Phd Career Stories



PhD Career Stories is a podcast where PhD:s share their stories and experiences in life after a PhD, inspiring you to take the next step in your career development!


  • #126: Katharina Schwaiger on Starting a Career in SciComm While Finishing a PhD

    08/09/2023 Duration: 30min

    Are you a recent or soon-to-be PhD graduate trying to figure out the next steps? Have the events of the past few years gotten you interested in Science Communication? In this episode, you will hear from Katharina Schwaiger, who has been in a very similar spot! Katharina holds a PhD in Biotechnology from the Technical University of Graz and currently works as a science communicator at the Austrian Center of Industrial Biotechnology (ACIB), a position she took on while still finishing her PhD thesis! In this episode, Katharina tells our host, Elisabeth Reithuber, how she became interested in pursuing a career in science communication after working on a SciComm project at ACIB and also after witnessing the disconnect between the scientific community and society, during the pandemic. They talk about Katarina’s experience juggling her new position with the final stretch of her PhD, and about which PhD skills can help you be a great science communicator…and which skills you might need to learn on your own! Katharin

  • #125: Carving Your Own Path: From a PhD to the Director of Business Development with Martin Trinker

    11/08/2023 Duration: 21min

    Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you realized the need for a fresh job title that better aligns with your responsibilities and skills? In this episode of PhD Career Stories, join our host Elisabeth Reithuber as she sits down with Martin Trinker, the Director of Business Development and Fundraising at the Austrian Center of Industrial Biotechnology (ACIB) to explore the intriguing journey of creating a new job position from scratch. Martin's journey exemplifies the potential that lies in identifying gaps, embracing diverse skill sets, and creating one's own path in the professional world. Discover how Martin identified a crucial need and forged his unique position, combining his PhD in biotechnology with a background in economics. As the conversation unfolds, Martin shares valuable advice on networking, continuous learning, and adapting to new challenges.   Don't miss this episode full of inspiration and invaluable insights. Tune in to PhD Career Stories to hear Martin Trinker's incredible jo

  • #124: Simon Rittmann on Innovating on Two Fronts: Founding a Company while Thriving in Academia

    14/07/2023 Duration: 33min

    You might have always wanted to be an academic, but what if your academic research brought up a groundbreaking technology that you knew could dramatically revolutionize industrial processes? Would you choose to stay in academia or pivot to industry and bring your idea to market? Well, it is possible to do both!  This episode’s guest, Simon Rittman, shares with our host, Tina Persson, all about his experience with founding a company while still holding a position in academia. Simon Rittmann is the CSO and co-founder of Arkeon, a biotechnology company focused on alternative food production technologies. Additionally, he serves as the Principal Investigator at the Archaea Physiology & Biotechnology group at the University of Vienna, where he also shares his passion through teaching. Simon and Tina discuss the crucial steps and the strategic planning that go into building a start-up as an academic, highlighting the importance of finding the right people to help bring one’s entrepreneurial vision to life. Fu

  • #123: Round table discussion with EATRIS on the power of soft skills in your professional journey

    09/06/2023 Duration: 52min

    Are you curious why soft skills are crucial for your career growth? Whether you're a seasoned professional or just starting out, this podcast is your gateway to practical tips, real-life examples, and expert insights that will help you harness the full potential of soft skills. In today’s episode, our host Tina Persson will have a roundtable discussion with our guests Patricia Carvajal, David Morrow, Antonio L. Andreu (Toni) and Alex Gardiol from EATRIS. EATRIS is a non-profit, European research infrastructure for translation medicine that focuses on improving and optimising preclinical and early clinical development of drugs, vaccines and diagnostics, and overcoming barriers to health innovation. Join them as they talk about soft skills and reveal why they hold the key to unparalleled success in any professional setting. From effective communication to taking risks and being able to adapt, these hidden gems go beyond technical expertise, empowering you to thrive in the job market. Remember, in the competitiv

  • #122: Joel Baker on exploring the capabilities and limitations of ChatGPT: Tips and Tricks

    12/05/2023 Duration: 36min

    Are you feeling left behind, questioning if your traditional methods are outdated in this era of AI tools? Do you grapple with ethical concerns when utilizing ChatGPT for specific tasks, feeling a sense of cheating? Or do you proudly embrace ChatGPT as your go-to solution for all your needs? Tina Persson and Joel Baker explore the importance of striking a balance between these approaches and bring together their insightful perspectives on these thought-provoking topics.   Joel Baker is an English coach from World English Coaches. His personal journey of learning Spanish ignited a passion within him to assist others in achieving their goal of fluent English communication. Joel specializes in coaching leaders and executives and through his coaching, he has successfully guided and supported over 500 individuals in achieving their goal of fluent English communication.   In this episode, Tina and Joel discuss how you can make use of ChatGPT for your needs but with certain limitations. They also dive into the do'

  • #121: Interview with Bryan Quoc Le on stepping beyond one’s comfort zone

    14/04/2023 Duration: 35min

    Have you ever stepped out of your comfort zone and excelled in something that you thought was not your cup of tea? This is one of the topics out of many that Tina Persson and Bryan Quoc Le share with us in this episode.   Bryan Quoc Le is a food scientist, food industry consultant, and author of 150 Food Science Questions Answered. He earned his PhD in 2020, in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, and ended up starting and growing a food consulting business shortly thereafter. Bryan has been working with well-established companies in the food industry such as Blue Diamond Growers, The Good Food Institute, TurtleTree, Black Sheep Foods, and many others.   In this episode, Tina and Bryan talk about how adversities in life change our paths, and how Bryan with his can-do attitude “made lemonade” when life provided him with lemons. They talk about curiosity, resilience and much more.   Listen to this episode and get inspired by Bryan’s journey.   For the transcript, please click here:

  • #120: Interview with Thalyana Stathis on pursuing a postdoc career in the USA

    10/03/2023 Duration: 43min

    Are you looking forward to pursuing a postdoc career in the USA? Are you living in Europe, but dreaming of a long-term career in the USA? Are you looking forward to pursuing a postdoc career in the USA? Then this is an excellent episode for you as Tina Persson and Thalyana Stathis extensively discuss the application strategies for a postdoc position in the USA.  Thalyana Stathis is the Associate Director of the Office of Career and Professional Development for postdocs and PhD students at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in NYC. As a career advisor, she supports hundreds of students and postdocs in each stage of their career planning. She also directs workshops for career exploration and navigating the job market for all academic and non-academic career paths. Tina and Thalyana talk about the common mistakes that many PhDs do when applying for a postdoc application. One of the great tips from Thalyana is about how to use your current network to reach out to your future research lab/company. Thal

  • #119: Interview with Sajni Haria on transitioning from a PhD in Chemistry to a Business Development Manager

    10/02/2023 Duration: 29min

    During your PhD, have you ever thought if the world actually needs your research? Would people want to use your product? In this episode, Tina Persson and Sajni Haria discuss the entrepreneurial mindset that PhDs can train themselves with if they start thinking of the bigger picture of commercialising their research. Sajni also reminds us of how PhDs do not just have an academic skill set but also a vast set of transferable skills that can help them translate their research.  Sajni holds a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Birmingham and currently is a Business Development Manager at the National Institute of Health and Care Research. She supports the Life Science industry to navigate the UK’s clinical research ecosystem whilst providing her business acumen. Sajni also talks about how she transitioned from a doctoral researcher to a Business Development Manager where she helps to push research technologies forward, and finds opportunities for implementing these technologies in the real-world setting by

  • #118: Interview with Sara Andersson about the conflict between her PhD interests and her personality

    13/01/2023 Duration: 26min

    ’I really never knew how I felt in the lab, what does it really mean [for me]?... I’m a creative person, I love to meet people [and] I realised that being in the lab can be quite lonely’, Sara asked herself during her time as a PhD candidate. In this episode, Tina Persson, the founder of PhD Career Stories, interviews Sara Andersson, who tells us about her PhD journey and how she became a talent advisor at Mpya Sci & Tech. Sara finished her PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences at Uppsala University where she gained experience as a manager, problem-solver and critical thinker. During her PhD years, she learned in detail about the pharmaceutical industry and she also chaired the doctoral committee which tremendously helped her to understand the skills and the challenges faced by a PhD candidate.  In this podcast, Sara also shares how she got her job as a recruiter and how this fits her previous experiences. Since Sara herself has travelled the path of a PhD, she understands the applicant’s journey, which allows

  • #117: Interview with Aditya Parekh on can you trust your gut to guide yourself in your career?

    08/12/2022 Duration: 38min

    ”[On average,] one farmer commited suicide every 30 minutes in India”,  Aditya Parekh remarks as he talks to our host, Tina Persson. This fact is what changed his mind and sparked his interest in changing that reality. He knew he wanted to help them. In this episode, Aditya shares his journey and challenges in the academic transition from Oncology and Molecular Biology to Sustainable Farming in the School of Design at Anant National University, India. Aditya followed his gut when it came to making major career decision after his Postdoc. During his later half of PhD and while pursuing his postdoctoral research, he developed a consuming passion for changing the high number of suicides committed by Indian farmers. Aditya trusted his gut and made a unique transition to Sustainable Farming as an Assistant Professor. His goal is to connect the student community with farmers and sustainable farming practices, to help the farmers with diverse solutions, and to create awareness of their situation. Alongside, he also

  • #116: Interview with Priya Rangan on transitioning from academia while moving out of her comfort zone

    11/11/2022 Duration: 01h02min

    In an age of misinformation, it has become essential for science to reach the public audience in a transparent manner. As a graduate in science, have you ever thought of communicating your science with the world? In this episode, Santoshi Devadas talks to Priya Rangan, who tells us everything about her journey to becoming a scientific communications specialist.  Priya holds a PhD in Biology of Ageing and has 11 years of experience working in academic research and pharmaceutical settings. She transitioned to science communication because she is passionate about it. Priya wants to translate what scientists are doing in a way which makes sense to people who are completely outside of it.  ”...I do believe that scientific communication is a field that is going to change a lot of things within academia, within industry …and the general public,  [who] I think are the most important of all.”, says Priya. At the end of the interview, Priya advised our listeners on the job hunt: Set up your LinkedIn profile as well as

  • #115: How did Marisa Pereira develop resilience and self-confidence during her PhD?

    28/10/2022 Duration: 20min

    Am I fit for a PhD? My experiments are going nowhere. Will I see the end of this PhD? I only have academic experience, how will I find a job in the industry? Have you ever been in these situations? Our guest Marisa Pereira had asked herself these same questions, but today Marisa has successfully completed her PhD and transitioned to the biotech industry as a Project Manager. She also is the co-founder and owner of pic.cell, a unique company that designs textiles inspired by microscopic images.   In today’s episode, Marisa shares with us the highs and lows of her career path. She addresses how she overcame the snags during her PhD, how she started her brand pic.cell, and how - after 2 years of Postdoc experience - she landed in the biotech industry. Throughout the episode, Marisa shares many tips not just to survive but also to thrive while doing a PhD.Last but not least, Marisa shares a vital piece of advice “....enjoy the journey. PhD is only a part of your life. In the end, what is interesting, is the know

  • #114: Interview with Andrew McKee: On quitting a PhD and a journey of self-discovery

    15/10/2022 Duration: 39min

    Sometimes life hits you hard, and then you have to make new decisions you hadn’t imagined making.  Previous goals and ambitions can evaporate, especially after enduring something emotionally, psychologically, and/or spiritually harrowing.  Our guest Andrew McKee was tested by tragedy, on top of career confusion, when he entered an MD/PhD program but realized midway he wasn’t on the right track.  He decided to quit his PhD and embarked on a journey of experimentation and self-discovery.   Today, Andrew has 20+ years of experience in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, diagnostics and healthcare sectors. He is the CEO and founder of Headland Strategy Group, a consultancy firm with offices in the US and Asia and specialising in growth strategy for therapeutics and diagnostics companies. Andrew has previously worked for McKinsey and Company, Google, Genentech and holds biomedical engineering and MD degrees from Duke University. He also is a published writer and holds patents licensed to industry. He is a husband, a f

  • #113: Interview with Isabeau on strategies for making better career decisions

    09/09/2022 Duration: 44min

    Have you spent so much time thinking through career choices that  you could make but ended up making no decision at all? Sounds familiar? This is called analysis paralysis, which is very common among perfectionists. In this episode, one of our PhDCS team members, Santoshi Devadas, had the pleasure to interview Isabeau Iqbal who helps ambitious perfectionists in higher education. She guides them to overcome analysis paralysis and move forward with their goals.  Isabeau is a certified career and life coach with more than 20 years of experience supporting academics and faculty members in their professional growth.  In addition to her career services, she also has her YouTube channel where she regularly shares tips and tricks with her audience.  During the interview, Isabeau provides us with approaches to network efficiently, job searching strategies and ways to better know your values. She also shares the importance of knowing your strengths. Check out the episode resource section to find the links to the stre

  • #112: Mark Herschberg on how to train to become an entrepreneur: Tips and Tricks

    12/08/2022 Duration: 42min

    In this episode, Tina Persson talks to Mark Herschberg about how to learn to become an entrepreneur. Mark’s recently published book “The Career Toolkit, Essential Skills for Success That No One Taught You” gives deeper insights into this topic. Mark has a diverse background ranging from Physics, Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, and Cryptography, to extensive business expertise. His wide experience has enabled him to launch and develop new ventures at start-ups and Fortune 500s. In addition to this, Mark also annually teaches in the Undergraduate Practice Opportunities Program, famously known as MIT's “career success accelerator”. During the conversation, Tina asked Mark about who is an entrepreneur, how to train to become an entrepreneur, and what are the challenges in it. Mark addresses these questions and many more such as describing types of entrepreneurs, the required mindset, and how to find business opportunities. Finally, Tina inquired about his three top tips for starting a company: Crea

  • #111: Interview with Niba about the turning point in her career

    08/07/2022 Duration: 35min

    In this episode, Tina Persson interviews Niba Audrey Nirmal, a science communicator. Niba is dedicated to hosting and producing science videos related to plants, skincare and cosmetics. If you are curious, you can find Niba’s work on her YouTube channel NotesByNiba. During the interview, she shares her career path and talks about her decision to not pursue her PhD further. She also tells us about the factors that drove her to follow a career in Science Communication. In addition, she openly talks about her confidence levels in pre- and post-academia times, her journey in searching for a job outside academia and finally she shares her networking strategies.   At the end of the conversation, she gives some important tips for all graduates: Do not isolate yourself! Be communicative with your support network (family, friends, etc) and ask for help when you need it. They are there to help you! Every time you have an informational interview with someone related to your career interests, ask them to recommend thr

  • #110: Interview with Headhunters from GE Hunter

    10/06/2022 Duration: 39min

    In this episode, Tina Persson interviews Grażyna Żywot-Ciecierska and Ola Samuelsson, who are co-founders of a global company called GE Hunter. They are experts in headhunting, recruitment and client advisory.  They have 20 years of international experience in finding talents for the pharma, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), medical,  industrial and more sectors. Ola Samuelsson specializes in roles within Finance, Supply Chain, IT and Manufacturing, while Grażyna Żywot-Ciecierska’s expertise are roles within General Management, Sales, and Human Resources. In the interview, the guests talk about the headhunting process such as identifying the most suitable candidates to the right companies and positions. This involves a well-structured process where candidates are coached to identify their interests and motivations. Finally, they match what candidates are looking for with the client’s expectations and vice-versa.  At the end of the episode, they share important tips for PhD candidates who are looking for jobs

  • #109: Kathleen Champlin Story

    13/05/2022 Duration: 15min

    Kathleen Champlin graduated with a doctorate in Contemporary American Literature from Ball State University in Indiana (USA) in 2015. Currently, she is an online writing tutor with Pearson's Smarthinking and a copyeditor for several companies. In this episode,  Kathleen will provide an example of a disabled PhD's career transition in the humanities. From her story, you can learn how her disability impacted her academic and professional paths and how she was able to overcome the many barriers that came up along the way. Kathleen will also share how her love for the written word has been a driving force throughout her journey and how she hopes to contribute to a world without ability barriers. Enjoy listening! TRANSCRIPT My name is Kate Champlin. I have a PhD in literature from Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana, USA. I’ve trained in online college teaching, but I’m currently an online writing tutor and copyeditor. My story is unusual for two reasons: I’m changing careers post-PhD and when I went to grad

  • #108: Adriana Bankston Story

    08/04/2022 Duration: 10min

    In this new episode, Adriana Bankston tells us about her career story. Adriana is a Principal Legislative Analyst at the University of California Office of Federal Governmental Relations in Washington, DC, where she serves as an advocate for the university with Congress, the administration and federal agencies. Adriana grew up in a family of scientists, which made her interested in pursuing a research career. She earned her PhD in Biochemistry from Emory University and later on she managed to transition into science policy through a number of volunteering opportunities. While exploring the several options, she became interested in academic training and the connection between science and society and got involved in organizations that work on training the next generation of scientists. Along the way, she held some leadership positions where she built her brand in science policy coupled to training activities and got involved with non-profits that advocate for early career trainees. This has opened a new avenue

  • #107: Rachel Kindt Interview

    11/03/2022 Duration: 45min

    In this episode, Tina Persson interviews Rachel Kindt. After a PhD in Biology and a postdoctoral fellowship, Rachel dove headfirst into the biotech world, working her way from the lab bench to the corporate boardroom over her 20+ year career. Leveraging her scientific training and acquired - some might say improvised! - business savvy, she led drug development teams and built high-performing organizations. Rachel is known as a master facilitator, dedicated coach and mentor, and keen thought partner in scientific leadership. She is now coaching, consulting and co-authoring a book of career advice for scientists. Rachel tells us about her exciting journey and career path that took her from a bench scientist, to leading a research collaboration, to being a leader and project manager in drug development.  Project management is a focus topic in this interview. What is a project manager? What are the skills required for a project manager role? How to grow as a project manager and how long does it take to be good i

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