Your One Stop Grad School Resource

Comments

  1. awesome insights 🙂

  2. Ryan, you are just too good for your own good. But this is excellent advice- in essence, be a scientist about life overall, don’t just play one in the lab. Become personable and approachable. Enjoy other people’s company. Say “yes” to something new, even if you’re not sure how it can become an opportunity for you.

  3. Thanks Domenico and Halina!

    Those who enter a PhD program unaware of the job market (which seemingly may be the majority) must learn to become flexible and keep an open-mind. Being open to alternative careers will come from learning about the opportunities that are out there and the value that follows. I went into a PhD program and had no clue what I wanted to do. All I knew was that I liked research, but NO one told me about all the options I had available outside of academia. Informational interviews changed that and saved my PhD. “Since you don’t know what you don’t know,” that is exactly why informational interviews close the gaps for you and will change your mindset as to how you see things in terms of the big picture.

    A lot of PhDs need to put the ‘entitlements’ attitude aside because the degree doesn’t guarantee you the job. You may think you are qualified, but in reality you lack real-world experience to crossover. Therefore, becoming fixated on a position (based on how you view yourself, job location, etc.) is irrational because it doesn’t always mean you are qualified:

    Words from Dave Jensen: “When I ask an experienced industry person in marketing, tech transfer, regulatory affairs, or operations management how they made their transition from academia, more than three-quarters will tell me about their stint at the bench. Most industry employees with advanced science degrees spend their first few years in industry doing what they did in academia: cranking out science. That’s because companies typically hire you to do what you’re doing right now, or something very close. They don’t hire you because you have the words “business development” written into your objective statement. What reason would they have for thinking you’d be good at that? These senior staffers go on to tell me that their grand career plan kicked in later, when they were offered a position in a new area of the company, away from the bench.”

    If you are looking to make a crossover (to industry for example) you will have to demonstrate marketable skills. This is why I encourage doing internships during your time in graduate school or even during a post-doc. Others may develop a unique skill set on their own outside of their laboratory work and find their niche. However, today’s hiring manager’s are doing ‘pinpoint’ hiring. What this translates to is an employer’s market, and they know it. For this reason, the need to network and create opportunities is even greater since you may be competing against those who already have the real-world experience PLUS the same education as you:

    Read this: http://sciencecareers.sciencemag.org/career_magazine/previous_issues/articles/2011_03_18/caredit.a1100024
    and this: http://sciencecareers.sciencemag.org/career_magazine/previous_issues/articles/2012_02_17/caredit.a1200019

    If you read my previous post (Part 1 Networking: http://thegradstudentway.com/blog/?p=548 ), the problem is the grad students get ‘tunnel vision’ where all they focus on is finishing their degree and nothing else. Therefore, many don’t devote time to anything else outside of their own lab work such as networking. How then, can you create opportunities for yourself outside of academia if you don’t try? This is irregardless of what you do or don’t know initially. If you don’t know something- you step out of your comfort zone and seek out the answers. We already know that graduate schools need to improve career and professional development and tailor more to alternative PhD careers. But instead of “waiting” for or expecting that information to “come to you,” my philosophy is to obtain it yourself and seek out opportunities on your own. Like I said, it wasn’t until I did informational interviews that I saw the value in a PhD and how I can effectively utilize my education and acquired/learned skill set in various careers away from the lab bench… Try it and you will not be disappointed..

  4. Thank you Sir. This article (AND Blog) is an incredible resource. Thanks 🙂

    I would ask you – if possible – what are the best programs for qualitative research analisys.

    I already have my research proposal and would be important for my application. As far as I know one of the most valuable PhD programs in Qualitative Research are : Madison Wisconsin BS and Lincoln Nebraska BS.

    Any suggestion, in your opinion ??

    Best Regards,

    Domenico

  5. After all, thanks for your blog and the effort to keep.

    Best Regards,

    Domenico.

  6. Hey Domenico,
    I’m not really sure and don’t know off the top of my head, but I would check out (for rankings):
    1) http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools
    and
    2) http://www.gradschools.com/

  7. Hi Ryan,

    Thanks 🙂 I appreciate, anyhow

  8. Hello, Ryan,

    I just came across this blog posting from a Google search. This is an excellent resource and I definitely look forward to reading other postings you’ve written.

    Thank you for this service that you are providing. This’ll be a huge benefit for me as I enter the second half of my time in graduate school and more extensively begin looking for entry points into the job market.

    Regards,

    Brenden

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