The job search period that comes after the PhD hardly can be called “fun”, “exciting” and definitely not the one “to enjoy”. It is the time when you question your achievements, re-assess your skills and talents, restlessly scout job-boards hoping to find a “fit” to your unique set of skills, attend exhausting interviews, and, inevitably, face numerous rejections before you get that one job.
In our new podcast, Elvira Ganic argues that shifting your perspective can make this process bearable and even joyful. Elvira received her PhD from the Stem Cell Center of the Lund University. After her defense, through the career coaching sessions with Tina Persson and the long job searching process with 27 interviews, she landed on the position of the Regulatory Affairs specialist at a pharmaceutical and medical device company in Malmö in Sweden.
In this uplifting episode, she tells what she learned on that way – how coaching changed the way she sees herself and her skills, what the transferable skills actually are, how to stay open-minded when looking for a position and why the transition period is an important life phase that you should fully enjoy and learn from it.
[…] They’re not just choosing me; I’m choosing them. This is going to be a healthy, fruitful relationship and I’m really here to see if we are compatible for each other.
Her research interests turn towards the future as she studies youth in Ghana and beyond, student migration, labor migration, knowledge societies, social media in the classroom, social media in elections, the intersection of internet freedoms and democratization, uses of augmented reality and decolonizing the academy. Outside of her academic career, Kajsa is a blogger and activist.
[Thanks to the PhD] I have confirmed my analytical nature, other useful outcomes are speed reading, efficiency, self-discipline and producing “good enough” work. As well as not worrying too much about the critique that, as you learn, is looming around every corner. The scare really wears off.
In September 2018 Tina Persson attended the annual Max Planck alumni meeting in Berlin and had a chance to speak with the professor for Applied Mathematics and Physics Dr. Magda Schiegl.
Magda Schiegl made her PhD in Theoretical Plasma Physics at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics in 1996 and then had a long career in the financial and energy industry. In 2009 she decided to come back to science and teaching, but this time, instead of theoretical plasma physics research, she chose the practical field of Risk Management and Applied Mathematics. She got a professorship position at the University of Applied Science in Cologne and later moved to Landschut, Germany.
In this interview, Magda reflects upon how her experience as a PhD influenced her career and shares a tip on how to combine interests for the industry and practical problems with the passion for scientific research and education.
For one who wants to be a researcher, or first before becoming a director or a manager, being organized can save time, can make your work perfect and it can make you avoid mistakes as much as possible.
Fulvio Caruso received his Ph.D. in Electronic Engineering in Palermo, Italy with a focus on hybrid inorganic-organic materials for photonics and optoelectronics applications. He joined industry in 2016 when he moved to Lausanne, Switzerland to start working at Novagan, an EPFL start-up company specialised in the nitride technology. In March 2018, Fulvio joined ABB Semiconductors in Lenzburg, Switzerland where he is currently working as a Process Engineer in the metal/PECVD production area for high-power semiconductor devices.
When the PhD refuses to be a pure executor and starts looking both on the detail and the big picture, those are the elements that the industry really would need. And these are the skills that PhDs have acquired during their time at university.
– Dr. Fulvio Caruso, Process Engineer at ABB Semiconductors
Our guest today is a living example to never give up. His patience and determination got him through the tough period of fruitless job-search to the bold endeavour of starting his own business.
Girish Kedar was born and brought up in Mumbai, India. For his higher studies he moved to Sweden in 2009 and since then he studied and worked in different European countries like Sweden, Germany, and The Netherlands. He holds pharmacist degree from India and PhD in Neuroscience from Vrije University, Amsterdam. After a big struggle in finding the right job in the pharma industry, Girish came up with a plan B – he started his own business and founded The GLOVERK Consultancy, which is based in Amsterdam and provides services to the pharmaceutical and medical device industry in Europe and India. Girish is also a student ambassador in Vrije University and an independent Career Coach for PhD and Post-Doctorate candidates.
In this episode, Girish contemplates about mistakes he made that complicated his job search and shares advice on how to avoid them. He also describes how the personal strengths he developed during his PhD helped him in the hard task of starting his own business.
Throughout PhD career, everyone thinks only about two options: either academia or industry. But I believe, PhD is way beyond that – PhD prepares you for an even harder and better journey, where you can build up your own empire
– Dr. Girish Kedar, PhD in Neuroscience, Entrepreneur, Career Coach
The career path of the guest of our today’s episode is anything but conventional. Dr. Andrew Quitmeyer studied Engineering and Film Making during his master’s degree. The trip to Galapagos deviated his direction and led him to pursue a tailor-made PhD degree at the intersection between Digital Media and Field Biology.
Today Dr. Quitmeyer describes himself as a hacker and adventurer, studying intersections between wild animals and computational devices. His academic research in “Digital Naturalism” at the National University of Singapore blends biological fieldwork and DIY digital crafting.
He runs “Hiking Hacks” around the world where participants build technology entirely in the wild for interacting with nature. His research also inspired a spin-off television series for Discovery Networks called “Hacking the Wild”.
I worked on a little manifesto of what exactly my PhD would be like and tried to set as many boundaries and anticipate as many pitfalls or things that I didn’t want to do in my PhD before I set out to actually doing this.
– Dr. Andrew Quitmeyer, Assistant Professor National University of Singapore