Season 1 Episode 3

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Adam wears many hats at his start-up biotechnology company. On paper he’s a Field Application Scientist like Alli from our first episode; in reality, however, his job responsibilities span every aspect of the company’s mission—from research and development to marketing and sales. 

After his postdoc lab closed due to a lack of funding, Adam felt discouraged to continue through academia’s highly competitive environment and decided to explore other careers. He applied to every job available, landed his first gig at a start-up biotechnology company that was not a great fit, before he found his current position where he feels comfortable enough to curse openly during company meetings.

In this episode of Translate Your Training, Adam talks to us about the importance of finding your right fit in your career, no matter the job title. We learn about what it’s like working at a small start-up company, where your responsibilities go beyond your job description and you have the executives of the company on speed dial. At the end of the episode, Adam enlightens us with the key skills he uses from academia in his current career and he provides us, and all graduate students listening, with valuable advice.  

Main points and take-aways from this episode:

  • Adam works for a start-up biotechnology company as a Field Application Scientist. Since his company is a small start-up, his list of responsibilities is longer than what is commonly seen of Field Application Scientists in larger companies. He works with the technology his company produces at all levels of the sales pipeline, from research and development to marketing and sales. 
  • One of the pros of working at a start-up is that you can speak directly with the executives rather than having to go through the hierarchy of larger companies.
  • The smaller workforce can also mean more workload for you as an individual including doing things outside of your job description. Adam mentioned his temporary assignment to global FAS which meant he had to provide support to clients around the world, sometimes outside of standard business hours. 
  • Every start-up company comes with the risk of the company folding. 
  • Finding your right fit in a company makes all the difference. When you have a good team that cares about you, then the work-life balance becomes part of the company culture. If they value you, they value your time away from them as well.
  • Experimental design, critical thinking, and being well read are the main transferable skills Adam says are important for a career as a Field Application Scientist at a start-up biotechnology company. 
  • It’s important to come off as knowledgeable and confident during interviews. Adam says that being well read can help build your confidence. 
  • Highlight and oversell assay development in your resume and during interviews. Most companies are looking for this.
  • Adam wants all graduate students to know that what you are bringing with you from academia and what you are providing in your career is valuable. You are valuable.

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