To what extent do you think a PhD can enhance your career in the shipping industry? While it’s generally viewed positively, are there specific positions where having a PhD would be a significant advantage? Alternatively, are there certain positions for which employers require or prefer a candidate with a PhD?
When considering your career development, would you focus on broadening your skillset and gaining practical experience, or would you pursue a PhD to master a particular topic?
In the shipping industry, experience and practical skills are typically valued more than academic qualifications, including a PhD. While having a PhD can certainly enhance your career prospects and make you a more competitive candidate, it is not a requirement for most positions in the industry.
That being said, there are certain positions where having a PhD can be a significant advantage. For example, positions in research and development, class related positions or academic roles where the focus is on developing and advancing knowledge in the field.
Ultimately, when considering your career development in the shipping industry, it is important to focus on broadening your skillset and gaining practical experience. This is because the industry is very hands-on and experience-based, and practical skills and knowledge are highly valued by employers. Pursuing a PhD to master a particular topic may be beneficial if you are interested in pursuing certain career paths, but it may not be the most efficient use of your time and resources if your goal is to advance your career in the industry more broadly.
In any case, the above is a personal opinion based on experience gained so far. As a final note, always consider what is your goal and consider PhD as a means to an end. If it is the prefered path and you see yourself happy in academia, go for it and you will find a way to leverage it during your career.
It depends on the career path you are considering. But in my opinion it’s never a waste if you can afford it.
Thank you both for your insights. I would ideally like to continue my career in the energy efficiency/decarbonization sector, without a specific direction (shipping company/class) in mind at the moment.
Concerning the practical skills/experiences, do you have any suggestions that would be useful in the energy efficiency/decarbonization sector?
The ideal scenario would be to attend a newbuilding construction project in a Korean or Japanese shipyard. In my opinion, it is a unique experience. In some cases it can be more valuable than a postgraduate degree in engineering, but this depends a lot on the degree of the attention that you are willing to pay during your attendance. Sailing for a short period of time and attendance in drydockings and repairs can give you valuable insights as well.
If you’re interested in pursuing a career in the energy efficiency/decarbonization sector, it would be beneficial to participate in vessels’ sea trials and engine shop tests, as well as gain exposure to model tests and various computational fluid dynamics (CFD) methods. This hands-on experience will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of vessel performance and energy efficiency.