NeuroWise

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Hi all,

I was recently speaking with my department head (an experimental psychologist) about future career paths/opportunities, and he said something very interesting. He said that if he were a clinical student he would probably "pivot" into an academic career in a business school instead of staying in a traditional psychology or psychiatry department. His rationale was that faculty in business schools typically make significantly more money than do those in psychology. Additionally, he said that clinical students are able to do this because a clinical degree is super flexible and in-demand.

Has anyone ever heard of or know someone who has done this? When he said "pivot" did he mean that he would shift his research into more industry-related domains?
 

WisNeuro

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Only if you are very stats savvy, or did some neuroeconomics work. I/O students get on faculty of business schools all the time, clinical faculty, not so much.
 

LM02

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This is actually not terribly uncommon for social psychologists (cf, Dan Ariely, Amy Cuddy, etc.), but I think it's much harder to go from clinical psych to a faculty position within a business school.
 
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WisNeuro

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Bottom line, it can happen, but it's rare. If you really want to go this direction, I would suggest looking into I/O, which has a much more direct pipeline to this type of position.
 

Ollie123

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I agree - clinical is not the best route to go if that is the goal.

That said - lines are blurring tremendously these days. Especially at R1s where interdiscplinary research has become the norm, its becoming very common for departments to have people from a variety of backgrounds (and departments themselves are often restructuring). If the degree is already in hand, you could position yourself for it with the right portfolio, but it would take time. A therapy researcher isn't going to get hired into such a program straight out of school.

All that said, I'm probably overreaching and diversifying my portfolio too much these days, but I'm trying to weave my way into that world (more for consulting gigs than a shift in departments since I'm not interested in moving unless my funding dries up). Partly done out of nervousness about that funding, partly done out of being someone who is genuinely interested in just about everything under the sun, partly out of my realization that I don't want clinical work to be my backup plan because I just don't enjoy it enough. There are definitely avenues to do business-themed work as a clinical psychologist. It does necessitate thinking outside the box. The projects I'm tackling to move me in that direction are wayyyy outside the scope of "normal" clinical psychology research.

All that said - at the upper end, medical departments can still pay way better than most business schools will. This necessitates being in the "2+ R01s at any given time" category though.
 
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A clinical degree requires so much time investment in clinical work - courses and then practica and then internship - compared to other psychology PhDs that are able to focus their time on research without the extra "burden" of clinical learning. Because of that, in my mind, it only makes sense to do a clinical degree if you want to a) do clinical work, b) do clinically relevant research where clinical training is useful, or c) teach/consult on clinically relevant stuff, none of which seem like a great route for eventual business school jobs. I have friends in other areas of psych (personality, I/O, health psych, social psych) whose CVs are much more competitive for those positions because their experience is more relevant to business contexts. IMHO.
 
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MCParent

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I know several clinical psych PhDs who are faculty in business schools. It's advantageous to do research in something interesting to business people, obviously, but lots of clinical/counseling/social research falls within that domain.
 

PsyDr

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On this board, I am probably the one that pivots the most. There's not a whole hell of a lot of skill in this.

The general idea is: get a license so you can bill of any of this fails, acquire unique skills in psychology preferably in math or computing (especially machine learning), be super curious about life in general, socialize with people and learn how their industries work, think about how you could do something for that field, run it through your mind, read a ton, try something, fail repeatedly, be humble, learn from your failures, try again and again and again, repeat, remain humble when you succeed because there is always someone who makes a ton more than you.

As for academia: I'm really not a fan. There's IP rights things that go a long with this which could be financially devastating. Even if you get a billion dollar idea, your time is limited by your academic duties.