The Italian web portal for education, work and research published an interview with Tina and Michele.
Read the article in Italian at abbanews.eu/educazione-lavori-e-ricerca/phd-careers-stories-ricercatori-dallaccademia-allindustria/ or the English version here below.
Interview by Amanda Coccetti.
Researchers from the academic world enrich and nurture the professional world with their theoretical and practical culture. A podcast, a platform for sharing and disseminating the value of higher education and how it is substantial in the industrial world.
Abbanews is pleased to announce the collaboration with the podcast PhD Career Stories, we learn from the protagonists Michele Manzo and Tina Persson, an example of how an intercultural community can only benefit individual and collective development.
A network narration of stories of men and women who decide to “transit” from university to business and industry; the path is not always linear because we do not have the right tools; In addition to representing a personal storytelling, PhD Career Stories provides online advice on how to deal with the “passage” effectively.
A double interview for a common project.
Can you tell me how you met and decided to set up the PhD Career Stories podcast?
Tina: After my return from the Max-Planck Institute in Göttingen, Germany, where I was worked as a Postdoc, I started my research career at Lund University. After 5 years as Assistant Professor I decided to leave academia for a career in the industry. I thought it would be easy to get a job and that I would have an attractive profile. It turned out to be a bit harder than I thought. Not because my profile was not attractive, but because I did not know how to sell my competence to industry employers. In my first job as recruiter, I quickly learned that I was not alone with that feeling I once had, it was shared by most PhDs who intended to leave academia. Ten years later, and now working as Career Coach I wanted to develop a tool or instrument in which PhDs could get inspired by other PHDs’ career stories. A Podcast seemed to be a good start. I met Michele Manzo and asked him if he would be interested in such a podcast, and he was. That was the start☺ The team started with me and Michele but grow quickly to include Maria, Paulius and Jo. Today, we are a team of 10 people. Recently, we celebrated our 2 years anniversary with#54 episodes and counting
Which of the stories impressed you most? Can you explain why? Or do all of them have their interesting elements?
Tina: I would not say impressed as it very much depends on what you at the moment are interested in and what personality you have. The aim is that there should be a podcast for everybody. The podcast is divided into three different formats: story, Tips & Tricks, and interview. We have attracted PhDs leaving academia for a career in the industry but also PhDs who decided to stay in academia. We also have episodes that give tips and advice on with CV writing, how to work and collaborate with recruiters and other information relevant to PhD students and early-career Researchers.
Which stories you heard most impressed you? Can you explain why? Or do all of them have their interesting elements?
Michele: Our podcast has so far collected stories from very many different backgrounds (physics, chemistry, biology, literature, music, arts, etc). I find fascinating how many, if not all, of them, share the same topic: the struggle. You can be surprised to hear and read how professionals with many years of experience in a highly-specialized field have to face challenges they were not prepared to. There are things that education and research do not prepare you to overcome, and in my opinion, and experience, is how to change your mindset to fully embrace personal development.
One of the episodes which has mostly impressed me is episode #5 from Kyriaki Liadaki. She is a successful scientist. She has reached the peak of her academic development. She has a background that many would be jealous to have and for the society she is definitely a winner. However, she feels inside herself something is missing. The routine she is used to and the perspectives ahead of her raise a very deep question:”What am I doing?” and the simple answer from a colleague of her is: “Science!” That simple question changed her life radically, and she realize that doing science, the way she was used to, was not her life call.
It impresses me the strength and the lucidity she had to take a rational choice and radically change her life for a simple purpose: be happy for herself!
And I guess this summarize the mission of our podcast: raise awareness and give confidence to those who are approaching a change in their professional career.
In which way are your partners cooperating with you?
Our present partners TCC Africa, Carrieras Cientificas Alternativas and the Max Planck Alumni Association (MPAA) have PhD Career Stories embedded on their respective websites. By listing PhD Career Stories on other academic platforms, more PhD students can benefit from the stories we share. We also hope that more people feel inspired to reach out to us and share their own story with our listeners.
We also display information about our partners’ activities, news and events. Each partnership is meant to be of mutual benefit and aimed at providing information in line with the interests of our respective communities.
What would you tell young people who are willing to work on a PhD but are reluctant to do so because they do not see job opportunities with a PhD?
Tina: Firstly, PhDs get jobs! A PhD will give you a possibility for a global career in which you can apply for jobs in many countries. Myself I stayed in Germany for over 5 years. Something I don’t regret today. There were times in my career development I regretted my PHD but today I can see that I have got more possibilities through my PhD than what I could have gotten with no PHD title.
My tip is: Take your PhD and keep the mind-set of a Master student. And the future for the next generation is to speak 3-4 languages and to adopt a growth mindset; i.e. that you learn from your mistakes thus not being afraid of them. In addition, society is moving into the 4th technical revolution, The Digitalisation making the world smaller. In that world a PhD could be good to have.
Michele: I have heard this myself when I was still living in Italy. The myth that going all the way through a PhD would make you overqualified and not attractive for the job market. The question is: do you want to fill a box in the job market or do you want to be yourself and, most importantly, free? I think getting a PhD opens up so many different opportunities that is unthinkable to fit into a box. A PhD gives you the opportunity to be whoever you want to be. Clearly it is not a magic wand, or a guarantee you will get job immediately, but it is a great tool to reach your full potential.
My tip is: take a PhD with the mind-set that it is not the end of a race, but rather the beginning of a life in which you embrace learning! Focus on what makes you curious and look for the answers to YOUR questions. Master languages and communication skills and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. After all, mistakes are just learning opportunities. Good luck!
About the authors
Dr Tina Persson is a Global Career Coach, Trainer and Branding Specialist with focus on developing a sustainable Career and Life. Founder of the PodCast, PhD Career Stories, a podcast made to inspire PhDs globally in their Career transitioning (phdcareerstories.com). She is also CEO and owner of her own company, Passage2Pro. She delivers workshops, seminars, is an invited speaker, supporting academics, PhD, Postdocs, Assistant and Full Professors, in their change management. She is also inventor and owner of Aptahem AB – a start-up company in the biotechnology field.
Dr Michele Manzo is originally from Trapani, in Sicily. He moved to Sweden in 2009 to pursue a PhD in Physics (Nonlinear Optics and Nanophysics) at KTH – The Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, in 2015. After his PhD, he went through his career transformation which allowed him to land to a position as Sr. Electronic Design Engineer in 2016. At the same time, together with Tina Persson and Maria Sjögren he has started the PhD Career Stories podcast project, in which he is engaged supporting the team as Project Manager and Producer.
In 2017 he has gone through yet another career transition landing to a position as Project Manager in R&D in Stockholm.
He is always on the look for former PhDs who have left academia and want to share their story to support and inspire others.
In his spare time he likes to keep himself active with running, climbing as well as learning languages and playing piano.
Feel free to reach out to him on LinkedIn or via email at manzo[at]kth.se.