I was talking to a friend who wanted some advice for his friend. Let’s call this friend. He wanted to talk about his friend who wants to leave her Ph.D. and get an MBA. I asked him why is she leaving her Ph.D. Her reasons: Ph.D. takes a lot of time and she’s not even sure if research is something she wants to do for the next 30 years. And she has already made up her mind. Fair enough. Next, I asked him why does she want to do an MBA? What makes her think that’s she will enjoy spending her next 2 years on. And what about her career post MBA? Is MBA a way to procrastinate on taking the “what’s next” decision after getting out of her Ph.D. or has she thought through the trade-offs well?

One thing I have seen people do again and again is just because they don’t like situation X and want to get out of X, they assume that anything will be better than X, and jump to situation Y. They don’t separate exiting from X with selecting Y over other potential options they have. They just jump in Y. Example: just because your current job sucks, you don’t need to jump at the first escape opportunity available. You might face the same problems in the new job. So think carefully.

Entry and exit are totally different decisions. Don’t combine both.