“What Can I Do With a Master’s or PhD?”

-Panel discussion held at UCSD on March 27, 2017-

By Nina Gao

It’s Career Development Week at UC San Diego! Yes it coincides with spring break, but most of us graduate students are still running experiments anyways…. right?

One of the hosted panels focused on alternative career options beyond the traditional route of academia.

Invited panelists:

  • Kelly Anne Brown, Assistant Director of UC Humanities Research Institute and Humanists@Work
  • Ken Lau, Technical Marketing Manager at BioLegend 
  • Sara Shen, Associate at Strategic Earth Consulting
  • Tarun Soni, Chief Engineer at Northrop Grumman

For those of you who missed it, here are the key messages I got out of the discussion:

  • It’s not too late to figure out a career. All of the panelists confessed to finding the “right” career late into their graduate studies, some even months after they had graduated.
  • Don’t look to get comfortable. No matter what career, employers are looking for people who are always pushing themselves out of their comfort zone.
  • Careers are important, but so are other aspects of your life. Don’t give up everything for your career. Keep up on your hobbies, friendships, and family. Perhaps your skills will help you develop your career in unexpected forms, like an immunology podcast.
  • And perhaps most importantly, whatever career decision you make doesn’t have to be final. No matter what you choose, your graduate training will develop desirable work skills: communication and project management. Use these to your advantage!

Don’t forget that the Career Services Center at UCSD exists! They are here to help you explore career options, develop skills relevant to your job aspirations, and can also give you statistics on salaries and benefits.

And check out our other posts and resource pages for more information on science careers!


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