Originally posted at QM Jobs Blog
Why do a PhD? There isn’t really a right or wrong answer to this question. But you have to remember that this is a 3-4 year commitment, which will demand a lot of you and most certainly not pay you handsomely in return. The reality is that, especially towards the end of your PhD, you’ll be earning substantially less but working longer hours than if you had taken a graduate entry science job. Of course, it’s not all bad. Over the course of your PhD you will have opportunities to meet and work with a number of passionate researchers, travel to conferences to present your work, (hopefully) publish your findings and develop your own research skills and knowledge. So, the point that I’m trying to make is that, while there are many different and equally valid reasons to do a PhD, it’s a good idea to take a step back to think about your motivations and whether you’ve really looked at all of your options.
Where? This is an important consideration, depending on your specific project area, different facilities or resources may be more important than others. It’s also a good idea to pick somewhere that you think you would be happy to live (or commute to) for the duration of your PhD. Also you might want to think about how close you are to potential employers should you be looking for work either during or after your PhD. However, unlike with an undergraduate degree, this is a less important consideration than…
Who with? Your supervisor will have a massive impact on your PhD, your progress and the skills that you learn. For example, working for a professor who has a large research group, is well established in the field and has a very busy schedule will be very different to working for a younger academic who is still trying to make a name for themselves, has a fairly small group and is generally available when you need them.
What project? This may well be the most important consideration. Remember that this project will occupy most of your time for the next 3-4 years, so be sure to pick something you enjoy!
If you’re now left with more questions than answers, remember that your department has a number of academics and PhD students who have all been through this process themselves…make use of them! You can also discuss your options with a Careers Consultant too…
PhD Life Science Careers – A Day in the Life of An Analyst March 12, 2012Posted by UCL Careers Service in : Finance & IT, Industry Focus, Science & Engineering, career profiles , add a comment
Originally posted at UCL Postgraduate Careers Blog
A guest blog from IMS Consulting Group:
My current project is in the area of Pricing and Market Access, which is one of three practice areas of IMSCG. As an analyst, I am also exposed to projects in Brand and Commercial Strategy (analysing commercial models and optimising brand strategy) and Strategy and Portfolio Analysis (pipeline forecasting, therapy area value assessments, pharmaceutical portfolio management). I enjoy the variety afforded by this broad competency model, as I learn more about a range of aspects relevant to the pharmaceutical industry.
I currently work with IMS colleagues in Cambridge, New York and San Francisco. This means that as soon as I wake up I need to check progress the US team has made while I’ve been sleeping! There is no “typical day” but currently, when I arrive at the office the first call I make is to the consultant I work with in Cambridge. We are in constant contact with each other to ensure that we can plan our time and manage our workloads as effectively as possible. Working with a consultant also provides a great level of support, as there is always someone to point me in the right direction and help me out. As a result I have been able to quickly pick up a wide range of skills and learn new methods of data retrieval and analysis.
Typically, we decide to work on slides for a client meeting next week and catch up later in the afternoon. I use the rest of the morning to research pricing and reimbursement regulations in several European Union countries, and do some more background reading on the therapy area. It really helps to have a good knowledge of the mechanism of a drug and disease it is intended to treat in order to create summaries of the treatment landscape to share with the wider team, and members of the client company who may not have been directly involved with the development of the drug.
After lunch with other analysts, I spend time talking to three aspiring analysts in a break between interviews. This is one part of my job I really enjoy, as quite clearly I remember being in their position – it gives them the opportunity to relax a little between case studies, and ask questions about the recruitment process, training and starting work. They are particularly interested to learn about training on the job, as they are from scientific backgrounds with little previous exposure to the business world. Luckily IMS is very strong in training – my first week was spent on an intensive consulting skills course, so I reassure them that they will quickly pick up the skills and knowledge they need to start contributing to projects.
Back upstairs, it’s back to work on preparing the presentation for our client. Mid-afternoon I lead a teleconference call with IMS colleagues in Italy and Spain to organize two day-long workshops with influential doctors in Milan and Barcelona. I take them through a presentation to give them background about the project and decide on final logistics. We are really lucky to have a good relationship with our international colleagues, as their local insight and contacts are a great help in making final arrangements. I finish around 7pm and prepare for tomorrow, as I will be travelling to the IMS Cambridge office for face-to-face meetings with the project team.
Rachel Rowbottom, IMS Consulting Group
Thinking about doing a research degree? August 3, 2011Posted by Andrew Falconer in : further study and training, postgraduate , add a comment
Talking to some students recently it became clear that they didn’t know there are two types of post-graduate course available. The main one is a taught Masters programme. This is similar to undergraduate tuition but will usually have a signficant independent research compenent. The other is a Research Masters. These arise accross most disciplines but are often associated mainly with science related degrees. The research masters does not usually include a significant taught element but focuses on the student undertaking independent research.
Choosing a research masters route can be difficult. Our colleague Terry Jones is a specialist careers adviser working with postgraduate students. He has recorded a podcast of him in coversation talking about common questions such as deciding on a project, supervisor or university. The podcast is 17mins long and can be downloaded here. Other podcasts are available here. To find out about postgraduate options within the University of London click here.
So I got my PhD, but I want to do something different… August 23, 2010Posted by Helen Curry in : postgraduate , 3comments
****Be aware this content is over two years old****
It is a common enough situation to want a change, particularly after the stress of finishing that PhD dissertation, but where do you go from there?
I recommend treating this as your next research project. Think about the methods you can apply to find the information you need – from resoures, people and advice – can you apply those research methods here too? In that vein, here’s a reading list…
Vitae is an essential place to start as they have heaps of information and resources, including help if it is worries about family, age or disability that you feel are restricting your academic options. And if you are looking for career ideas, take a look at these reports to see what others in your position did next – What do researchers do.
From our own website, The Careers Group, download these specialised information sheets on CVs and careers for PhDs. See also our general CV guide How to write a CV (pdf) which actually has an example of a CV from a post-doc moving our of academia, p.34.
For a real-life stories of career choices following your research degree, Beyond the PhD is fantastic for getting perspective.
If you are a science researcher, I really recommend the QM researchers blog - the opportunities posted there are open to all and cover a range of career ideas relevant to your expertise. There are also some good lists of links.
And another blog worth trying is Leaving Academia, giving peoples’ experiences of changing paths.
career profiles , 1 comment so far
****Be aware this content is over two years old****
Heard of medical communications? It is to use science and language to deliver education and communication programmes for the pharmaceutical industry. You get to continue using your scientific knowledge and research skills, but you escape the treadmill of grant applications and over-specialisation. It is a type of technical author or technical writer, another role that may be of interest to science graduates.
Requirements: PhD and research experience advantageous, science degree essential.
Salary: Trainee writers can start on £20-30k. In a year or two progression can be quick, and some go on to run their own company.
- European Medical Writers Association – www.emwa.org.
- International Society for Medical Publication Professionals www.ismpp.org
- eMedCareers: UK job search www.emedcareers.co.uk/