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Need help on career decision

PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2005 10:28 am
by Bill
Hello All:
I am an international student in USA pursuing PhD in chemical engineering (research-membrane separations). I will be graduating in another 6-9 months with a PhD from a Tier-4 school. Now, at the end of the program I realized that my research so far may not turn into many publications as it should have been, but might turn into one publication from a decent journal.
With this scenario, I am looking forward to hearing from you all about your opinion/suggestions regarding career prospects and what would be the best for me to do?
Will it be a big challenge to get any position in an industry?
I would highly appreciate any comments since I don?t have any other way to interact and seek advice from those who are experienced.

Need help on career decision

PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2005 3:45 pm
by Dave Jensen
Hello Bill,

I see a lot of PhD ChemE's with few publications. I don't think that the hiring managers looking for ChemE's generally concentrate as much on the publication list as they do the relevant experience. It's not like getting hired in the life sciences, where so much of your "hireabiity" has to do with your publication list.

You should try and network with other people in bioseparations who are from your native country. The whole field of downstream processing is a good one for ChemE's, and there are many, many PhD ChemE's in that area, IF you have exposure to protein separation/purification. It may be a different matter entirely if your resume is more geared to the chemical industry or the environmental area. However, the advice to find people of a similar background and ask them how they made the transition to industry is still valid.

Dave Jensen, Moderator

Need help on career decision

PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2005 6:11 pm
by Kevin Rogers

Can I ask you to expand a little on the point about hireability being dependent on your publications ?

Are industry people looking for good quality journals ? A lot of papers ? Papers on a particular molecule ?

Thanks, Nick

Need help on career decision

PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2005 6:46 pm
by Dave Jensen
Hi Nick,

My comment was to a PhD ChemE who is worried about publications. The point is that he doesn't have the same pressures as a person in the life sciences.

To many industry hiring managers, they seek to find people who are productive. The only way you can determine productivity while reviewing a postdoc is the publications list, correct? They also refer to the critical thinking skills that are developed when a person has done work that is published and peer-reviewed.

There is no set rule about "how many" publications are seen as a good thing by industry. And, with as many different kinds of people as there are, not every manager even cares about this. Definitely a generalization.