… a PhD by any definition has to add to the existing body of knowledge, the question would be to what extent, note that today research about anything has been done, many scholars are not re-inventing the wheel, but concern themselves with addingsomething however small it may be to the known….i know of pple that have done good research (PhD and None PhD research), made wonderful proposals and recommendations from their findings but all these are never been taken into account….the problem now is the commercialisation of education……if it was acquired from a university that doesn’t feature in the good universities in terms of research then questions are raised

Moses BukenyaA very controversial debate hereMustapha B. Mugisa. I can figure out the individuals your tirade is directed at.#Rwatamagufatries to pull off a spirited fight but I can’t agree more with the synopsis you present. A PhD these days is no more than just a qualification level as too many get crowded at masters level. Recently a friend of mine on social media posted that he had finished what he called a “first class” masters degree and he was now looking for a job. My advice to him was, “once you have mastered in a area, we expect you to come up with ideas and solutions you can sell to the industry than look for just a job as the only alternative”. Anyhow if you expect serious inventions and or innovations from current PhDs, you are mistaken. There are far more inventions and innovations from school drop outs than there are from highly qualified individuals. These qualifications these days do nothing more than make individuals lazier with a feeling of the need to be served than serve. Over to you.

Mustapha B. MugisaRwatamagufa OmusigiWe could go on and on… so many today’s challenges have not been solved. (1) To date, many diseases still have no cure; (2) To date, seemingly trust-able people steal government a lot of money at the expense of the majority and there seems to be no solution in sight soon; (3) Oil is still a scarce resource (why not use salt water available in abundance); (4) electricity is still short in supply, why not turn any air into power? (5) Internet is still to expensive and a privilege, why not make it cheap; (6) No person can live beyond the age of 150; why not change this? (7) People have to be schooled for over 15 years to be productive, why not transfer the brains of the geniuses so that ‘it continues’; (8) so many things… these days people are just not thinking as much as in the days gone by. We are looking for validation NOT value addition to mankind.

What is your say? Leave your comments below.

Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa 2014. All rights reserved. 

About M. B. Mugisa

Mustapha Barnabas Mugisa is one of those rare people who provides business consulting and advisory to professionals and corporate entities who demand the very best. He is a prolific speaker and governance (strategy and risk) expert. His speaking involves making key notes at major conferences and business events on both technical subjects and leadership skills. A change agent and motivational speaker. Mustapha provides tools and proven methodologies to remarkable results through making people appreciate change. Visit Mustapha's LinkedIn profile to know more. Mustapha is the architect of #WinningMindset Leadership and #WinningTheGame strategy approach that combines Harvard Business strategy Playing To Win, with the Blue Ocean Strategy and Balanced Score Card to deliver a strategy that is easy to execute and monitor. Visit www.mustaphamugisa.com for special insights to improve your condition. Are you too good to be great?

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