Business-oriented options for a scientific Ph.D.?
March 22, 2011 10:31 AM Subscribe
Finishing a Ph.D. in the sciences and want to leave the bench behind for something that’s more “big picture” (i.e. has some elements of business, strategy, or product development). Things are getting a little time-sensitive. Looking for input from people who have made a similar switch and/or work in a related area (i.e. consulting or the business end of industrial R&D).
posted by noted industrialist to Work & Money (5 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I’m graduating from a top-ranked university in May, with a Ph.D. in physical chemistry. Having decided long ago that academia is not for me, I have been focusing my job search on alternative careers which might still capitalize on my degree.
My job hunt has gone through a few phases. I thought a lot about consulting at the start, but the Fall recruiting deadlines were too close for me to get my resume in order and learn how to handle case studies. I also looked into straight-up industry R&D positions for a few months, but came out pretty dissatisfied with my options. Patent law also had some time in the spotlight, but (for reasons which could form the basis for a different post), I’m not sure it’s the way to go.
This brings us to my current situation. The grad school clock runs out in a little under two months, and I’m no longer sure I’ll have a full-on job lined up by then. Clearly, I’m having some difficulty committing to one track at this point. I’m still interested in science, although I’d be fine with a job that used my analytical skills but not my specific background. If I did go into R&D, I’d rather come at it from a more business-oriented angle. Lately, I’ve been thinking again about consulting, since it’s fairly open-ended and would give me some business know-how to boot. However, many consulting firms don’t recruit until the fall, and I’m not having a lot of luck making inquiries with the rest. This leads to my questions:
1. Are there other jobs besides consulting that would give me some business experience and provide a little breathing room while I try to work out what I’m really interested in?
2. If I were to shoot for a consulting job, it might have to wait until the fall. What are some options I could pursue this summer which might help my chances or better prepare me for the interviews?
3. Realistically, how much time would I want to set aside to learn how to handle case studies?
4. Any suggestions for short-term jobs or internships I should look into if it starts to seem like I won’t find a long-term option before graduation? There’s always the option of staying in my lab as a postdoc for a few months, but it’s definitely not my top choice…