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!


  • #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

  • #106: João Graça Story

    11/02/2022 Duration: 14min

    João Graça holds a PhD in Biosciences from Cardiff University and currently works as an R&D Project Manager for LIPOR, the entity responsible for waste management in Greater Porto (Portugal). His current projects mostly concern the valorisation of bio-waste to high-value products. João has been involved in the creation and coordination of Smart Waste Portugal Young Professionals (SWYP). This group, currently with 80 members, aims to create work and knowledge sharing networks between professionals working or interested in the circular economy. Prior to his current role at LIPOR, João has attained different positions in the Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Industries including Biological Scientist at LIG Biowise (UK), Early Stage Researcher at AstraZeneca (UK) and Research Intern at Anacor Pharmaceuticals (USA). In addition to the PhD, João also holds a BSc in Biosciences from the Catholic University of Portugal and a MSc in Biochemistry from the University of Porto.   In this episode, João tells us about h

  • #105: Interview with Lauran Fuller

    14/01/2022 Duration: 41min

    In this episode, Tina interviews Lauran Fuller. Lauran is a mother of three, an entrepreneur, and a doctoral student. For the past 7 years, she has owned and operated a dessert bakery in southern Oklahoma. She wants to take the lessons learned along her journey and educate others. She is particularly keen on self-development and work-life balance, as prioritizing her family has posed its own challenges along the way. Focus and determination drive her every step of the way, as her educational pursuit has not slowed her entrepreneurial spirit. Lauran talks about her experience being an entrepreneur and a mother at the same time. Having her own business has given her the flexibility to successfully manage her family. She closes the interview with valuable tips to women having entrepreneurship and leadership career goals: Nail down your passion and your desires Design a life that fits that Pursue it- Don’t let anything stop you and stand in your way Make sure you decide what to do and how to do Find the communit

  • #104: Interviews with Bärbel Tress

    10/12/2021 Duration: 50min

    In this podcast, Tina Persson interviews Bärbel Tress. Bärbel is a Research Career Expert & Advisor. Her main expertise is to advise young researchers how to successfully conduct and complete their PhD studies, how to apply for academic jobs, and how to improve research performance and efficiency. Bärbel has a PhD in Landscape Ecology from Roskilde University, Denmark.  She worked in academia for more than a decade, as postdoc, researcher and lecturer at universities in several European countries. She co-founded TRESS ACADEMIC in 2007 together with her partner. The company helps researchers acquire the complementary skills they need to succeed in academia. Bärbel also co-founded the SMART ACADEMICS Blog which helps young researchers with PhD completion, getting published, and career tips.    Different time points in the PhD journey are discussed in this interview together with the required actions. What to do and what to think about from the first day of signing the contract, at half-way through, the last

  • #103: Interview with Adam Sierakowiak

    05/11/2021 Duration: 45min

    In this podcast, Tina Persson interviews Adam Sierakowiak with a focus topic: the career transition into the pharmaceutical industry. Adam is a medical advisor at MSD since 2018. He has a master's degree in biomedical sciences from the Karolinska Institute, where he later pursued his PhD in neuroscience.  Adam discusses the importance of learning the local language, of communicating the transferable skills as well as of knowing the industry language. He also talks about the importance and the need of networking. A good example on how to be memorable while approaching someone is also given in this episode. Different roles or job titles are found in the medical sector, but what do they really mean and which one suits us most? These are questions addressed in this podcast.   He finally closes the interview sharing three valuable tips for a successful career transition: 1- Network and learn industry language. 2- Highlight your personal skills instead of technical skills 3- Don’t give up  Don’t miss this episode.

  • #102: Interview with Ofer Yizhar Barnea and Elena Itskovich

    15/10/2021 Duration: 55min

    In this episode, Tina Persson interviews Elena Itskovich and Ofer Yizhar Barnea. Elena has a PhD in stem cell biology from the University of Cambridge. She volunteers for ScienceAbroad and has hosted the macadamia podcast. Ofer has a Ph.D in Human molecular genetics. He has served 6 years as an officer and ran a RnD team of physicists  and mathematicians. In parallel he is a co-founder of a company that has been growing and evolving for 3 years now.  The main topics discussed in this podcast are the importance of networking and digital presence. Listen to this episode to learn about how to grow your network both online and offline. Important tips for PhDs are to start the networking process early and to leave the comfort zone to be able to expand their network.

  • #101: PhD Career Stories returns

    16/09/2021 Duration: 08min

    Dear listeners, it is with great joy that we welcome you to our new home and to episode 101 of PhD Career Stories. After a year-long pause, we return to podcast publication with a fresh and functional website, in which you can find our entire podcast catalogue conveniently organized in relevant categories. We believe that storytelling is a powerful way to connect with others and to find one’s own path in career and life. We believe that our new website helps us fulfill our ambition of becoming a storytelling channel, where everyone can participate and share their journey and experience, so we can learn and grow with each other. In today's episode, PhD Career Stories co-founder Tina Persson will share with you insights from our journey that resulted in this new beginning, and update you on our plans for the future.  Enjoy Listening!

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