People with PhDs, like great business executives, know how to find answers to difficult problems, communicate them to a problem-solving team, execute a solution, and go with the flow.

Depending on your business field, academia may not be the most natural or obvious path toward success. But earning a PhD as a business professional has its distinct advantages.

From problem-solving and project management to research and writing, a PhD can set your business career on a clear path to success.

The most highly-sought-after executive skills look awfully familiar to the ones you can acquire as a PhD student. 

Let's take a closer look at how PhD research skills can benefit business professionals. 

What skills does earning a PhD give you?

It's hard to articulate the skills that PhD students develop as they go through the process, especially as they apply to life outside academia. But they do.

PhD students develop their analytical and problem-solving skills by identifying problems, synthesizing large amounts of data, forming conclusions, and conducting experiments, often requiring fieldwork.

They also develop interpersonal and leadership skills by mentoring others, facilitating discussions, conducting meetings, and serving as the primary researcher on a project. These tasks require collaboration, communication, and creative approaches to getting things done. Sounds a bit like the business world, no?

PhD projects require high levels of project management and organization, as do successful businesses. PhD students design, manage, and execute large projects from start to finish, and maintain flexible attitudes in the face of changing circumstances. 

As most PhD candidates will tell you, their funding often depends on their writing and speaking skills. They polish their communication skills by explaining difficult concepts in basic language, write effective grant proposals, and handily defend their ideas.

They are also highly adaptable people. PhDs are in-depth research projects. While PhD candidates have specific goals when they set out, they often need to shift their focus depending on what their data tells them -- either that or find different ways of collecting legitimate data.

In business, managing fast-paced, high-level projects and convincing people that you are doing the right thing while maintaining professional working relationships is key.

Where can you get the best of both worlds?

Management Center Innsbruck (MCI)! The business school in Austria offers its AACSB-accredited Executive PhD program in management.

The four-year, part-time research-based program offers senior executives the chance to apply knowledge and research to contemporary business problems while maintaining their jobs. The purpose? To give senior executives the opportunity to deepen their knowledge and skills, and ultimately their business practices. 

Bridging two cities – Innsbruck in Austria and Antwerp in Belgium -- the program seeks to give senior executives a way to combine their work experience with high-level academic research. The program divides coursework between the two great cities and students work within the program's flexible guidelines for working professionals.

With courses in Innsbruck, MCI offers students the all-year-round majesty of the mountains combined with a vibrant economic and arts scene. Those into the winter sports scene can revel in Innsbruck’s Winter Olympics history. And in Antwerp students benefit from studying in the cradle of European politics while experiencing the cobblestone joy of the medieval city.

While working knowledge of French, German, and Dutch might be helpful culturally and socially, the international staff conduct the MCI Executive Management PhD entirely in English. Combined, the MCI program in Innsbruck and Antwerp gives students a chance to see, feel, and experience the heart of Europe.

Prof. Dr. Andreas Altmann, Rector of the MCI, says, “We look forward to guiding the participants of the Executive PhD Program through the process of reaching the next level of academic qualification. This Executive PhD Program will support the PhD students’ career, will provide benefits to their companies and will create impacts on the economy and society we live in.”

MCI's Executive PhD in Management offers virtual info sessions for prospective students and will host its next intake in November.

Learn more about Management Center Innsbruck.