Life after PhD
My life after obtaining a Ph.D. has been one that’s filled with change and opportunities. Since I graduated from the Neuroscience Program at the University of Michigan last summer, I have launched campus organizations, led my own entrepreneurial team in exciting projects, became a postdoctoral fellow, and had a number of interview experiences in vastly different career fields.
Just this week, I am very happy to say that I’ve been offered my dream job as the Head of Marketing for an exciting startup company. Throughout my journey to success, I have faced just as many, if not more setbacks and disappointments – each of which taught me important lessons.
I come from a family of scientists that goes back generations – academia has been an integral part of my life. In the 26 years of my existence, I’ve spent the past 10 with a job in research labs. One of my clear goals in life is to obtain a Ph.D.; but perhaps because I’ve been raised in academia, and lived vicariously through my family in experiencing the whole process from graduate student to tenure professor, I was uncertain as to whether I wanted to spend my entire life inside scholarly towers. At the end of my 3rd year as a graduate student, I had the opportunity to attend an entrepreneurial business symposium. Many of the speakers came from science backgrounds and are now the CEOs of their own companies. What impacted me the most was that they all looked SO happy and were truly enjoying their lives and careers. This prompted me to really find out what opportunities are out there for people with an advanced degree in life sciences.
For the next year, I conducted informational interviews, actively organized and hosted career panels and events on campus, and attended many of the Bio Careers job fairs and webinars to learn all I could about career paths open to biologists. In the same year, I also launched and led an entrepreneurial project team, through which I realized that I really enjoy and am quite competent in business strategy and marketing. After identifying a number of graduate students who were interested in a career in consulting, my case practice partner and I co-founded the Michigan Graduate Consulting Club, got in touch with the top management consulting firms and local consultants, and arranged for seminars and targeted recruiting events on campus. What I learned most from the past year is that there is a potential for unlimited opportunities that you can make for yourself.
In the future, I hope to share my insights and experiences in:
– Finding the career that’s right for you.
– Creating your own job experience opportunities.
– Interviewing at the top management consulting firms.
– Advice on landing your dream job.
– Some insights on careers in patent law, science writing, teaching, or industry.
– Anything else you want to ask that I might know something about.
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