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

Monday, July 07, 2008

Random questions I remember being asked...

People have asked a couple of other questions, and I tried to save them, but they are all buried in comments on old posts. SO - some random answers that I think are linked to comments that are posted that I can't immediately find... AND - some commentary on some other things going on.

I went to the BIO trade show in San Diego. It is unlike any other show I have ever been to. For example - lunches were served and the speakers were governors of states (Mass. and CA. for example). For the night time parties, they rented out several city blocks (the gas lamp distict) or an aircraft carrier (state of Georgia did that...) UNREAL. The freebies were absurd. In between all of that party stuff was serious business. I met with approximately 12 billion people. All of your major countries and universities and companies were there with business development people. An unbelievable business environment. There was a good talk track as well - but I have to say the reason to be there was for the meetings and not for the talks.

Salary questions
I have realized I can't really answer these. I have given some guidance in the past, but it is such a location dependent, year dependent thing that I don't really think it is helpful. Industry pays better than academia in the US - not sure what else can be said about that. Look for more on salaries in my next post.

"Can I do this...."
Yes. Don't remember the exact questions being asked, but it is likely you can do it. IF you can make a convincing story about why you will be able to do it and how you are qualified. The question really is how long you want to wait and how hard you will push and where you can move to. Someone is, if it is a good idea, likely to let you do it. Answering these questions is really hard, as there are so many other factors that come in to play. The post previous to this one answers one of them, and you see that it is very detail specific.

Bachelors + 3yrs experience vs. Ph.D.

from way back here, on my original post about being an application scientist, I got asked a question about.... well read below here.

I am working for an Australian biotech company based in Brisbane. I graduated from my research honours program 3 years ago now, originally with the intention of going back and doing a PhD after I got some industry experience and some ideas/direction under my belt.

I took a lab level job in the genetics field and have been promoted a few times through the product development team for a year and have now spent a year managing key customers in what is essentially an applications scientist position in a company that sells services/information.

I feel that I will end up stuck in this position forever as the structure is very flat and there is essentially 1-2 middle aged guys above me and then the vice president above them, no where for me to go really. Also I keep getting pulled in to other areas to solve internal operations problems etc, as I am still in touch with what the lab is doing, but I don't want to do this anymore.

I have been looking at some of the advertised applications scientist, field applications specialist etc and feel that I could do these jobs as I have extensive experience with all of the platforms listed and have proven my ability to learn new things in my current/previous positions.

Some of these positions require a PhD OR a Masters with 3 years experience. Do you think someone with an honours degree and 3 years biotech experience in a similar role has a chance? Any advice on how you think I could improve my chances would be greatly appreciated. Ideally I would like to end up in a business development or marketing role.
I cut out the beginning stuff about how great I am...

But to answer the questions. If they are willing to take a masters + 3yrs experience, then I think you are as qualified. Many masters degrees just require a bunch of classes and no bench work (and many require bench work). As a hiring manager, I have no idea if your masters required bench work, and will only know if asked. If I am looking for a position that requires a bunch of bench work + analytical thinking + some years - I am very likely to put "Ph.D. preferred" in the job description. Personally, when I write that, I kind of screen for it automatically. I will fully agree with you that I am missing good people that way, but I have to put some filter on there and that is as good as any.

Back to your question... Do I think you are qualified. Yes. 3 years in a small organization has likely forced you to learn a bunch of random things. Your description says as much. Make sure you play that up.

I think your next role is in product management/marketing. Take your ability to work in a lab - add in field experience - and you should be able to tell a good story to anyone looking for entry level marketing.

Go Lakers...


Way late on that. Boston handed them their rears....

Been buried in work. Now a flurry of comments and updates.