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B.S. with IT professional classes, their worth?

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How to make money fast

Postby Andrew » Sun Jan 23, 2005 2:48 pm

I'm not sure how I can answer this. Most of our sales force as well as the sales people in most of the technical vendors I know have undergraduate degrees in science. Most of them seem pretty extroverted, at least to the extent that I can judge. Most of them are pretty average looking, not movie stars or anything. Surely you have some experience dealing with sales reps during grad school? Why don't you call some of them and ask them about their backgrounds?
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How to get into Sales

Postby Peter » Sun Jan 23, 2005 3:03 pm

Hi

This topic is of great interest to me as I\'m entering my last year of my PhD in Bioinformatics/Chemoinformatics (virtual screening/docking to those in the know).

From what I have seen in the job market and I\'ve been looking since I started my PhD is that there is definetely a move towards only employing PhD in the R&D sector. Not to say that people without official training don\'t get jobs.But lots of people off the masters at my university aren\'t getting R&D jobs. Also the pay is not as amazing as some think! Not like it used to be 10 years back.

Anyway back to the reason about me posting. I want to move into sales .... personally I need more people contact in my work and the money is also an issue I suppose.

So how would be the best way to approach this do companies take on people with absolutely no experience and train them up ?
Peter
 
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How to get into Sales

Postby Andrew » Sun Jan 23, 2005 3:40 pm

Well, everyone has to get their first job, but generally you will need some kind of sales experience in order to get a great job in sales. That may mean starting out with a crappy sales job just to get the experience. This is true for many Scientist jobs as well. The best jobs in industry are not open to people fresh from school. So get some experience selling something, in some field, and then try to trade up. Thats what makes it a career.
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How to get into Sales

Postby Kim » Sun Jan 23, 2005 4:55 pm

Not to disagree with others and Andrew. I absolutely agree with them.

However, you need to be cautious. Make sure that it is what you want and that it fits you. You should not go into sales just because you think it is easier. It is not. Once you leave science for sales, you may be leaving science forever. Science is very unforgiven and competitive. After you have spent your time in sales and decided that you do not like it, it will be very difficult for you to come back for a RD job in science again. It will be even tougher if your sales job is not related to science. It is the turning point for your career.

But again, every career move has risks. You need to decide if it is right for you.
Kim
 
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How to get into Sales

Postby Dave Jensen » Mon Jan 24, 2005 2:22 am

Hi,

I'd like to comment on this one because I've worked with successful scientific salespeople for many years. First off, I'll correct a misconception. Salespeople are NOT all extroverts who couldn't make it in the real world of science. That is a giant misconception, but a misconception that serves a purpose. It keeps the sheer numbers down. (If people knew what a good life they could have in that career choice, the doors would be trampled down at those companies by scientists seeking to move into business).

Yes, it is a risk to go into sales/marketing because you CAN NOT get back into the lab afterwards, as another poster pointed out. But I'll tell you, not many people really WANT to go in the lab again. There are two types of people, those who can tolerate years of bench research because they love science, and those who are burned out and really need to do something else. It is that second type of person who will consider a sales career.

You don't need to be an extrovert, but you DO need to know how to talk to people -- and it all starts in how you talk about yourself. If you are able to self-promote enough in order to impress a sales manager with your past experience, than you should be able to sell the company's tools to scientists. I'd say that about 70% of sales managers will only hire people with previous sales experience, and the other 30% are "open" if they are impressed with the individual. That means that getting into the field is a real networking effort -- but it can be done, and it is done a lot more often than people think.

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Application Scientist

Postby Peter » Mon Jan 24, 2005 1:03 pm

Cheers for the answers everyone.

The advice of do any sales job to get into sales is probably not for me as I'm not set on getting into sales. My true ambition is to be a VC or business development/stratergist. So really I wouldn't want to just sell anything. I would consider selling any type of software for the life sciences. Which leads me onto ... what the hell is the definition of an applications scientist? As on job adverts I've seen alot of different responsibilities. I want to be involved in working with scienctific software and people. As I said before I need to have some social aspect to my work.

I have ran the family business for 3 weeks a year for 4 years in the past. Which taught me alot and have also won a competition in Business Development. I was the managing director of a group of 5 PhD students who had to come up with a sound business plan that was presented to a panel of real VC judges. How much value would a company put on such experiences? (I appreciate that it might be hard to tell)
Peter
 

Application Scientist

Postby Dave Jensen » Mon Jan 24, 2005 2:20 pm

Hi Peter,

We have a friend and poster by the name of John Hoey, who started his career in sales by taking an Applications Scientist position (I believe). I hope he will chime in here.

An Applications Scientist or Applications Specialist is a support person working for a company that sells a service or a product to scientists. Many of these are employed in companies like Invitrogen, or Applied Biosystems, as examples. The job of an Applications Scientist is to travel to various customer locations (NIH, various companies, etc) and help them with the operation of the company products. This may be an installation of a piece of apparatus and training sessions, or it could be just helping them design better experiments. Anyway, it is a "toehold" into the world of sales/marketing, and even many people who have gone into Business Development have started this way.

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How to get into Sales

Postby Bob » Tue Jan 25, 2005 1:31 pm

I've had supervisor and other Ph.Ds say,... if you want to try something else out within the general field of Biotech, go for it. You can always come back to the bench if it doesn't furfill you or doesn't live up to expectations.

Trouble is, I've mad that leep, took classes, got focused on landing that related tagent job and now because I couldn't find that 'new' job find myself not able to get back to the bench to survive unless I work for peanuts through a Temp Agency.

Word to the wise out there, be careful what you suggest to others unless you lived the experience yourself and can offer very specific contacts or avenues.
Bob
 

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