One podcast that will give you hope and career advice (PhD required!)

What do an engineering manager of a high-tech company, a data scientist, and a digital evangelist share in common? About four years ago all three of them were freshly-baked PhDs making first steps from the familiar world of academia to the new and exciting world of industry and entrepreneurship. Luckily for them, they had a guide — a career coach and former assistant professor in Molecular Biology Dr. Tina Persson — who helped them along this journey with emotional support and pragmatic advice.  

Unfortunately, not all of us PhDs have a luxury of a career coach at all, in particular, a career coach who understands the mindset of people with doctoral degrees, the peculiarities of the academic system, and the hurdles of the transition to other fields. That is why Tina, together with three of her coachées at the time Michele Manzo, Paulius Mikulskis, and Maria Sjögren started a podcast that could be such a guide and “virtual coach” for PhDs around the world.

“We wanted to show others, who are in similar circumstances, that while their research topic and journeys are unique, the feelings and challenges they face are similar across everyone doing a PhD,” says Tina.

Two weeks ago we published the 100th episode of the PhD Career Stories. Since 2016 our team has been constantly growing, many wonderful people with and without PhD degree have been the driving force behind the project during these years. PhD Career Stories gave a platform to 76 speakers from over 20 countries to share their personal journeys and experiences. Through the four years, our episodes were downloaded almost 55.000 times! Fantastic result for a volunteer non-commercial project targeting such a narrow audience as PhD graduates.

Following the original idea, we planned to develop the PhD Career Stories into a rich source of comprehensive career information for PhDs. It should not only serve as a list of available career options, but also offer valuable tips on skills assessment,  job search, job interviews, networking, or how to “simply” stay sane. Besides, we wanted it to become a community:  each and every one of our speakers and team members is always open to answer questions or give career advice. 

But we have realized that the original “blog format” of our podcast website doesn’t serve the purpose of nourishing a community, and all the unique insights became buried and hard to find for our audience. So we need a renovation!

We decided to take a break from our regular publishing and redirect our resources into the re-organization of our website so that the available content is easier to access to our followers and newcomers. We are very excited to start this new stage of our project and cannot wait to get back to you next year with the comprehensive and neatly organized library of career information for PhDs. 

The stories will not end. We believe that storytelling – and storylistening – is a powerful way to connect with others and to find one’s own path in career and life. All the already published episodes will remain accessible, and we hope that after the break PhD Career Stories will continue bringing new episodes and encourage PhDs around the globe to make a step towards their dream job.

We would also like to thank all our contributors for their time and dedication, recording stories in busy city apartments and tents in the middle of the wild in Africa.

And, of course, thank you to all of the team members, past and present, without whom this project would not have been possible: Tina Persson, Michele Manzo, Paulius Mikulskis, Johanna Havemann, Alice Corani, Natalia Stolyarchuk, Suzan Mansourian, Rui Cruz, Subu Surendran Rajasekaran, Tiago Braga, Viralkumar Panchal, Amal El Nahhas, Marie Cleo Mahouva Massela, Anna Westerlund, Olesia Snezhkova, Karin Martinsson, Nika Seblova, Maria Sjögren.

Thank you for reading and see you in our next adventure!

#084: Sonia Jaeger Story

Sonia Jaeger is German-French psychologist, psychotherapist, and PhD.

She has been living a location independent life as a digital nomad for the past four years while working as an online therapist, providing online counselling to expats and other globally mobile clients in German, French, and English.

After finishing her PhD she decided to take a break and travel the world. However, instead of returning home afterwards she decided to start an online private counseling practice and has been traveling the world ever since.

In 2018 alone she went to (and worked from) 12 different countries, from Australia to Europe all the way to Latin America. Currently, she has not only started to mentor other psychotherapists who want to work online but also facilitates workshops that broach the issues of mental health while living globally.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/drsoniajaeger/
Website: https://www.sonia-jaeger.com

Continue reading “#084: Sonia Jaeger Story”

#083: Matt Hotze Story

Matt Hotze graduated with a doctorate in Environmental Engineering from Duke University in 2008 and he is currently Administrative Director at Nanotechnology Enabled Water Treatment Engineering Research Center.

From his story, you will learn how almost failing the GRE exam brought him to the managing position he has now and how to apply business principles in academia and life. 

Matt also shares his experience with the dual-career challenge that many PhD couples face after their graduation and offers good advice on how to find a job and keep a relationship at the same time. 

By understanding people and how you interact with them you can improve your results, your research results.

Matt Hotze, PhD in Environmental Engineering

Continue reading “#083: Matt Hotze Story”

#079: Presenting the team: Nika and Alice Stories

In this episode two member of PhD Career Stories team, Alice and Nika, talk about their experience during PhD, earned skills and their career after PhD. They also talk about how they joined PhD Career Stories podcast. 

Alice is currently working in the healthcare organization in Sweden and She believes her PhD skills like “science communication” helped her to get to her job. 

Alice also shares what she has learned during coaching seasons by Tina Persson:

“It helped me not to be stuck at some point and think a bit forward to see that one experience doesn’t build all your personality…”. 

Nika is going to start her new career path as postdoc at Columbia University in New York City. She believes one of the major skills that she learned during her PhD is scheduling meetings from all over the world with a time difference.

In this episode you can also listen to Alice and Nika ‘s tips regarding job interview as both have gone through many job interviews before getting their dream jobs.

Continue reading “#079: Presenting the team: Nika and Alice Stories”

#078: Michalina Lewicka-Yammine Story

Podcast: Play in new window

Michalina Lewicka-Yammine‘s passion for Neuroscience evolved during her master degree at the Jagiellonian University and her exchange studies at Uppsala University which led her to a PhD degree at Karolinska Institute in Developmental Neuroscience. 

After graduation, her passion for marketing got her engaged with three startups and establishing her own consultancy firm. At Karolinska Institute she worked as a course leader and later as a project manager at the Alumni Office. 

Throughout that journey Michalina gained many new experiences as well as gave birth to two children, and found her way to balance between being a mother and delivering and performing at work. 

Nowadays, Michalina is raising two kids, running a freelance consultancy and has a full-time job as a product manager at Spiber Biomaterial – all powered by the stamina and resilience gained from motherhood.

Connect with Michalina on LinkedIn and Twitter


I’m still having my own company and doing some small projects. On the side I’m working fifty percent for a biotech company and fifty percent on maternity leave. As I said, don’t give up! Try it! And see if it’s for you and if you don’t like it, try something else and try from a different angle – try to find your balance and what suits you the most.

Dr. Michalina Lewicka-Yammine, mother, freelancer and product manager at Spiber Biomaterial.

Continue reading “#078: Michalina Lewicka-Yammine Story”