Academia to Industry - A journey of an in vivo scientist

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Either when we start a PhD or when we come close to finishing it, many of us wonder about one thing: Should I stay in academia, or should I pursue a career in Industry?

To get an insight into non-academic career paths for life scientists, the NGC team teamed up with the students’ representatives of the International PhD program (IPP) in Mainz to organise career talks for local junior scientists. The latest speaker was Dr Shibajee Mandal.

Shibajee is currently a Study Director in Charles River Laboratories, working in the area of Neuroscience Drug Discovery. Having obtained a PhD degree from the University Medical Center of Mainz, he shared his experience of transitioning from Academia to Industry and explained what can be expected when searching for such positions.

"My journey as an in vivo scientist from academia to industry"

His online talk titled "My journey as an in vivo scientist from academia to industry" took place on 10 November. Shibajee shared his experiences, tips and suggestions on how to pursue a career in industry, a description of his daily life and responsibilities as well as some comments on the work/life balance.

The talk started with an overview of his scientific path and the  experience he has accumulated as an in vivo scientist, which started in India with his Bachelor and Master’s in Pharmacy. His background helped him land an internship at Syngene International as an Associate Scientist. Eventually, he came to Mainz for his PhD, where he worked on a model of multiple sclerosis. After completing his doctoral studies, he explored both the possibility of an academic career and of an industry one, until he obtained his current role as an in-vivo Scientist in Charles River Laboratories.

Shibajee shared valuable information on what helped him to apply for jobs. One of the most important tools in the pocket of a life scientist looking for jobs is professional networking, e.g.  on social and scientific platforms. Shibajee also suggested applying for positions with job requirements matching 90 to 95% of the profile of the applicant. Additionally, he emphasized that a successful CV is one that contains keywords matching the application requirements. Besides tailoring the job application to the specific position, we should also always consider the pros and cons of a job: Where is it located? Will I enjoy or feel miserable living in that climate or in that country? Is the job family-friendly?

Importantly, Shibajee gave some examples of his daily work life to help attendees understand how it differs from the life of an academic researcher, including the higher amount of reports and meetings highlighting the work week.   

All in all, the take home message is that with careful evaluation and filtering of the career options, constant vigilance for new scientific knowledge and arming oneself with a lot of patience and persistence, we will find our ideal future career path.

Thank you to all participants for joining the event and being so engaged in their discussion with Shibajee and good luck with your future careers!

Written by Evrydiki Asimaki; Edited by Chiara Galante & Jie Shi. Featured Image: NGC/Design.

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