interested college student: What do you love about your job?

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interested college student: What do you love about your job?

Postby Kathryn J. » Mon Feb 16, 2015 6:12 pm

While attending community college i am finding it difficult to pursue the degree i thought i was interested in: biotechnology. I decided on this because i have always loved science but was looking for something more specific than just siding chemistry or biology. Nobody else seems to see the value of a biotech degree though and the schools in my area end up canceling my classes a week before they start. At this point, without much of a direction i am finding it difficult to enjoy school. Being in this situation I find myself with a few questions for industry proffesionals.

What division of science do you work in?
what was the first degree you achieved?
what was the first job you had in a science feild?
how did you get from where you started to where you are?
What do you like about working in a science feild, generally, and in your field, specifically?
Do you have any suggestions for someone just starting out?

Thank you very much for any input you can give!
Kathryn J.
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Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2015 5:42 pm

Re: interested college student: What do you love about your job?

Postby L. B. Gage » Wed Feb 18, 2015 12:31 pm

Biotechnology has become so specialized and it is rare to find a college or university that offers a bachelor's degree in biotechnology per se. The expectation is that students will obtain an initial degree in a related field, such as chemistry or biology, and then go on to a master's or a PhD program that specializes in a biotechnology area of your choice. Your educational pathway will heavily depend on where you would like to end up in your career. Would you like to be a pure technical R&d scientist or would you like to be a biotech manager? Also your career ambition will dictate the level of training you need to acquire. For example, a degree from a community college maybe a good pathway towards becoming a lab tech or an associate somewhere but maybe not enough for a higher level position that commands more control, authority and independence. I love my job because it is an extension of who I am and it enables me to do what comes naturally to me: satisfying my scientific curiosity, problem solving, helping people and having the opportunity to learn non-stop. It took me four years in BS, five years in PhD and three years in postdoc to secure my current title : a senior scientist in a large chemical company.Just obtained my MBA last year and I am still learning...
L. B. Gage
Posts: 12
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2015 5:22 pm

Re: interested college student: What do you love about your job?

Postby P.C. » Wed Feb 18, 2015 3:37 pm

Want to make it interesting? Find a cooperative program... that means some semesters actually working at a job site. This model in my opinion should be a majority of the situation... just saying.
"I have never let my schooling interfere with my education" - Mark Twain
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Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:28 pm

Re: interested college student: What do you love about your job?

Postby D.X. » Thu Feb 19, 2015 5:47 am

I endorse Kathryn and PCs views.

Its not so important to be highly specialized at the undergraduate Level; to Kathryns Point biotechnology is a broad-based Topic. Most specialization happens after undergradate. Also you need to define what it is exactly you want to do in biotechnology and where you want to channel youself to as Kathryn alluded to.

Unfortunately (or fortunately), you can't get those answers now, in Terms of absolute direction. You will find that you get exposed to the field you interests will be come more focused - they might even Change direction. That being said, the key activities you should be focused now can include being very open minded to paths, talk to many, do your Research, try to get understand the path you want from a daily-work perspective, try to assess the paths you can explore.

Of course, all of this does not happen tomorrow. As PC alluded to, look for programs, irrespective of if its biology or chemistry or what ever, that offer opportunites for experiences. When I was an undergrad, i had experiences both in academic and industry Level Research (i.e. Fellowships or internships), even had a foreign research experience. In other words, simple said, try to take Advantage of any offerings you Program/University can offer. Also be attentive that the experiences you may get at the undergrad Level, may have not relvance to your future path (looking back you can make that assessment), but ist important to get thoses experiences - as an example I was a Paid Anlytical Chemistry Intern at a very Famous Cosmetic Company, which I got through the University Chemistry Department. No, I was not Chem Major, just a a mediocre performing student in one of their courses. I do nothing related, but not to say th experience wasn't valuable.

As for my Job, I do Pharmaceutical Marketing in a Global-Level Management role (HQ), I love the empowerment of my role, i am part of a key decision making body via my product (a priority product) and am now really getting into the deep Business operations part of taking a medicine to the bedside. Also at my Level , enjoying the Global view (and have been now for many year) it has been interesting to work with all the different Country organizations, understanding where differences and similarities are in thier markets. Nearly all of my Marketing team-mates have Ph.Ds in some form of Biochemistry field to include our department head. We all had different paths but share in common that we were attentive to opportuniites and individual career development. Most of us didn't plan early to be in these roles (i.e. see the Ph.D. factor) but we stayed open minded and followed our interests with some risk taking too.

Good luck.
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