Older professional (early 30s), pondering getting a Ph. D in a field that’s relatively friendly to professional movers (Business - Management). Seven years ago applied w/o any research but w/ professor recommendations, and was decent enough to make it to the deadline at a T25 school before official rejection (high GPA + GRE, extracurriculars, international experience, awards, nice recs, undergrad school meh, no research). I’ve enjoyed decent success in the private sector, but now thinking about academia again.
I have no research experience, and wouldn’t have professor recommendations any more due to passage of time. Would have glowing professional recommendations, professional work translates reasonably to academic setting (variety of experiences quantifying complex reality for businesses), and lots of familiarity with academic research in related fields that should make for interesting research avenues, though not necessarily traditional approach for field.
- In my field it’s easy enough to get into an academically-oriented Master’s program with my current credentials, and from there could theoretically get some papers published/professor recommendations to improve my profile if I were to apply to a Ph. D program.
- I live near two T20 institutions, and could probably help out a professor with research for recommendations / maybe a paper credit if I’m very lucky. Least attractive to me.
- Apply to Ph. D programs as-is
What would your advice/assessment of my way forward be? I’m guessing #1 is the best approach by a mile, I’m curious to know if there’s any shot at #3 or if my profile is too far gone as-is.
Thanks for your time!