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all about post doc

PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:42 am
by keith
Hi guys,
glad to see good old dave jensen on this forum when one thought he had left bio business for good.
Now to my question for a 1st year undergraduate I am a little confused about the post doc that people keep mentioning and have a few questions in that regard.
1)I would want to go for a phd in the future as it is always better option in the sciences field but unsure on whether to take the post doc after a phd.Does a post doc after phd constitute a job or not?Cant one work in the industry after a phd without a postdoc?
2)what is the difference between an academic postdoc and industry postdoc?does an industry post doc constitute a fulltime job in an industry?
3)Where would an MBA fit in if I Decided to do it after 2-3 years in the industry following a doctorate without a postdoc?
THANKS in advance to all

all about post doc

PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 11:22 am
by Ken
As far as postdocs go, if you want to use your PhD to the fullest, you pretty much have to do a postdoc. I tried very hard to avoid it, but I ended up deciding on doing a postdoc (in industry, more on that later).

Is it a job? Sort of. It's still considered a training position, but you are paid (not terribly well, but more than a PhD student). It's certainly "full time"!

You can work in industry without a postdoc, but you will tend to be a "research associate" or similar position. You would initially make a bit more money than a postdoc, but in the long run, you are better off spending those years as a postdoc rather than an associate. After 3 years as an industry postdoc, you are qualified to be a scientist, as opposed to three years as an associate, after which you are generally a "senior associate".

Industry postdocs are just that. Similar positions, but at a company. Industry postdocs pay better, and tend to look better to companies for later industry positions, but there are drawbacks as well (choose an industry postdoc wisely).

all about post doc

PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 12:48 pm
by Dave Jensen
Hi Ken and Keith -

To add to Ken's excellent comments, an MBA is often very valuable when added to the PhD, but only (as you suggest) after a couple of years (or more) of experience in the working world.

Keith, because you are still young in your education, things may change, but right now we see postdocs reimbursed in the $30-$60K range (a wide variance -- better salaries in industry) and as Ken says, it really is MORE than a fulltime job. In other words, they will run you ragged for a lower salary than you expected to get after all those years of training.

[Thanks for the nice comments Keith. Tell your friends where Naledi, Bill and I have gone, would you?]

Dave Jensen, Moderator
CareerTrax Inc.

all about post doc-follow up question

PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:56 pm
by Matt
This Forum is great, it has been a huge help. I am 1 year away from finishing my PhD in biochemistry and am aiming to do a postdoc in industry. I am well aware of the significance and meaning of a postdoc position, but nevertheless I have a quick follow up question to Keith?s question:

When addressing the question of whether postdocs are full time positions both Dave and Ken essentially said full time + [for less $]. I was wondering, on average of course, what kind of time load this is... i.e. generally I get into the lab around 7:00AM and leave around 5:00-6:00pm Mon-Fri and come in at least 1 day on the weekend. Are the demands for an industrial postdoc [on average] far more demanding then this?

Any insight would be appreciated, and thanks again for running such a helpful forum.

all about post doc-follow up question

PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 2:14 pm
by Ken
I've asked similar questions before, and never really get a satisfactory answer. But, that's because there is no satisfactory answer. It will depend entirely on where you are working. But I think the hours you describe are going to be acceptable anywhere.

As an aside, it looks to me like hours are a bit more reasonable in industry. The caveat to that is that you can't spend hours a day playing computer solitaire. When you are at work, you are working. But, I think industry has a bit of a better grasp on keeping employees happy (to keep them productive) than academia does. Just my generalization, and there are obviously exceptions.

all about post doc- the MBA thing

PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 2:53 pm
by Don

As Dave mentioned, an MBA can be a real benefit to a PhD but you need to know how you want to apply it and how to use it - finance, strategy, research management, biz dev, etc. You would be very wise to work 3-5 years outside of academia before going for your MBA.

Also note, there is this terrible misconception out there that a PhD can get an MBA from any school w/or w/o industry experience and move on into a 6 figure job in industry. This notion is false. A PhD or MD with several years of experience (3-5) who then attends a top 10 MBA program (HBS, Wharton, Kellogg, Chicago, Stanford, etc.) will be a hot commodity. A PhD or MD with little or no experience and an MBA from a school outside the top 10 (even a good school from outside the top 10) will have a much harder time - MUCH harder. There are success stories from that group, but they are few and far between.


all about post doc-follow up question

PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 4:27 pm
by Dave Jensen
I agree with the others who say that your work habits would translate without a problem to just about any company. In fact, if you went to a large pharma company, you'd be working too much.


all about post doc

PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2004 12:47 pm
by Paul
Just to give you an example Keith...during a full two years of my period as a post-doc in academia I calculated that, on an hourly basis, I would have earned three dollars an hour more by working at the local donut shop...seriously!!!

Post-docs are seen as "training" positions, which is a reason so many can come from foreign countries (the J1 Visa relates to training positions). As a result, most academic positions pay the absolute minimum (usually the NIH recommended salary...currently 35000, I believe. Although, they also recommended that institutes in Boston, New York and San Fran pay an additional amount due to higher cost of living...but, since this was only a "recommendation", most division chiefs in these cities DONT pay extra). Additionally, its typically expected that you will work long hours and hard. I have, in my time, literally worked at the bench for 40 hours straight and had weeks when I put in close to 100 hours.

all about post doc

PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2004 8:08 am
by keith
Thanks to all of you for your replies.Going by your thoughts the kind of things one has to do during and prior to a post doc seems scary but all goes for the cause of science[or a fatter paycheck].I do have a clear plan now for the future.
A special thanks for Matt for a very sensible follow up,one I always wanted to know.