Archives for category: v i s t a profile

Each Friday we post a new v i s t a profile, a career beyond the academy story (use the tags at the bottom of the post to find the entire list). These posts accompany our curated events to support post-PhD career transitions, v i s t a mentoring, and also #sheffvista on Twitter.

Job title and company: Business Affairs Manager, BBC

Approximate salary range for your type of role: £30-50k (more information here)

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I’ve just realised that I have now been in the ‘world of work’ exactly the same amount of time that I was in higher education: 7 years. Aside from this fact eliciting the usual feelings of oddness at the relentless passage of time, it also highlights parallels between the two periods of my life. While at Sheffield I initially spent some time learning how things worked before becoming more focused on areas which specifically interested me, the same thing has happened within my career.

After submitting my PhD thesis (in English) in the summer of 2009 and after 7 full years at Sheffield University where I completed three different degrees, I felt burnt out with academia and craved the routine and security of a job. Without anything lined up, I went to London, moved in with a group of friends in a similar situation and furiously started applying for positions. At this point I really didn’t know what to expect. I knew I had limited experience, but I was also on the cusp of being awarded a PhD which was something I’d worked immensely hard for. As was a theme with me, I didn’t particularly have the confidence to settle on an idea of what I wanted to do and it really wasn’t clear how I would be seen outside of my academic comfort zone.

After a period of scattergun job applications, I managed to get an interview and then job as a Rights Assistant at the BBC. The BBC was an organisation that I’d always thought out of reach despite having looked at their job site more than anywhere else, but I’d stumbled across what was essentially an admin role which allowed a way in. This first job involved the contracting of writers for various in-house produced BBC TV shows. These were mostly one off dramas as well as continuing series and the role involved basic negotiations with talent agents, issuing contracts and making payments. Once inside, the BBC opened up as a place of real possibility, with plenty of opportunities to learn about other departments and to gain a wider context of how a giant public service broadcaster worked.

IMG_1316.JPGFor the first year and a half, I hopped my way around fixed term contracts in similar Rights Assistant roles, buffeted around by the constantly ticking clock of short term positions. But it was this period where I began to gain a real interest in how technology and shifting consumer behaviour was changing the BBC in a very profound way. This focus helped me get a job in the Rights Business Development team which centred on the support of new, innovative and emerging areas of the BBC.

I am now a Business Affairs Manager working with the BBC Three channel. BBC Three has recently shifted from a linear broadcast channel to an online-only one which features services across the BBC, YouTube, Facebook and other destinations. This new strategy and approach pushes the boundaries in all sorts of ways and has required fresh and innovative thinking in terms of how editorial teams are supported. I am in charge of supporting all short form video produced, commissioned or acquired by the channel, and engage third party producers, social brands and other digital companies in deals for content or services. In addition, as a point of advice and expertise on rights, legal approach and industry precedent, my role has evolved along with the needs of the channel which itself represents an experiment for the BBC.

As a publicly funded organisation, the BBC has its tricky differences from the commercial sector but can be a truly inspirational place to work. At the BBC there is a constant need to be accountable to the licence fee payer, and while this can feel restrictive given the rules and regulations which are in place, it’s a constant reminder that it’s a unique, fascinating and ever-changing entity which belongs to everyone and it pushes people to be creative within certain parameters.

As I progress through my career I realise more and more just how valuable the skills i developed during my academic study truly are. As jobs become more senior at a place like the BBC, they become less about process and more about the analysis of ideas. Not ‘do this’ but rather ‘how should we do this differently?’. The creative, analytical problem solving that I developed – in particular – during work on my PhD thesis, has been increasingly vital to me in my current role. Skills of communication are also critical, particularly when there might be a very limited time window to persuade and influence a senior member of staff.

My advice to any researchers leaving academia and entering the world of work would be this: depending on your chosen discipline, it may not be your PhD itself which will be valued by an employer (though it certainly won’t hurt!) Instead, the attitude and skills you have developed and which are exhibited will mark you out and likely become more and more vital to you as your career develops.

Each Friday we post a new v i s t a profile, a career beyond the academy story (use the tags at the bottom of the post to find the entire list). These posts accompany our curated events to support post-PhD career transitions, v i s t a mentoring, and also #sheffvista on Twitter.

Job title and company: Senior Consultant at Deloitte UK Lifesciences and Healthcare please feel free to contact Ismael on LinkedIn

Approximate salary range for your type of role: £40-60k (more information here)

2.jpgI read for a BSc. in Genetics and Molecular Cell Biology and PhD in Cardiovascular Science at the University of Sheffield. During my PhD I became increasingly interested in translating research into real and tenable commercial solutions. The impact of academic research can be very long term, and my motivation to move out of academia partly stemmed form the need to see the impact of my work forthwith. I also wanted to move into a role that opened my career options and after speaking to some friends about their career moves, I was introduced to the idea of pharmaceutical and life sciences consulting.

My first role straight out of a PhD was as an Associate at a life sciences competitive strategy consultancy where I helped pharmaceutical and medical device companies identify opportunities and competitive risk in various therapeutic areas across various markets.

I supported clients to identify opportunities for clinical development, manage complex regulatory challenges, design and implement product launch strategies across different markets, and conduct competitive landscaping in various therapeutic areas.

I particularly enjoyed attending medical and scientific conferences to identify unmet therapeutic needs in various disease areas and assess how the pharmaceutical industry was addressing these requirements. This allowed me to travel around the globe, meet various scientific leaders and explore disciplines beyond the topics of my PhD.

I also learnt to conduct ‘so what?’ analysis, assess the commercial implications of market developments and drive strategic recommendations to my clients.

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I later joined the Healthcare and Lifesciences Risk Analytics team at Deloitte. Here I use various data analytics tools to help clients assess risk in their R&D, clinical development and commercial strategies. I find the inter-disciplinary aspect of this job very interesting and highly engaging. I work with people with differing expertise that come together to solve complex client problems. I also enjoy interacting with key decision makers both at my clients and within my firm.

Consulting is varied, very fast paced and continually challenging, but can also be intense and from time to time may require longer working hours. The ‘no day is like the next’ may very much sound like a cliché but it is a fact of life in consulting and this can take a while to get used to. Consulting often requires a significant amount of travel and while it may allow you to see the world, you often need to work on the move. Thus, consulting tends to attract the self-driven types, people that are happy to build and maintain networks and manage their own work life balance.

It is not essential to have a PhD to work in consulting, especially for larger firms, but academic research experience is definitively a plus. The misconception that skills gained during your PhD are only useful in a research lab or within an academic institution can make the move to industry daunting. Nevertheless, I feel that the fear of moving from academia to industry often stems from being surrounded by very bright academics who may have only limited experience working in industry, especially outside of their area of expertise.

Consulting experience can open the door to a variety of other industry careers in business intelligence, business development, strategy and operations management, both in the private and public sectors.

My career tip to researchers leaving academia is simple; be humble, be curious, be adventurous.

Where can researchers look for jobs like yours? 

Each Friday we post a new v i s t a profile, a career beyond the academy story (use the tags at the bottom of the post to find the entire list). These posts accompany our curated events to support post-PhD career transitions, v i s t a mentoring, and also #sheffvista on Twitter.

Job title and company: Business Systems Analyst at Anchor Trust

Approximate salary range for your type of role: £41,000 to £50,000

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Each Friday we post a new v i s t a profile, a career beyond the academy story (use the tags at the bottom of the post to find the entire list). These posts accompany our curated events to support post-PhD career transitions, v i s t a mentoring, and also #sheffvista on Twitter.

Job title and company: Research Scientist – Corn Nursery Research Seed Production, Pioneer.

Approximate salary range for your type of role: Professional scale, very variable — check individual job adverts for details.

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Each Friday we post a new v i s t a profile, a career beyond the academy story (use the tags at the bottom of the post to find the entire list). These posts accompany our curated events to support post-PhD career transitions, v i s t a mentoring, and also #sheffvista on Twitter.

Profiles: @a_n_s on Twitter, find me on LinkedIn

Job title and company: Public Engagement Facilitator, The University of Oxford

Approximate salary range for your type of role: £30-40k+

mlatoffice.jpgFrom an early age I knew I was going to be a researcher. Fast forward to the third year of my PhD in molecular biology and sadly this dream seemed unsuitable. Turned out that whilst I found it all fascinating, the actual lab work, looking at just one or two proteins, wasn’t for me. I wouldn’t say it bored me, but the seemingly never ending, soul-destroying inability to get sensitive experiments working chipped away at my motivation and morale. Dream broken, it was time to look ahead. I’m not going to lie: I was pretty panic-stricken to suddenly be without a clear direction. Read the rest of this entry »

Each Friday we post a new v i s t a profile, a career beyond the academy story (use the tags at the bottom of the post to find the entire list). These posts accompany our curated events to support post-PhD career transitions, v i s t a mentoring, and also #sheffvista on Twitter.

Twitter: @OJ301

Job title and company: Academic Skills Development Adviser at 301 Student Skills and Development Centre

Approximate salary range for your type of role: £35-39k

OJ.jpgFirst, a confession: I have no career masterplan. The path I have taken to my current job has been one of trial and error, missteps and serendipitous accidents. It is tempting to seek a retrospective kind of order in the chaos, but that would not do justice to the uncertainty of the journey.

As an undergrad I never saw myself as a researcher, but when the opportunity arose to apply for a PhD in Soviet art history (a longstanding area of interest) I jumped at the opportunity. Read the rest of this entry »

Each Friday we post a new v i s t a profile, a career beyond the academy story (use the tags at the bottom of the post to find the entire list). These posts accompany our curated events to support post-PhD career transitions, v i s t a mentoring, and also #sheffvista on Twitter.

Twitter: @JW_Donald

Job title and company: Strategy & Policy Manager, Skills and Careers Unit @BBSRC

Approximate salary range for your type of role: ~£37-43k

Towards the end of my time spent completing a PhD in Molecular Microbiology I came to the conclusion that academia is probably best suited to those who really enjoy research. This realisation came while at an EMBO summer school in Corsica where at the numerous beach and bar breaks the general chat invariably centred on people’s research projects; although I found my PhD project interesting, I really didn’t want to talk about it on the beach. Read the rest of this entry »

Each Friday we post a new v i s t a profile, a career beyond the academy story (use the tags at the bottom of the post to find the entire list). These posts accompany our curated events to support post-PhD career transitions, v i s t a mentoring, and also #sheffvista on Twitter.

Twitter: @alisheff

Job title and company: Enterprise Education Manager, The University of Sheffield

Approximate salary range for your type of role: ~£28-38k

I’ve been at The University of Sheffield for thirteen years now, first as a student and now as a member of staff – I often joke that I’m institutionalised! I never really planned it that way, however, it just seems to be how my career and my personal life have conspired together through happenstance.

1910390_505806278612_8422_n.jpgI studied archaeology to PhD level, but now I work in curriculum development and enterprise education – sometimes I wonder myself exactly how that happened! Read the rest of this entry »

Each Friday we post a new v i s t a profile, a career beyond the academy story (use the tags at the bottom of the post to find the entire list). These posts accompany our curated events to support post-PhD career transitions, v i s t a mentoring, and also #sheffvista on Twitter.

Job title and company: Scientific Content Manager and Global Campaign Manager, , Merck KgAa, Darmstadt, Germany

Approximate salary range for your type of role: Variable €40-55K

HEC2015-2.jpgWhen you come across someone in a role where you think “ooh, I’d like to do that job” it seems that the answer to the question of how they got there is always “well, I just fell into it really” or “I got lucky”. I feel the same, but obviously, there is more to it than that. There always is. Read the rest of this entry »

Each Friday we post a new v i s t a profile, a career beyond the academy story (use the tags at the bottom of the post to find the entire list). These posts accompany our curated events to support post-PhD career transitions, v i s t a mentoring, and also #sheffvista on Twitter.

Job title and company: Mentoring & Coaching Manager, University of Sheffield

Approximate salary range for your type of role: £35,000-£55,000 across the UK

I did science A-levels, a science degree and a PhD in molecular biology because it seemed at the time that’s what clever people did. When I (finally) finished my PhD I knew it was time to move on to a job where I would feel less idiotic all the time. I thought I’d better make a more informed decision about what to do next and so I trotted down to a careers service appointment. it turned out that a PhD with precisely ZERO extra curricular activities wasn’t massively attractive to employers, even when supplemented with my time pushing Sarah Lee gateaux in Iceland. Read the rest of this entry »