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CEO beats PHD for better GDP

Startups as dissertations are remaking economies
Dateline: 28 March 2025

What students need and what society needs, is not a PhD thesis in the form of 200-400 pages of new analysis, but rather the results of an applied trial in the real business world. It’s a no-brainer, right?

You’d think so, but it took hundreds of student protests around the globe and a US$ 3.5 trillion defaulted student loans crisis in the US; but now the world can finally see that startups should be the new dissertations.

In 2018, the Indian Institute of Technology announced that they would launch the concept and while it took a few years to build momentum, the success has been unprecedented. The economic impact of these PhD startups has boosted Indian GDP to the extent that India’s economy has overtaken that of the United Kingdom.

China, a long-time expert in ‘copy-and-paste’ innovation, introduced similar changes to its doctorate programs. What they had going for them though, was their vibrant start-up culture too. It came as no surprise then, when three post-grad researchers from Nanjing University yesterday announced that they had patented software to read and record people’s dreams. Their company, Jung Dreamer, is set to become the highest valued start-up in Chinese history.

At some universities, researchers are not graduating with just a piece of paper anymore, but with an income generating venture or at the very least, real world feedback from their idea-in-practice. Now that’s a valuable education, if you ask me.

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Warning: Hazardous Thinking at Work

Despite appearances to the contrary, Futureworld cannot and does not predict the future. Our Mindbullets scenarios are fictitious and designed purely to explore possible futures, challenge and stimulate strategic thinking. Use these at your own risk. Any reference to actual people, entities or events is entirely allegorical. Copyright Futureworld International Limited. Reproduction or distribution permitted only with recognition of Copyright and the inclusion of this disclaimer. © Public domain image.

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