Networking at Conferences

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Networking at Conferences

Postby Nikos » Mon Dec 06, 2004 10:08 pm

Hello one and all. I recently returned from the American Society of Hematology meeting in San Diego and just wanted to touch on how some of the great advice on this forum was helpful in furthering my network. Besides gaining a tremendous amount of knowledge and cutting edge information on the basic science as well as clinical data on a diverse array of hematologic malignancies, there was a huge biotech/pharma compnay exposition at the convention center. Now initially this proved to be daunting being that the company representatives main goal and purpose is to market and sell their products/drugs to the medical hematologists/oncologists at the conference, rather than talk to a PhD student about steps he should take to better facilitate a transition into an industrial position. But surprisingly I was able to break the wall and spoke with numerous representatives from both big pharma as well as biotech who were happy to tell me about their past career experiences and how to better facilitate a transition into the life sciences industry. Although many were marketing and sales personnel, they mentioned that numerous scientists are hired into these positions at their respective companies if they can demonstrate that in addition to being creative, having strong analytical skills, and being hard workers (all marks of a good PhD), are also a bit business savvy and can convey that they are knowledgable about the industry.

So in the face of much of the negativity, uncertainty, and frustration that often seems to override positive experiences on this forum, I can say that being extroverted, open minded and networking extensively are really essential characteristics to have during the graduate school process and beyond. In the end a couple of company reps were kind enough to give me business cards and mentioned that they could serve as contacts when I begin my job search!

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Networking at Conferences

Postby Dave Jensen » Mon Dec 06, 2004 11:45 pm

Thanks -- great post. I love to network at trade shows. Sometimes I'd rather pick up the business cards that are on the stands, and I've even left a few candy bars and pens behind.

Sometimes scientists forget what value those sales and marketing contacts can be. They are naturally outgoing contacts, who are not afraid to share names of scientists inside their companies. Good job, Nick!

“There is no such thing as work-life balance. Everything worth fighting for unbalances your life.”- Alain de Botton
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