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The four key secrets to the successful completion of Ph.D.

The four key secrets to the successful completion of Ph.D.

Doing a Ph.D. is not difficult, it is rather, time-consuming. One need not to be really a genius to get through. An ordinary, mediocre person, like me, can easily make it. A little smart work, perseverance and self-discipline will save the day. What I have personally observed, very ordinary people do it more efficiently, while the best and the brightest, utterly failing. Each Ph.D. scholar has his/her own tale of successes and failure. It is advisable to learn from other people’s mistakes and success stories.

In this blog post, I share my personal experiences with novice doctoral students- how they can complete their Ph.D. studies, successfully and quickly. Here, I deliberate upon those important factors which cause unnecessary hiccups in the swift completion of Ph.D. studies and strongly believe that if the scholars overcome these bottlenecks, they would be able to complete their Ph.D quickly.

Effective time management

During the course of doctoral studies, time management becomes critically important for the student. It is all about the effective and efficient use of available time. It is a more practical thing rather than theoretical. I feel this is the key to Ph.D., as many students miserably fail, due to poor time management. To me, if the doctoral candidates are done with effective time management, they are done with the PhD.

Choosing a supervisor carefully

To have a good supervisor, humble and helpful, is a wonderful thing. Indeed, doctoral students have to manage and look after, all of their research work, on their own. Even then, a good supervisor is not less than a blessing. While choosing a supervisor, the scholars should exercise utmost care. Those who managed to have a fine supervisor shall have the leverage to complete their PhD smoothly.

Overcoming frequent distractions

With a peculiar social and cultural settings, the scholars, besides Ph.D. studies have not only to perform multiple tasks but also have to shoulder various family-related responsibilities. Hence, there is a strong possibility that they may get easily distracted and lose momentum. I advise the scholars, not to allow themselves, get easily distracted. The frequent distractions may be disastrous at times and some might lose their momentum to the extent to cost them Ph.D. This is very important that they put themselves quickly back on track, improve their level of concentration and boost their motivation. Those who did it more effectively will end up completing their PhD successfully.

Staying persistent

To remain persistent is the hardest of all the job during the entire journey. Doctoral studies is not a game of a day or two. It is a marathon. During this tedious journey, on certain occasions, sticky patches are bound to come along. At times, the doctoral candidates feel really disappointed and ironically, at that critical juncture, they hardly find proper counselling and valuable guidance. Hence, a great majority of the scholars leave their Ph.D. studies incomplete. To remain persistent, chipping in, something, every day is the key.  Remaining focused, and persistent will help finishing the tasks well in time.


Based on my personal experience, I firmly believe managing time effectively, selecting a supervisor cautiously, getting over distractions efficiently and performing persistently are few of the critically important areas, the doctoral students must handle in a gracious manner.  Those who work it out in a professional manner will end up completing their PhD smoothly and successfully.

About Dr Syed Hafeez Ahmad

Having a doctoral degree in human resource management, Dr. Syed Hafeez Ahmad is currently working as Additional Controller of Examinations, Khyber Medical University, Peshawar. He previously served the same university as Additional Registrar. These are mid-career level positions in the university's administration. Besides, he is working in the capacity of a team leader and founder of the Career Development & Research Centre, a startup launched in the Business Incubation Center of Khyber Medical University. He is having more than 18 years of professional experience in academic management with special interest in public sector higher education reforms, sustainability, academic leadership and universities' governance. He is a research blogger, Amazon associate and a YouTuber.

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