Candidate -

Leaving Academia for the Corporate Arena

Whilst pursuing my passion and deep interest in genetics as a graduate student I found after a few years, that the learning curve had flattened. I could not imagine my life being devoted to a single fraction of one scientific problem, when there is so much else that is interesting, so I began to explore my options.

I had experience working as a student editor for a Biology and Medical journal at university and considered a scientific editorial career, along with patent law, investment banking and filmmaking. However I felt that none of these potential career paths would fulfil me. It was upon discussion with a friend and her suggestion of a career in consulting, that I more precisely assessed my skills and interests and found that they were a close match to management consulting: intellectually challenging problem solving, a new project every few months, teamwork with people of a high calibre. Based on this revelation I applied and was successful in gaining a position as a management consultant, allowing me to gain invaluable experience about many aspects of business.

What I had not anticipated was that I still had an overriding interest in genomics. My desire to get out of the lab had confounded my level of interest in the field. It had been the execution of academic science that had dulled my senses, not the subject matter.

With this knowledge I began to search for a position that would employ both my scientific expertise and the business skills and experience I had gained. I searched for, and found a small, early-stage genomics company that had a reasonable bid to shape the industry. Within them I transformed my path from Ph.D. graduate into one of scientific business development in just over three years.

I am now a senior manager of business development, involved in strategy development (which products to make and offer) and partnerships (what alliances to form including academic research collaborations).

The one thing I would highlight to any Ph.D. student looking to branch into the scientific business world is the importance of developing good communications skills. The importance of communications skills is often overlooked by science graduate students as irrelevant to their work in the laboratory. But without them I and countless others could not have made the move from research to business development and would not be currently enjoying the success and fulfilment my career has brought me. Take every opportunity to practice and improve these skills; all experience is good experience.

Kate - Business Development Manager

If you are interested in looking for a new position outside of academia within the Scienctific or the Medical / Healthcare sectors in Sales and Marketing, Business Development or Key Account Management, take a look at our Job Search for details about positions we currently have available.

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