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Career advice: Initiating change from below

Randall Gaboriault | Dec. 17, 2013
Premier 100 IT Leader Randall Gaboriault also answers questions on the skills needed in QA and the wisdom of getting a doctorate.

I'm the CIO of a midsize firm and content where I am, but I would like to pursue a doctorate degree. I am worried, though, that Ph.D.'s are seen as antithetical to the business environment. What do you think?
You are defined by your actions and communications, both verbally and nonverbally, by whom you interact with and whom you do not, and by how you treat others and their ideas, not exclusively by your educational ranking. A Ph.D. is not at all incompatible with the business environment — the wrong behaviors are. Others may form preconceived notions based on your degree, some may digest it as an asset, others a liability. You can disarm those notions by being tactful in how you deploy your academic dexterity. Collaborate; acknowledge and leverage the strengths of others, be respectful and share credit. Never use your degree as a weapon, for example as the reason for knowing something that others do not. Be sensitive to how you publicize your credentials; it should be consistent with the culture of your organization. Always introducing yourself as the Ph.D. may quickly draw the ire of colleagues.


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