Building bridges from academia by Clifford Lewis #AMSRS 

Live blogged at the #AMSRS 2015 national conference. Any errors or bad jokes in the notes are my own.

  • phd researchers have a bad reputations [yup i don’t say i have a phd unless it is necessary, if i do tell people they think i am pretentious or too smart to talk to. if you’ve met me in person, you know neither of those are true]
  • most phds move into private business, a miniscule number become professors
  • are phds undervalued? are they too detailed?
  • three benefits of hiring a phd – do phds know too little beyong their thesis? do they have any practical skills? perhaps phds are really good at challenging new methods and innovations, not fearful to speak up about new methods;  learn to adapt their style to different people; good at learning a new topic or approach; good at project management; good at self education; definitely persevere with passion
  • “the academic” type of research – phds learn to do lit reviews or as business researchers call it desk research; they know how to design research that is scientific including qualitative research and these skills don’t come from an undergraduate degree; understand scientific rigor; have expert knowledge in an area that can be extremely useful [in my case, my dissertation was on data quality of online surveys]
  • lack real world value and practical skills – research ready, budget management, presentation skills and delivery, quick learners, and your company can charge more money for you
  • [my favourite interview question “what do you think of my painting?” the interviewer wanted to see if i could have a regular conversation not a research conversation]
  • academia vs business – timelines are very different, budget is very different, it’s like learning a new language
  • advice to employers – mould the phd graduate, ensure training from a senior staff member, give feedback and support to recalibrate for business, get phds involved in company thinking, encourage them to talk at conferences
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