Be proud of yourself
You’ve got your Doctorate of Business Administration degree because you deserve it. You probably feel frustrated because, for sure, your thesis would have been much more complete if you had spent three more months working on it (welcome to the interesting but also frustrating world of scholars, in which your research is never over!).
However, if your thesis passed through all the assessments stages (i.e., greenlight from your supervisor and program director, the greenlight from the internal and the external reviewers, and a successful defense), it means that you have the required skills to be a doctor with an AMBA-accredited diploma. Be proud of yourself! You will also observe that people around you will be proud of you, too! Some of them perhaps forgot about you these last months, but now that you have made it, they will give more value to the 4,500 hours (at a minimum) you have spent on your doctoral research. So enjoy!
So what next then?
The day after or so, you probably will look for more professional recognition, either by asking for a promotion inside your organization, by looking for a more rewarding job position, or by switching from the business world to the academic world. But, it’s not time to party unless the promotion has been directly reached. Looking for a new job position is often stressful: competition is high; so, the best thing to do is to publish your doctoral research as much as you can and as high as you can in peer-reviewed journals (Remember the CNRS list?). So, start as soon as you can! Candidates having published during their doctoral journey increase their chances of being hired.
You may feel exhausted or, even more, empty or depressed. I did not find any study about this, but, as a program director of doctoral programs, I have observed cohorts of new doctors over the years and have listened to their complaints about this feeling. During these years, the main goal is clear: getting this grail−the doctoral degree; the agenda priority is straightforward: working on the doctoral research; and the mind is focused: writing the thesis. Achieving the doctoral degree is like delivering a baby−but after a four- to five-year-long pregnancy. It is usually quite painful! But there is no baby to pamper; just yourself to take care of.
What’s next after that?
After this post-partum period, you probably have a better working position, and you now struggle with publications, but you enjoy the academic life (e.g., working with smart people who are focused on topics like you, using your brain intensively, or traveling around the world to discuss your research). Or you are recognized as an expert in your professional world and get rewards from this (e.g., getting more contracts, writing books).
And you are a doctor for your whole life! One day, you may lose your job, lose your hair, or lose your cat…who knows? But something will remain certain in this uncertain, complex, constantly changing, and sometimes crazy world…YOU WILL REMAIN A DOCTOR FOREVER, and you will never regret this, believe me!
So, wherever you are in the doctoral journey, even having completed it, I send you my best wishes.
By Caroline Gauthier, DBA Program Director, Grenoble Ecole de Management