How To Become A Commercially Successful Academic (Part 3)

By: Olumuyiwa Oludayo, Ph.D 

In this article, Dr. Olumuyiwa Oludayo tried to establish the source of wealth linked to academics and seek to use this as a source of inspiration to those pursuing academic careers.

The Concluding Part

  1. EMPLOYMENT EARNINGS. The last piece of this wealth puzzle for the academic in this article is earnings from employment. Earning a high income as an academic is down to a few factors: the need for your expertise, the relative difficulty to replace you, the commercial influence of your expertise on the institution’s bottom line, the ability to attract funds into the institution and, your growth on the career ranks. In a report published in 2017, Dr. David N. Silvers is reported to be the highest earning Professor in the US with a compensation package of over $4million. It is important to note that the academics who command this huge salary are exceptional in their fields. They have made a significant mark in their field to the extent that they are world-renown. They have also been responsible for significant shifts in their field. TheBestSchools.Org calls them “the rock stars of academia”. The pay differs from school to school but the medical, engineering, science and business schools pay the most compared to humanities and liberal arts. The high earnings are also dependent on the financial health of the academic institutions that these Professors find themselves because there are great Professors that aren’t earning like their contemporaries in other institutions due to low earning power.
  2. SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS. Academics can get into the speaking business because of their expertise. Businesses, Social groups, Public and Private Organizations always have a need for speakers. The fastest way to build a name and become famous is to get published. Academics that will succeed in professional speaking engagements must seek to be widely published in their areas of expertise. They must write articles, record videos, organize seminars and workshops that their potential engagers will see. Poets and Quants published that Professors from MIT, Northwestern or Harvard fix their speakers fees in the range of $100, 000 for a single speech. This is a lot higher than Professors from less popular institutions that command between $20, 000 to $40, 000 per speaking engagement. As of 2014, the highest-paid speakers from the business schools were Michael Porter, Clayton Christensen and John Kotter). Other high earners include Vijay Govindarajan ($55, 000), Douglas Conant ($45, 000), Peter Senge ($40, 000). The female business school professors are not left out with Harvard’s Rosabeth Moss Kanter getting paid in the region of $40, 000 same as Professor Rita McGrath. These high fees are not just anyone in academia but for those that have established a global following in a specific area of knowledge.
  3. OTHER SOURCES OF INCOME. There are other pathways to additional income for the academics which may not necessarily be as financially rewarding as the aforementioned classifications. They include getting international academic positions in addition to current local or national employment, or better still be named as an adjunct professor; getting into administration where you can earn additionally as responsibility allowances; win awards and grants; freelance tutoring; teaching online courses; blogging as well as own and market your website.

While higher education institutions are known for teaching, research and community activities, it is essential that they begin to explore the fourth dimension as Enterprise. However, it is important for them to maintain a fair balance between all four elements. Academics should not be enterprising to the point of being removed from their prime tasks of teaching and research. Becoming a wealthy academic requires consistency of effort and constancy of purpose. The prospective wealthy academic must have a long-term perspective on his aspirations of wealth. In this digital world, an academic prospecting for wealth must be tech savvy.

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