Only recently, I had shared two blog posts, one of them partially written by me, which may have been apparently perceived against acquiring a PhD degree. The most recent post was yesterday. Since then, I have been responding to people’s comments.
This morning, I received a call that my name has been proposed for the position of Vice Chancellor of a university in Karachi. A reputable name, it has a B-school, a law school and an IT school.
They asked me if depending on me being in town, an informal conversation could be arranged today. It won’t be a formal interview, I was told.
As much as it was unexpected and a potentially rewarding opportunity, I didn’t have a desire to leave my retirement peace and go back to the politicking of a workplace. All workplaces are politicking, aren’t they?
The other reason for reluctance was that my ideas in education are so radical that I could be a walking risk for anyone who even thinks of employing me.
On insistence, I agreed and reached the place.
The group owner and a trusted ex-VC (a respectable name) wanted to know my specific ideas of a possible university turnaround.
One after the other I explained what are some of the things that needed to be done: in teaching, research, leadership, HEC and global ranking, student placement, industry linkage, partnerships, reputation over a period, etc
I also criticised the HEC role in placing a wrong emphasis on the PhD degree, when what our country really needed was good teaching faculty, and not researchers.
And how this misplaced emphasis at a time when the utility of PhD degree itself is eroding has deprived our educational institutions from the bright faculty and leadership.
Posts by Wali
This is where they asked me what subject was my PhD in and from where?
Shocked, I said: No, I don’t have a PhD. I am a dropout.
They glanced at each other.
I could sense they wanted to locate and shoot the person who had referred me, knowing that HEC would want the VC to be a PhD degree-holder.
(Might be that somebody became impressed with my ideas about future.)
The industrialist stood up and said: Thank you. We’ll be in touch.
I knew we won’t be. This was end of our conversation.
Moral: Don’t write a post against PhD. It might come back to haunt you. That very week. 😛
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As CEO of SkillCity, he coaches several Fortune-500 CEOs on leadership.
He’s founder of a global movement for humanizing medical education and practice.
He can be reached on Twitter @walizahid