Why do a PHD?

Why do a PHD?

Careers Night 1

(This event has concluded –Thank you to all who attended and in particular our guest speakers for coming in and sharing their experiences. We would like to extend our appreciation to our sponsors CSL, Resmed, Halfords IP and Arc@UNSW for making this possible!)

Have you ever wondered about the full career potential of a PHD?
If so, here's your chance to find out first hand from an expert panel and have your questions answered. 
Visit our Facebook page for more details

Event Details

Where: Central Lecture Block 6, UNSW, Kensington Campus

When: 14th August 2013 (Week 3 Semester 2)

Time: Talks @ 6PM. Pizza and drinks / Networking @ 7PM.


  • Dr Noelle Sunstorm; Neuclone Pty Ltd
  • Dr Órla NicDomhail; Stephenson Mansell Group
  • Ms Maisie Pahl; Boston Consultancy Group

Event Review:

On 14th August, at the Central Lecture Block on the UNSW main campus, BABSOC organised and presented a recent event to help demystify the PhD process for BABS students at UNSW. We invited an expert panel of post-doctorate visitors from industry to field questions from our lively audience of students.

Dr Noëlle Sunstrom (Neuclone), Dr Adam Whybrew (Boston Consulting Group) and Dr Órla NicDomhnaill (Stephenson Mansell Group) were joined by an intimate audience of 20 keen students. All gained valuable insights from both our expert panel as well as UNSW's Dr Wallace Bridge who presented a brief outline of the PhD pathway at UNSW.

Students were interested in separating fact from fiction and only by asking the panel, were able to delve into all issues pertaining to the trials and tribulations of an arduous yet rewarding doctorate. Our panel recounted that duration proved to be highly variable depending on whether any course work was involved in a specific doctoral course. Whilst the panel all confirmed the difficulty of the journey (including some doubts along the way), the overwhelming conclusion is that the benefits have outweighed the work involved.

Dr Whybrew maintained that with a PhD under his belt, he found himself enjoying a high level of credibility and respect in his professional life matched equally by the personal resilience he has gained from having persevered and completed a difficult journey. He also points out that his progress through his doctorate was not without some soul searching during the earlier stages but felt it better to form an opinion once having completed the journey and remains satisfied that he did.

Students were very curious about whether the myth that their social lives would vanish under the preoccupation of PhD commitments and when put to the panel, these fears were largely confirmed. The temptation to enjoy life after the completion of undergraduate studies is a potential pitfall warns Dr NicDomhnaill who for that reason also discouraged candidates from entertaining the thought of pat-time work whilst completing the PhD. It is in fact a difficult adjustment to commit oneself to material and social deprivation and ever more so when one is busy enjoying a well paid career path at the end of their undergraduate studies.

The majority of attendants provided positive feedback from the event and indicated they have been assisted in their own personal decision making process regarding the potential of doctoral studies.

Surprisingly, Dr Sunstrom also insisted that the PhD is not the be all and end all of education; that some students will find the need (as she did) for post doctoral study to provide the necessary skill-set for success in a chosen career.

We thank all participants for their role in what was a fascinating and inspiring evening made even more enjoyable by pizza and networking after the presentations.