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Selling yourself as an academic

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Selling yourself as an academic

Postby Mac F. » Mon Feb 02, 2015 4:29 pm

Should academics provide industrial experience for postgrads?

Looking at what postgrads do from a distanced view they are not too much different to marketers, sales people or project managers (all of which I imagine are the main areas that many life science postgrads find themselves in after they graduate). For instance, scientific research requires the most detailed competitor analysis before any product (a scientific paper in this case) is launched, whereby in order to publish a paper all knowledge of what the market currently thinks or reputes is required to present their idea as a product. Furthermore, scientists need to keep up to date on what the market says, produces and even more, what tools they require to generate the market.

Secondly sales people. Again unknowingly, scientists are salesmen. They get up in front of a conference, discuss their findings to a packed auditorium to sale their ideas, convince their peers and possibly journal editorial board sitting in the front row that their research is the best in the market and should be consumed by all academics. Again, this comes into play when scientists create their CVs. I have read a handful of scientific CVs which are looking for industry jobs that discuss more about some tiny molecule they worked on for 5 years and not what made themselves great and what working on these molecules allowed them to achieve.
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Re: Selling yourself as an academic

Postby PG » Wed Feb 04, 2015 11:45 am

this is similar to one of the main points I made when I gave a career presentation a couple of years ago. I think that many times it would be sufficient to make PhD students and others in academia aware of the fact that they are indeed as you say selling something. In Industry this is accepted but many people working in academia at different levels still thinks that since they have good data, good publications or whatever it is the peer review process should guarentee that it get the appropriate attention. The entire idea of selling something is often not considered appropriate.
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Re: Selling yourself as an academic

Postby Dave Walker » Wed Feb 04, 2015 3:14 pm

Mac F. wrote:Should academics provide industrial experience for postgrads?


No, I don't think so.

If anything should be provided, I think it should be a clearer role between student, postdoc and PI. I think graduate students should be better trained in the realities of the job market, as they are supposed to be "training." I think as a postdgrad (I assume mean postdoc and beyond?), a PI should mirror the industrial relationship of Group Lead/Director and Scientist, i.e., more traditionally "boss" and "employee."

And I think that this includes using their network for well-performing postdocs that are moving on. I think academics should disabuse themselves of the notion that networking recommendations are beneath them.

Starting to sound more like a wish list :)
"The single factor that differentiates Nobel laureates from other scientists is training with another Nobel laureate." -- Sol Snyder
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Re: Selling yourself as an academic

Postby Mac F. » Fri Feb 13, 2015 4:26 am

@Dave, definitely a clear distinction should be made and more responsibility be given at each stage as you mentioned. Further to your point post-grads should be in more control of their network, especially for collaboration and not always in the hand of the PIs. The original point of the post was to say that scientists need to figure out their elevator pitch in order to transition out of academia or possibly be more successful in it.
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