We are going through another wave of hireing, which is nice becuase I am also looking to get a promotion right now. Having several bazillion resumes on my desk to look at gives me a great idea of what the market looks like to compare myself against. Leaving aside the high school drop outs I refer to here, there are a lot of educated people out there.
Do the degrees matter?
Is a MD/PHD better than a Ph.D.?
Does adding JD or MBA to the end help?
I would love to know that answer, but I dont' think I am any further along towards true enlightenment. I am seeing a lot of variation. We am involved in searches for 1 director level person, and 2 product manager roles, so seeing 2 different levels.
On the director level, we are getting MOSTLY Ph.D. -or- MBA. A few Ph.D./MBA combo packs. Only one MD/PHD.
What are we doing with this information....
not much. I was just noticing. At these levels (the product managers are senior level, not entry) work experience is what matters. The MD/PHD is gone already, as they don't have any and are looking for a first job. Degrees don't help with senior level jobs, experience does -> so bye bye. The Ph.D./MBA dies a similar death. Spent a long time in school and is now trying to catch up. Not there yet, have to take a more junior level position.
That leaves us with the "pure" Ph.D.'s and MBA's. Here we have a mixed bag of experience from little to lot. Too much experience (on the PM roles) means they will be unhappy sooner and want a promotion, so you have to watch out for that. Too little experience means you have to teach them more. Seems so clinically easy to write about, yet so hard to do.
The take home message here is that more school doesn't seem to be helping. Once you have a certain number of degree's (i.e. 1 real one) I and the others involved don't seem to be giving you any credit for the extra work. I would be interested in seeing if you get more money for the extra degrees (do they pay off, in the classic NPV sense). I would guess, but don't have solid data, that they do not pay for themselves. I don't see us offering more money to people with more degrees. I don't, in fact, see us even giving the people "intellegence" credit for the degrees. This probably answers my question from a few posts ago, as to whether or not going to get an MBA would help me. I am solidly in the NO camp on that front now. Anything that distracts from "learning" is to be avoided, and I think more school is a block to learning.
This is not to say classes are bad. I, in fact, think classes on defined subjects are a really good idea. Obviously, as I just went to one, I would say that... but I think the classes are key to helping with the "language" issue I discuss here, and that is learning. A degree program where you take tests and go to lots of classes, some of which you probably don't care about, is probably not the thing to do after a certain point in your career. This assumes you have a graduate degree of some flavor already. For those without, there is probably always room to pick up that degree, as it may be blocking you from the highest levels of company structure.
on a side note:
I rank myself as a poor judge of whether or not someone will be any good when I interview them. The last couple of hires I have been involved with, I think I have called correctly in that they are working out. My head is greatly inflated from this. I am sure I have a couple of good misses coming my way....
My uncle says that he gave up after a few years, and just judges based on the first 2 or 3 minutes. Says he is doing just as well as when he tried harder, but that it is much less annoying just to get it out of the way. I have heard of studies which say that you do that subconsciously anyway, so he may just be being honest about the whole matter. He is a judge, so that should scare you a bit, but no he doesn't use that in cases, he is talking about hiring for his legal practice and for the court.