Random Ramblings about stuff I see going on in biotech, internet and the stuff I read.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

How long to be an Application Scientist

Last post, Ph.D. dropout asked, in essence, how long she has to stay in a job before she can move on. She phrased it as:
what do you think is the minimum reasonable time I should spend at one job before looking for something new?
and if the time frame that I wil be able to handle is a year or a little less, what kind of jobs can I look at applying to move into the more business sector of biotech?

I would say 2 years. Any less than that, and I will be asking you what happened. At two years, in a travel job, you are fine. It won't raise eyebrows to move on. If you last less than a year, it will raise big red flags. I wouldn't take a risk on you after that, as at that point you have left a Ph.D. at less than 2 years. You have left a job at less than 1. What makes me, as a hiring person, think that you will stay with my job? You will, at that point, have shown no ability to stick with anything. I would be looking at you as someone who would come in and leave. Since hiring people is a real pain in the butt, I am very biased against doing it more frequently than I have to. Part of what I take in to account is how long I think you will last. Less than 2 years = bad. More than 2 = fine. I don't think I can tell if you will last 3 years or 10 years, but don't really care.

My personal rule is not to move more often than every 3 years. Others set the bar at 2 years. I don't know of anyone who sets it below 2 years, and whose career I would be trying to emulate.

Your statements:
I think you were absolutely right about suspecting that 30% travel sounds too good for AS. THe other person I interviewed with already stated 25-50%, which leaves me concerned that it will go up over 50 rather fast. :(
I am excited as hell to travel, but I need the travel time to be shorter than the time spent at home, I think... to retain my sanity.
play to something I have said before. You have no idea about how you will handle travel. I would expect, with an FAS job, to spending more than 50% of the time on the road during some periods. The end of a fiscal year / quarter would be a time when I would expect you out constantly. Early in the quarter, not AS much, but still.... I can't help with this part, but if you make this jump I think you have to be willing to stick it out for at least 2 years, or you should expect to have problems getting the next job.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

More about salary - PhD dropout

PhD dropout, whom I answered a question for last post, asked what I thought her salary should be in the comments way back.... She says

SO.. I have been checking out career newsletter, job listings, advice boards, etc... and seems like App Scientis jobs go from 50-80k. 80k being = PhD + experience.
but, seems like the 50k range is not exactly for the postition I was interviewing for, because it seems like there is a difference between job responsibilities of App Sci and FIELD App Sci (FAS). FAS'es seem to travel over 50% of the time at least and not really engage in other data mining or paper-writing projects. Sounds like the job I am 'hoping for' is not like the FAS, more like AS, with, as they say, 30% travel not more.
The range with Ph.D. being about what I had guessed in my post on the matter. I haven't seen too much of the less travel version of an FAS. I guess I don't really understand the difference between and FAS that doesn't travel and a lab worker. I don't know how the 30% travel would work out, and would guess that pretty rapidly you get hauled well above that number. Just a guess though.

I would have to have a better understanding of what the job was, and how it created value for the company, to give a guess about how the salary levels line up. At a guess, and based on the n=1 of me and another guy in a similar position, I would say a Ph.D. was worth between $15K-$30K / year. There is a lower limit of what they will pay someone who is in the sales process and travels a lot, so at the lower levels the split will be less. At the higher levels the split will increase until you get to the highest levels where I think it closes up again. the Ph.D. I think really only helps get you more money in the mid levels. You always get a bit more, but it is closer at the top and the bottom.

Someone can probably pull some statistical jujitsu on my head now and show that this is false in some way, but I am starting with a flawed n=1 anyway so I wouldn't hang my hat on this.

SO - long way of me saying I don't really know what you are worth but there is some long rambling.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A new career advice asking person....

Back on the comments page for my Application Scientist posting (what is an app scientist and what do they do anyway?) there is a new person asking carreer type questions, and so I will address those here. I am going to sum up her background and questions and then got on with it.

Summary of her comment:

1. General buttering up of me. Greatly appreciated and inflates my head further. My wife does not appreciate this but she is not typing here....

2. Background: She is dropping out of the Ph.D. program Less than ?2? years in before she takes her Quals, and thus won't leave with either a masters or a Ph.D. Before starting program worked in industry for 4 years after getting a B.S. but hates bench work.
Them: "You have a Ph.D."
Me: "Yes"
Them: "I worked in the lab for a bunch of years, and was going to go do but decided to do this instead. I know as much as you and didn't miss anything by not doing it"
Me" "OK"
Them: "It just wasn't the right time of my life, and there was a lot going on"
Me: "OK"
Them: ....more rambling and getting more defensive....
This is a horrible conversation, and I keep having it. I want to shout at them "I DONT CARE". So - my take home message of this is to make sure you are making the decision you want to make and then get on with it. Don't regret it later, and don't tell me about it when you are interviewing or when I/you start working together. When you sound guilty and defensive about it you don't make yourself look good.

The other quesions:
So, I got only a BS so far, not happy in my program, trying to get feedback on what is AVAILABLE and WHAT IS AT STAKE if I re-enter the field AS IS!
You can do this. You do answer your own question though. You point out that there are some non-Ph.D.'s at the higher levels of some companies, and that this proves it is possible. You are correct - there are. I have written about this on the blog several times, and I can't be bothered to look at whether I am being consistent in my opionion or not, but would guess NO - so when I write this please keep in mind this is todays opionion. I think Non-Ph.D.'s at biotech companies have a much harder time getting to the higher levels than Ph.D.'s. When two people act the same, speak the same, etc...the same - the Ph.D. will get the job every time. How much better does the Non-Ph.D. have to be? I don't know that you can quantify "better" but I would say that it is "quite a bit" better that is needed. SO - not impossible by any means, but definatly not stacking the deck in your own favor.
The question you didn't ask is "Is that time that I would spend in the lab worth it once I get to the working world" and to this - looking at where you are - I would (subject to much I don't know) say that I would quit as well. You are looking at several more years worth of work, for low pay, and doing something that you don't sound that psyched about. In that time, you can have gone to industry and piled up a pretty nice resume and be well on your way. As an App Scientist, you are still building technical credibility, so you have that going for you. You are going to have to, after a year or two or three, start looking to move towards marketing/sales/bus dev or some other role in the company as you will burn out and will also really be tapped out on what they will let you do without the degree.

I have totally lost track of your questions!

ah - are you nuts for quitting and how to explain your quitting.

I think you are quite sane for quitting. I have never understood people doing jobs that they don't like as I think it makes them all around miserable people that no one likes. No fun is being had and it takes them much longer to complete the task anyway. With your attitude you would be looking at a longer haul than someone who is fired up and motivated (me for the first few years...). To explain your quitting, just do it. I quit becuase I didn't want to do it. Business excited me more, and the lab was unappealing. All of your other stories didn't sound that good to me and sounded like cop outs. I am of the opionion that meeting it head on is the right answer, and if you were interviewing with me and try any of the other answers, I would drop you. Other people, with other personalities, will have other opinions.

BUT - you should note that everyone you will talking to, likely, will have made the decision to leave the lab as well. There is a reason they are interviewing you, and its not becuase they are still in the lab. On some level they made the same decision as well and didn't (go to /stay in) the the lab.

I realize I am a couple of hours too late, but real life gets in the way some times. Saw that you had posted the comment ( a blackberry is evil...) but didn't have time to write. Hope it went well.

Did I miss any questions?

**edited** would point you to this post to see what I have done recently.....

Monday, June 19, 2006

Dapi - more about expense reports.

Dapi, a couple of comments back said:

I would definitely be going home on the weekend but I wasnt sure if I could ask for them to pay for it but it totally makes sense to me!
and I sort of answered, but want to really spell things out for those not at companies right now. Everything you do when travelling for a company is reimburseable. I, now, automatically keep receipts even when travelling for personal travel. Then my wife makes fun of me, but it shows how deeply ingrained it is. Companies have travel policies that tell you what you can charge, eat, stay at etc... and you follow them and then they reimburse you for everything. Other companies have credit cards that you charge against so you don't even see the bill. This is totally non-negotiable. When you are travellling on company business, they pay the bill. End of discussion. If you trash their rules, they may choose not to pay for the stuff you did that violates the rules, but that was your bad not theirs!

This is a big change from academia where you are sort of committed to the lab and would maybe not get reimbursed for everything at a conference. In industry - get reimbursed. Keep every receipt. "I don't know if I can ask for that" - the way I look at this, they have to pay for your hotel and food and car to keep you there for the weekend. It's not that the weekend is free.

Just a different way of thinking, but wanted to make sure you thought of it.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Salary - Dapi Question

I guess I could answer in comments, but since I never look at those on other blogs I assume other people don't either.

Last post, Dapi Asked:
As for the $60K- pros would be it would provide me with experience in industry and I can always work damn hard and ask for a raise ...but I have a number in my head and I know what I am worth in relations to quality of life!

Can you give me an idea of the the base salary that a company like your company would offer to someone who has zero experience in industry? If this helps the company of interest has roughly 100 people..(rounded it up)!

I have a number in my head and i was want to know if its realistic!

I was paid $83K when I was employee #9 at a startup and as an application scientist. Start ups, in general, frequently have to pay better as you are taking risk to be there. OR they give you a lot of stock options. $80K is, I think, the high end.

After that, at the entry levels, salary falls the bigger a company gets.

For a product manager, with your credentials, we would be looking at $60-$70K with 10% bonus.

Bus Dev, with those qualifications, I probably wouldn't have hired you but if I had I would have gone $70 with minimal bonus.

App Scientist - $50-$80 is probably the range but that is far from the entire story. The app scientists at our company are closer to the upper end, but don't get a bonus/commission. They also don't get a car allowance. At the lower end, you have to get other things, like bonus's and car allowances etc... so you have to be careful not to fixate on the one number. The car allowance is $8K right there. The bonus could be $20K. SO - if you are at $60 you are making more than the guys at our company as your car + potential bonus gets you to $88K. This leaves out me even talking about health insurance and 401K matching etc... as you really have to look at the entire package. What is the out of pocket on the health insurance? Do they pay 100%? We don't unless you choose the absolute minimum HMO coverage (1 person, not family etc...)

A major consideration of this is understanding what kind of deal volume you will be involved with. Is each deal worth $1M? When I was an app scientist that is what I was looking at. A large instrument company would be looking at this. Smaller companies, where the deal size is in the $10K region will pay less.

It is important to get what you can, but make sure you keep the options in mind. What is plan B? Getting in to the business side is non-trivial. If you take this job, you are only really looking at 2 years before you can switch. I wouldn't get too hung up on the salary.

Stock options? (and do you think they are worth anything?)
Training? (i.e. will they send you to classes like sales training or negotiation?)

all of these things have to be taken at a totality to see if you are happy. If you fixate on the one number, and they won't get there, see if you can dump other stuff that you don't care about to get there, as the HR people will look at the total cost.

I realize I am all over the board here, but reading my past statements I see I am just as guilty as others in that I posted just 1 number (salary). As you seem to note, by mentioning the size of the company, the range differs by company size. It also differs by what you are involved in selling. It also differs by what else is in the package. The car allowance is huge. That is income right there that you may not have to pay income tax on (I don't think, but check that). That inflates your income in a disproportionate way.

At the end of the day, what it comes down to is whether or not you will be happy doing what they want for what they are willing to pay you. If not -> don't do it. If yes-> the ranges didn't matter.

I wouldn't fixate on the 70% travel -> we have all been there. It seems big, and it is big, but if you are going to go up the business side of things there will always be travel. I am down to about 50% this year, but I get on a plane tomarrow (fathers day....) as that is what has to be done.

Dapi does an interview, some follow on comments on salary

Dapi had her interview and it sounds like it went well. She talks about it here, but I want to life a few points from this.

Points 1-3 are all good. I, at the end of the day, go with my gut. You can analyze until face is blue, but for me the gut makes much of the call. Everytime (for the most part...) that I have gone against it - it hasn't worked out well.

2) I was coachable since I lacked industry experience

Exactly what I look for. For folks coming from academia, they essentially know nothing about this arena. They have some bogus ideas about sales reps, and maybe some inflated ideas about salary's, but beyond that they don't know a thing. The question, and it sounds like what they asked as well, is how coachable the person is. They will have to learn a lot quickly - will they be able to do it?

The bad - point 1 - Yeah...
point 2 - this is why we have HR. They are supposed to solve these problems.

Point 3 - quoted below
3) my STRONG academic record!!! They normally dont take on people who are so academic (normally fresh PhD's)-yes you are soo right! the postdoc hurt me!)...my resume was TOO good in that area...hahaha....scientists at that level become stuck in an academic mind set and they were worried about how i'd do in industry which is more detachable and fasted past...BUT they liked me and i proved to them that I'm not the typical academic! I worked hard to prove to them i was serious and ready for this job and this is what Ive wanted all along. Also said I was willing to learn and be trained!

Exactly. Well put. The more you have gone down the academic path, the more I think that is what you wanted to do and this "industry" thing is just an after thought. If you want to go to the bench in industry, that is fine, but if you want to make the jump away from the bench I start having the thoughts you outline above. I look at it as wasted time when you weren't learning what I need you to know, but this is an equally true way of looking at. This is where being trainable comes in. You have to overcome this.

The next point is HUGE in negotiation

4) I was TOO talkative- I agree! I was running on adrenaline plus i really wantd them to see that i was a people person...normally I am talkative but I have to admit I didnt want to create a void of silence...BUT again they said that they can help me with that and the VP of business development had the same problem (he was interviewing me) and he said he got a coach to help him not ramble!! haha I learnt a valuable lesson- in business...silence is good also! The talkativeness was however NOT a deal breaker!
The most important part of closing a sale/deal is knowing when to shut up. Say your bit and then shut up. People who are trying to ram a bad point down your throat will be uncomfortable about this and will babble to fill the void. They will end up giving away much more than they wanted. Sit there and smile while they keep talking. Me learning this lesson was huge, and it was pounded in to me very early on by a sales rep who talked a mile a minute - until we were negotiating at which point they shut up... I talk A LOT, but when in front of a customer it is far more important to listen. Listen to the questions they ask. See what they say to fill the void that you leave by not talking. They will bring up something of interest and you can sell them something else. Maybe they will talk about funding, in which case you learn budget and how much they can afford. Etc... you will learn much by being quite. If there is an uncomfortable silence DO NOT be the person who fills it. Let the customer fill it and see what they say.

The salary : Are you willing to walk over $60K? Is that a deal breaker for you? Make your mind up on that front now. Always strive for more, but make sure you know what the worst case scenario is. If they won't come up from $60 what will you do? Know that answer now. Don't tell anyone, but know.

The rest of the benefits are normal. I only get paid a yearly bonus, not quarterly, but I have heard of both so that isn't weird.

"will most likely fly me back to the US on weekend" ---- Ummmm this would, to me, be non-negotiable. I *AM* going home for weekends. Or, if you choose not to go home for weekends, know the stress this will put on your relationship. It is really exciting to travel, and the business world is wonderful, but I really really really really urge you to make sure you keep in contact with fiance and make sure he is on board with not seeing you for a month while you are in some other city eating at restaurants and staying in an OK/nice hotel. You will be doing exciting new, and he won't. I made this error and really want to make sure that others don't. This would be called a "tense" time in my marriage. Survived - made changes - but is certainly something that needs to acknowledged.

Good luck,


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

...forgot to answer a Dapi question... Know the company

Dapi pointed out that I didn't answer what I meant by "know the company". Quite right...

Umm.... know them!

Know the Press Releases they have put out so that you know what is going on to them as a business.
Know their technology/products so that you can speak to the technology.
Know the workflow that would be around their products. By this I mean know WHY people would use the product, WHAT questions the people are asking when they use the product, and what the next step in the experiments is that you do when you are asking those questions.

An example workflow might be.

Microarray -> Informatics -> QPCR -> Western

with the idea being that you find some genes your interested in, confirm them with QPCR, and then move to western blots to look at what the protein did. Simple workflow, and not totally complete, but I hope you get the idea. For whatever it is that you are interviewing on (and I have to admit to trying to guess based on where you are flying to, but you should NOT post the answer) you should be able to write/say some sort of workflow like this. Coupled to that, you should be able to talk a bit about how problems in 1 step can affect other steps etc...

Basically show that you know what a scientist would be doing with whatever it is that you are selling.

You can't know everything about the company, so don't try. You do, however, need to show that you bothered to look up as much as you could. Google the people you will be interviewing with. Google the company and read anything you find.

Knowledge is your friend in this case, and anything helps. Showing that you put in effort is what you want the outcome to be. Don't brag about it, just do it and trot the information out when it is needed.

I would NOT be too worried about being able to comment on something about every executive. I would, however, know their names and roles. i.e. Know who the CEO is, who the CFO is etc... You don't need to memorize where they went to grad school or what degrees they have, but you should know their names. I would spend more time making sure I had the tech under control than I would on this, but you need to know the names.

Dapi's continuing interview process

Last post we heard from Dapi in the comments about how her phone interview went, and I will excerpt some of that and comment a bit further below. Short version is that she is doing well....

Good summary of how to spin yourself on the interview. She is responding to my less than glowing summary of the interviewee questions she would ask. I hate doing this, and hate hearing them, and don't put a lot of value in them... Dapi's way of doing this is better written than mine, and I totally agree with it.

I reworded a few of them and asked the interviewer to talk more about the job, dynamics of the company and her history there. From there I asked direct questions which allowed me to highlight what my skills where. I also wanted to know what the personality of the people who i would be working with were.

Basically my weakness was my LACK of industry experience but I think i overcame it by emphasising that I have SKILLS needed for the job anyway. I outlined my presentation skills, the fact that I love to talk and I am a confident speaker...also i did have experience doing some PR work for our research foundation during my PhD years. I tried to push that i can speak to vendors and I made profits from the conferences, getting sponsorship etc...i'm apeople person and I learn fast!

and a question:

One more question- I'm ahh getting married this September and I would like to ask for 2 weeks off...1 because my family are coming from overseas and i havent seen them for 2 years and the other is for us to go on a short honeymoon...is this reasonable?

Yes - this is very reasonable. Raise it to the recruiter as they will position it with the company to get an initial read (this is how on the hireing side I am used to hearing about it). You should expect a YES. If you don't get a YES, do you want to work there? I wouldn't. They may or may not give you paid vacation across that. What I have done with the person I am hireing is put them in the hole on vacation. What I mean by that is that when she wants to take some time off she won't already have enough. I am letting her use what she has, and then she will wrack up negative time. For the following couple of months she will be working that off. Another choice is just to take unpaid time off.

On a side note: Congrats on getting married!

In any case - if they won't work with you on this I would take that as a huge red flag for working there. It gives you a very clear sense of their values and what they think of you.

I'm so excited but scared...I have to buy a suit and get some make up!! ARGHH!

This made my wife laugh in a knowing kind of way. Not having to use makeup is a big plus for being a guy!

What should I do to nail this job interview?

You seem to have this under control. Your first paragraph at the top explaining what you did to the question asking section shows you know what you are doing. Keep doing more of that.

Good Luck.


Monday, June 12, 2006

Interview question / answer from a comment

A couple of posts ago Dapi asked more questions, and has moved forward in her interview process... so I will dispense ?advice?mis-information?other? in response. Hope any of this is usefull. Cutting and pasting from the comment, so answers follow questions.

Her Questions are in Blue.

Do you have any tips on asking intelligent questions?

No. And I don't mean this to be harsh, but I have never been good at this part. When I ask people if they have any questions, they always asked some canned questions, as I see you line up below. When I have been on the "being interviewed" side of it, I have always been bad at this. I will get to your questions below, but the overall answer is that yours are no better/worse than anyone elses.

i'd like to know what types of questions have impressed you in the past when interviewing people?
Not many. Not what I am looking for. Read on....

I wrote a few out that I'd like to us ie:

-What does it take for me to be successful in this field?
HR question...the answers you get to this should be interesting as well.

-What skills are you looking for for this job?
HR BS question, but usefull in that seeing what kind of answers you get will tell you about the people you may be working with/for.

-what impact do you need me to make during the first month?
HR BS question. During the first month I expect you to NOT make an ass of yourself. I expect you to be learning at a feirce clip, but not helping too much.

-How long do FACS normally stay in their positions and where do they go from here in your company?
This is a really good question, but you should be careful in asking it that you don't appear too mercenary. Couching this in line of "I am interested in working at this company for awhile and want to grow here" rather than "what can you do for me". Fine line to walk, but I like the thought process here.

Do you have any tips for me?

Yes. Shocked?

I rated your questions from the bottom up, so to the extent there is order in my comments that is they way my responses should be read.

Your questions are, as I said, very similar to everyone elses questions. I have no problem with this, as the generic question that I ask "do you have any questions for me" invites this.

I would add to the list "What haven't you heard me say that will help me get the job" or something like that. You want to check in with people and see how you are doing. If your flopping, hear what they are thinking and then make changes to un-flop yourself. If you are doing well, or they say something complimentary, then try not to say anything to screw that up.

Write thank you notes to each person individually after you talk to them. Make sure you get enough contact information to do this.

Make sure you spell and type in proper english when writing those notes. We have killed more than one person because they write like they text ( or like I write this Blog). Proper English is the Proper thing to do here.

Be yourself. I can't say this enough. I really mean this. Know as much as you can about the company etc.... but at the end of the day just be yourself. If you don't get the job that way, then you probably shouldn't get the job. harsh, but true. You won't be happy.

Don't BS too much. It is annoying to listen to and helps nothing. Don't say too little either as then you are terse. Yes I realize this is unhelpful advice as I didn't really say anything....

After you answer a question - follow up with "did that answer your question?" as especially on phone calls it is hard to see peoples responses and too know what they are thinking. Doing this too much is annoying, but if it was a long answer it is appropriate. If it is "Yes" then it isn't.

Don't assume you know what they are going to ask, and make sure you answer what they do ask. See point above, but I really want to make sure that you don't interrupt them before they are done talking and start answering something they don't care about. You are likely smart, but you still don't know what I am thinking until I am doing saying it. NEVER assume you know what I am thinking. Scientists are HORRIBLE at this point. I have been horrible at it and continue to work on this aspect of my dealing with the world. My wife whacks me in the head when I do it to her, which does prove an effective reminder. Most customers/interviewers don't do that - they just think you are a pompous ass.

Ummmm....Go to it. You sound in writing like you should be fine.

Did I miss anything? Would you like more random ramblings directed your way?

Tell me how it goes please!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

...why i didn't respond that quickly to comments

Normally the blog emails me when their are comments...

but it didn't.

I would really like to blame someone, but when you switch email addresses and don't update the field on blogger you are kind of out of luck on the whole "blame" thing.

So - the 1 month delay in asking a question is pretty much bloggers fault for not having the ability to psychicly detect that I had a new email address.

...My hiring is done.

My new person starts soon! She accepted and I am very psyched.

No Ph.D. but a lot of application scientist and lab experience + some time in marketing.

SO - the take home message here.... Experience matters. If you want to be in this game you have to start playing. Don't do a post-doc!!!!!

Application Scientist Salary...response to a comment

in response to about 3 posts ago I got a bunch of comments. Previosly answered 1, but here is the response to the second (from Dapi).

?He? posts asking about Salary range for an application scientist, and notes that all they tell him on the salary is that it is "negotiable".

Spells out his qualifications, but to sum it up.

Ph.D. + 3yrs Post-Doc looking for App sci position.
Is $80K fair for 70% travel (or how does $80K stack up?).

I think $80K is the right ball park in this day and age. You might bump it up a bit ($5K or so) and I would suggest always tacking 5 or so on to what they offer and asking for that. My mileage on this varies, and the recruiter should be able to give you some guidance on this if you say to them "I want 5 or so more" the recruiter will give you a great first pass read on whether or not that will fly. Either way - I think you are in the right ballpark.

Other negotiation points. You don't have any leverage on the vactation time, as they know you are in academia and don't really formally have any. You will get 2 weeks + other random holidays (personal holidays + company holidays). Some companies will give you 3 weeks but I haven't seen that so much at the application scientist level. I would be hard pressed to defend giving you that.

Signing bonus. Haven't heard of that for App scientists, but keep in mind that I would only know about it for 3 companies and one of them was a start up. Maybe other companies do that but I would doubt it. OR if they did, I wouldn't see it as that much money. If they don't have to relocate you, then maybe you can ask for $5K - $10K but I haven't heard of that being done.

Other things to ask about / ensure is that you have connectivity to corporate email from home. If you will based out of home, ask for help setting up a home office. Some companies do this and some don't. Since I don't know what company you are looking at I can't help you on guidance for that. Those that don't, don't. Asking doesn't hurt though. Asking at this stage may even show some foresight. If you will have an office in some building of theirs, then you will likely not get help setting up a home office (in fact I have never heard of this for an application scientist).

Email is your friend, so make sure you either have a blackberry or always stay in hotels with high speed internet. I have a blackberry, but still will flat out refuse to stay in a hotel without high speed internet. Getting large power point files moved around, or getting your email synced before you get on a plane requires high speed internet. To the extent you can - just say No!

On a side note here.... you will note that in summing up your qualifications I didn't talk about how many papers you have. ***News flash.... It doesn't matter anymore. Once you make this jump, and in fact when I interview people for these positions, I don't care. I care how you present to me. I care how you dress. I care how you sit in the chair and act while talking to me. I don't care about how many papers you have. I *need* you to be confident of what you are talking about, and be able to project that to me (thus my above comments about how you sit in chair etc...). I need you to be able to break the complex down to the simple quickly and succinctly and not make me feel stupid when you did it. If you make me feel stupid, I won't give you money (if I am a prospecitive customer).

Your proven track record of negotiation, if in academia with you negotiating lab buys, is not something that you will reference in a few years if you go in to this business. I was a lab manager before I got my Ph.D. and set up a new lab from putting the walls in up. The deal size is trivial next to what you need to be doing on the business side. Maybe $1M total in deals? If you are at a good company you better be involved in more than this per year or they aren't making money. On the sponsorship for conference side, I would use the people that you got the money from to ask questions about the business side of things. They are from the money side, so ask them questions as well. Ask them for job leads if nothing else... If you talked them out of money, they obviosly have some respect for you.

My only word of warning about going the App scientist route, and I give this to people interviewing with me and learned it through personal experience as well. TRAVEL SUCKS. I love it, I continue to be on the road a lot, and I firmly beleive that if you are in the customer facing/thinking side of a company that you better get out of your office and on the road. BUT - 70% travel is brutal. Make sure that if you are seriously involved with someone (wife, husband,boyfriend,girlfriend whatever...) that they are going to be able to handle this. Make sure you stay in touch with them once you start doing it. If you haven't done it before, you have absolutly no idea what you are in for. You don't know about all the airport lounges and the secrets of getting upgrades to first class etc... but you will learn! and you will either love it, and keep going, or you will hate it and quit in a year. Right now you have no idea which it will be as there is nothing I can say to you that will prepare you for it. It is something that either works or doesn't based on your personality and the personality of the people that you care about. I can only say to you that you really really really really need to keep in touch with anyone who you care about, as it is very easy to get wrapped up in the job and miss signs that you are drifting apart. I have seen several divorces come of people moving in to this and the significant other not being real psyched about it. It *IS* different than spending a stupid amount of time in the lab (and I didn't think it would be....)

My last word on taking this job is to recommend/require that you join every frequent flyer/renter/stayer program for every airline they make you get on, every hotel they make you stay in, and every rental car agency that they make you rent from.

I will never pay for a personal rental car again from either hertz, avis, or budget. OR if I do, I love the amount of vacation I was on.... I have flown my in-laws, my parents, and several grad students across the country several times first class. This gets you brownie points! AND I have taken a couple of vacations to Hawaii and not had hotel bills. You owe it to yourself to make sure you accumulate every perk you can, as on your down time is when you get rewarded for all that. My next thing is me+family free first class flight to Hawaii, 1 week in suite at Hilton, with free convertable car all courtesy of racked up points/miles. Don't miss out on this. This includes getting a credit card (or cards) that get you hotel or airline miles so that you rack them up all over the place.

Application Scientist is a supurb job for a few years. You should burn out after 2-3 years, but you are then all set to go in to marketing or business development. You are NOT set to go back to the lab, so make sure that you really are OK with not being in the lab anymore.

Friday, June 02, 2006

response to question.

In a comment here, a question was asked and I will answer here.

Summing up the question:
Person has MBA and business experience in NON-biotech.
Getting toward completion of Ph.D.

Would I hire them.

YES> This is exactly what I am looking for. You would, subject to all the parts of your resume I can't see, get a phone interview.

Non biotech-business experience is fine. The science background is the key for my position. Coupling that with some indication that you understand the whole idea of making a profit is what I am looking for. Whether that profit is in our business, or some other business doesn't really make a big difference to me.

A post-doc will do NOTHING for your move to business. Take ANY job in the business side of a company but do not do the Post-doc. Take product management positions or something, but don't go to the bench. Field application scientists or some such.

Do NOT take a position in a company at the bench. It is VERY rare for someone to be moved from bench to business within a company. Maybe that isn't true at other companies, but I have seen, and been told, that enough times that I think it is true. At our company it is totally true.

...yet more about interviewing, and my job offers

Last post, I mentioned that I put an offer out to a guy. On getting the offer he said " I really only talked to my fiance about moving as a 'theoretical' possibility" and so he had the weekend to think and in the course of the weekend 'theoretical' became real and he evaporated.

SO...please, anyone, before you go interview for a job you would have to move to take, talk to everyone who would impact that decision and get it straight that you *could* move if you got the job. Really...becuase if you do get the job offer and then pull this crap you will have your name lodged in my head as an unorganized person for quite awhile. When I run in to you at some point in the future (small industry...) I will be remembering this. Basically, a bridge that didn't have to be burned was burned. Not terminally, but it is the impression I have of that guy now.

I have another offer out to a person, so we will see if I am moving this forward or not. Hope so.

On another note, I was interviewing a guy for a product manager position in our company and during the interview he answered his cell phone, put his hand up and asked me to wait a second, talked for five minutes (organizing his vacation) and then hung up.

I was blown away. I thought that this was a joke and that you only read about this on joke sites, but it really happened today. He won't be getting the offer, but we all did enjoy comparing the horror stories about how the interviews went at the end of the day. He did something bad in every interview. He could not have, if he had tried, been more rude during the course of the day. I really hope he was trying to do it, as if it was accidental or unintentional then they guy is just mind blowingly bad.