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Academia (vs. Industry)

Pressure For Academia?

I have enough time today for a quick question, one that’s also being asked by several people on Twitter. Back when I was a grad student, there was definite pressure on people to seek an academic position. I saw more than one group where this pressure was applied selectively to the more promising-seeming grad students/postdocs as well. The professors involved didn’t seem to object to an industrial (or at least nonacademic) career, but they did apparently feel that the best of the bunch really should go off and get faculty positions somewhere.

So is this still the case? I’m sure that it varies from place to place and from group to group, but I’m curious to know if this attitude has wound down a bit over the years. Many things have changed. For one thing, tenure-track faculty jobs are harder to come by than ever, and funding for such a career – never easy – has not gotten any easier. Have the underlying attitudes and assumptions changed, though? I realize that the comments on this will be a sack of anecdotal data, but I think it’ll be interesting to see, nonetheless. . .

63 comments on “Pressure For Academia?”

  1. Hap says:

    It wasn’t from my advisor, but he did lots of startups, so he likely knew more of the score than some others.

    Doesn’t the push to go into academia (where there aren’t so many jobs with research and tenure) sort of speak of a blindness to the job market and to what your students want? If you want to have kids and a family, it’s possible but likely harder in academia. In grad school it’s “chemistry all the time” but that doesn’t mean that everyone (or even the best students) want to be that exclusive forever.

    1. Anon says:

      “If you want to have kids and a family, it’s possible but likely harder in academia.” I guess that depends on the person and the job. One can argue that the turbidity of industry these days makes it harder to have kids and a family there. The job uncertainty and number of moves one likely will do in their career seems to be more disruptive to me. Yes tenure is an uncertainty but you can still live a balanced life and see your kids pretty regularly if you make that a priority.

      1. Anon says:

        I just know that I had to kill 2 of our potential children (abortions) while being “between jobs” in industry and in poverty for extended periods.

        1. Stormy Danielz says:

          LOL

        2. Jane says:

          That is so sad. I am sorry you were in such a bad situation.

        3. me says:

          Mate have you heard of contraception? Very cheap in the 20th century.

          1. Anon says:

            We were doing anal so no need, but you can imagine our surprise.

      2. Hap says:

        I’m sorry. I guess I assumed that the push for tenure would take a lot of time (generally in the sweet spot for having kids), and the job market for academics is also ungood (and that the assumption of living only for chemistry was more prevalent), but I didn’t think enough about the job uncertainty in industry as well.

      3. Derek Lowe says:

        That turbidity can at least be mitigated a bit – with a hit in cost-of-living, of course – by taking a job near one of the hub areas. That way, if something goes wrong, you at least have a shot at new jobs that won’t involve calling the moving truck.

        1. Marie says:

          Also, industry generally has good severance packages. I’ve had a couple nice, extended vacations courtesy of reorganizations.

  2. Project Osprey says:

    Somewhat, I feel its becoming a tale of 2 labs. Because there are fewer places you can only really make the jump from post-grad to junior staff member via dead-mans-boots. That can require you to work as a post-grad for many years and the only way you can be certain of that is to be part of a big group that’s good at getting funding.

    The upshot I think, is that new academics more often than not come from a smaller number of ‘elite’ groups. Promising chemists without such connections tend to see academia as impenetrable.

    At the same time I feel like the barriers for experiences industrial chemists going into academia (or visa versa) are becoming higher – I certainly don’t hear of it happening anymore.

    Then again, maybe I’m just cynical.

  3. Anon says:

    I graduated from UC Berkeley in 2016. Our PI didn’t pressure us in either direction and was fully supportive of whatever career path we chose. That being said, he definitely had a certain sense of pride in having one of his graduate students/postdocs take a faculty position.

    To be honest, I did not have the resume (or ambition?) to even consider applying for faculty positions, and I certainly wasn’t interested in pursuing a postdoc to further that end. From my time in graduate school, I really didn’t notice too much pressure on students to seek a position in academia (I’m certain this is not the case at all chemistry departments). The students who wanted to become professors were motivated themselves and didn’t really need a PI to steer them on that path.

    To your point about selective pressure, I feel my experience almost seems the opposite. There were many extremely talented chemists who ended up taking industrial positions without even the thought of becoming a PI. I am not sure if this is more a reflection on changing times or just a different attitude at Berkeley. Maybe a combination of both.

  4. Anon # 3 says:

    Once my PI had said to me ‘you must aim to what I have achieved’ I have left the lab for industry not to hear that again. Don’t know how much pressure that was.

  5. JB says:

    Just graduated in April with my PhD. I’d say the vast majority of grads from my department never pursue academia because academia simply can not absorb that many PhDs anymore. Advisors in my department seemed very open to letting their students pursue whatever they want. The department actively pushed for internships that could last anywhere from a summer up to half a year to even a year. They held talks from alumni industry and from industry professionals to directly discuss how to go about looking for professional jobs and the transition from academia to industry. The university also held numerous job fairs with industry present, held tons of talks about careers besides academia and had all sorts of workshops and networking events almost every week related to finding jobs. They even had many consulting, banking, and silicon valley firms come in. A push for academia? No. Heck, the university and PIs barely pushed you to even stay in a science related field. They just want to see their grads gainfully employed these days.

  6. zeltm says:

    My advisor was pretty understanding of my desire to move to industry, though I also ended up quitting ABD because of depression. My advisor was in the Aeronautics department, FWIW – there probably is more acceptance in the engineering world versus natural science.

  7. Wavefunction says:

    My graduate school advisor invented a bestselling drug and was heavily involved with drug discovery research, so he had absolutely no issues with his students going into industry. My feeling is that the attitude tracks well with generation, with younger professors probably being more open to their students pursuing industrial work. However I can also see how it may not be the case; many students absorb their advisors’ attitude into a hermetically sealed box and can be equally entrenched.

    1. john adams says:

      Are you referring to RBS?

  8. anon says:

    I am not sure how it is in the rest of the world, but at my university you cannot get you PhD without teaching undergrads for a non-trivial amount of time (besides researching). Hell, even MSc students are incentivized to take part in teaching BSc students by taking on temporary lab assistant positions.

    So I guess you could call that a push towards academia, but it is also a product of meager funding and simply not having enough PIs/postdocs to be able to teach all the undergrads.

  9. An Old Chemist says:

    Wikipedia has got short bio of famous organic chemists, and these have links for their ‘Notable Students’, which are ONLY for people in academia. So, the professors in-charge and the rest of the scientific community does seem to take pride in only (mainly) academia people. I have often heard people underlining the fact that most of Woodward’s students went into academia. Besides, most of the small start-up pharmaceutical companies (biotech) are founded by people in academia,based on their lab’s findings (Schreiber, Nicolaou, David Liu, Andy Myers, Peter Schultz, to name a few. So, it could well be that the brightest minds have ALWAYS been going to academia and not industry!

    1. anon1 says:

      LOL! Wikipedia has the perfect entry for what you just described.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In-group_favoritism

    2. Ray says:

      I’d guess that this has more to do with the fact that the discoveries and achievements that happen in industry are often accredited to the team or the company (if disclosed at all) rather than the individual, while the opposite tends to be true in academia. How much of the success of the big names that you mentioned comes down to the work of the PI alone?

    3. Wavefunction says:

      This also speaks to the fact that different kinds of intelligence are needed for success in academia vs industry, and the world as a whole tends to value one kind as a “higher” form of intelligence. As smart as Woodward or Schreiber or Danishefsky may be – and I don’t doubt their intellectual acumen at all – I can bet that they are generally going to be as competent or maybe even less so compared to a good industrial scientist in managing a large team in industry. In industry it’s not enough to have the most original scientific idea; you have to raise money, do deals, manage people and implement ideas in ways that may not be particularly elegant but that are cost-effective and practical. It’s hard to see why even the brightest academic would be exceptionally good at these tasks. And this probably goes to the heart of the problem: the inability of many academics to comprehend that intelligence and skillsets different from their own may be hard to acquire or valuable for society.

      1. Anon says:

        This is a great point! I would argue this is changing a little bit based on the tenure/funding crunch. Great ideas alone are not getting funded anymore, they need to be somewhat validated first. As a new faculty member you need to be able to motivate and manage effectively to get over that hurdle. If you are not able to be efficient, cost effective, and a good manager then it is very difficult to get the results to get funded and thereby get through tenure. I have seen a culture change over the past 5 years of those that fly through tenure vs those that don’t. I also have seen a shift in work-life balance that is making some academic positions more attractive, but that change is much slower….

      2. An Old Chemist says:

        Wavefunction, You are clearly advocating that Ph. D. plus MBA is required (preferable) to succeed in industry. Most of the people in C-suits will agree with you, but not the hard-core chemists, like the ones in the process chemistry departments at Merck.

    4. @non says:

      pretty sure the overwhelming number of fda approved medicines have come from industrial labs and not from academic labs. this would indicate that the brightest minds are in industry, not academia. care to respond old chemist?

      1. Hap says:

        They have different purposes, though – academic chemists aren’t trying to discover drugs but things that (among other things) lead to find new drugs. Their lack of finding new drugs simply says that if they aren’t trying to do it much, they don’t do very well.

      2. An Old Chemist says:

        @non: I once came across a quote from Ron Breslow, he is a great professor and also the discoverer of a big drug, SAHA. The quote is, “To make a product, you need skills, hard work, and luck.” I have myself worked on projects where the most logical compounds failed miserably and an unexpected side product went to phase-I. The Nobel laureate, James Black, has said that he discovered Propanolol because he went to lab looking for the bottle of alpha naphthol but could not find it and so he made the beta naphthol analog, which is Propanolol. Alpha naphthol had been predicted by the sound logic! So, you can write off most of the drug discovery as a search for a needle in a haystack, by a blind man, with left hand. Whereas, in academia, to find new reactions and do clever synthesis, no luck is involved. So, it seems that the brightest minds do indeed go to academia:
        http://blogs.sciencemag.org/pipeline/archives/2017/10/27/ron-breslow-1931-2017

        1. @non says:

          Old Chemist – Anyone can come up with a useless reaction or synthesize a natural product that will never produce any value to society. Back in the stone age when you were born structure guided drug discovery did not exist. If you think medicinal chemists make a bunch of random compounds and hope to get lucky you might want to get checked out for dementia. No doubt there are some brilliant academics, but if you want to have a real impact on society and help bring new medicine to sick people it takes a cross-disciplinary team of experts and tens of millions of dollars each year. If you think every experiment academics run produces the exact result they expected you really are a complete ignoramus. By the way to say “I have myself…” is redundant, just say “I have”.

          1. anon says:

            @non – And by chance, where did those medicinal chemists come from and what type of projects did they work on? Maybe a useless reaction method or a natural product of no value….. The role of academics is also to mentor and train not solely to commercialize. Surely there are PIs who try and blend the two and one can argue thats a better venture, but that is still quite rare!

        2. Adonis says:

          If academics have it right that industry is populated with second-tier scientists, then it is a scary thought that these are the people that invent and produce new drugs. I wonder if academics think twice before they pop a pill.

    5. johnnyboy says:

      Well for one thing, people in industry don’t spend their time sucking up to each other, giving each other awards, and comparing the size of their p…ublication lists. Academia favors individuals, industry favors teamwork. You don’t get wikipedia entries for successful teams.

    6. Isidore says:

      This probably has to do with creating an “academic family tree”, through which one can trace one’s academic lineage to a famous scientist of old. One’s advisor was a student (or post-doc) of some professor who in turn had been student (or post-doc) of some other professor, and so on back to some famous 19th century German or British chemist (or if one is sufficiently imaginative back to Aristotle). The implicit assumption here, of course, is that only academic scientists are capable of training and mentoring younger scientists, and there may be some truth in this, since in industry if you are ambitious you are aiming for your boss’ job; I have personally witnessed two instances in which a new hire rose rapidly enough so within a few years he was the boss of the person who hired him. This sort of thing does not happen in academia.

    7. Project Osprey says:

      Wikipedia requires you to prove the notability of an individual in order for them to have a biography. This is much easier to do for an academic.

      For one thing most awards are geared to academia (i.e. most Nobel prize winners are academics). Also big discoveries in academia are touted far and wide but in industry tend to be carefully guarded.

      They’re very different worlds

  10. Anon says:

    I wasn’t put under any direct pressure from my PI to stay in academia, but am sure he was expecting me to stay, and disappointed when I got out.

    Mind you, I think he could also understand why – I hated writing papers and grant applications.

  11. Anonymous says:

    When I was a grad student, I definitely saw that there was a selection and pre-selection process. Some students were pre-ordained to be academic superstars (regardless of how their PhD research turned out).

    If you were not selected to be one of those, it meant that were selected NOT to be one of those. But they don’t tell you that when you join the group.

    One good post-doc friend of mine was supposed to be academic track. He had been pre-selected when he was an undergrad. At the last minute, he opted out. Within two weeks, a few Profs in the department helped him to get ten industrial interviews and ten industrial offers. (Based on patents, publications and general buzz, his industrial career was pretty lackluster.)

  12. Spider says:

    From my lab only the most excellent thought leaders can be Pis. The only above average ones can be pis too but only at a PUI and the toxic ones can go to industry but they won’t do well

  13. Poison Ivy League says:

    Oh yeah, the profs at my Ivy League graduate school refused to write supporting letters unless the students were applying to “elite” postdocs or big company industry jobs that they “approved” of. Anyone who wanted anything else (non-traditional career, startup etc) was seen as a blemish on their alumni page and browbeaten to get in line.

    1. The Iron Chemist says:

      On the other hand, this could be interpreted as the faculty trying to stop the student from making a bone-headed decision. Say, a student who wants to pursue an R1 position deciding that he or she has to work for a non-productive and/or unfunded lab. It happens more with undergraduates.

      1. Curt F. says:

        In my book, it is unethical for an educator to refuse to write recommendation letters for a trainee solely based on *to whom* the letter will be sent. If you don’t want to recommend a student for a position because you have qualms about the quality of the student, fine, but if you don’t want to write a letter for someone because you have qualms about the quality of the position they are applying to, then that is a big problem. Your job is to counsel your trainees on what you think is best, and to tell potential employers what you’ve learned about the trainee in your time working with them. It’s abusive to withhold recommendation solely to steer which opportunities come your trainees’ way.

  14. Skippy says:

    Speaking as someone in the middle of his PhD. My PI has been very supportive of whatever career path people in our lab want to take. His main criteria is that he want us to do a good job at whatever it is we end up doing. However, this is also the (clearly expressed) understanding that if we do want to pursue academia we have to be performing at a certain level in order to get a top post-doc position/be competitive in general.

  15. MrRogers says:

    In my lab (major Boston institution, 3 post-docs, 1 graduate student, 1 undergraduate, 2 technicians) I actively encourage all of my people to make connections for and pursue industry positions. I see similar efforts on the part of other PI’s at my institution and adjacent institutions. Each of my post-docs comes from overseas and from smaller institutions and none had seriously considered industry positions until they arrived here. My sense is that in major industry centers, industry is viewed favorably, while that image has not yet arrived at other institutions.

  16. anon says:

    In Canada, a full 1/3 of your baseline science grant is scored on the number of highly qualified personnel you have ‘produced’ (along with 1/3 each for prior pubs and your specific proposal). Needless to say this has encouraged larger groups. A student from your lab finding an “impactful” tenure track position is worth triple those that found an industry job, or a postdoc.

    1. anon says:

      That sounds like a great way to help entrenched big profs keep all the money. Wonderful.

  17. Chemist says:

    I graduated from a large state school that has a decent Chem dept, but not an elite program. Most of the profs had either been there forever (few industry connections) or just gotten there from academic backgrounds (no industry connections), so really the only help you could get was getting a post-doc. Profs were glad to write letters for industry jobs but that was about it. Definitely agree with the earlier commenter that there was a large measure of pride for any student who went on the academic path.

  18. Mister B. says:

    Here a quick answer from France here.
    I have been told (myself and others Ph.D. Students I consider as brilliant) to consider a career in the industry and to avoid as much as possible our local academic research.

    I am surrounded by young academic reseachers (+/- 2 years in the academic) and none of them is doing Science anymore. Requests for financing, meeting about to get funds, debrief about fundings …

    Interestingly, those academics who are advising to move to the industry are also willing to work with it. Having a student in a company is a good starting point to reach this purpose. Money is the main reason, indeed.

    1. Martin says:

      @Mister B:
      Having graduated in France in 2013, I can say exactly the same:
      My PI was proud of former student going to academia, but also of students going to industry, perhaps even more of the latter. Actually, she was probably prouder of former students at big companies (BASF, Sanofi, etc…) than anything else.
      And yes, having someone to contact in the industry for monies is a big plus, and CNRS does look upon collaborations with industry VERY positively…

      And the comment about being a researcher in France being more about finding money than doing Science is also rather true…

  19. anonymous says:

    I agree with an above sentiment on “pre-selection” of those who go into academia, especially if said students have obtained independent funding or fellowships. In that case, the students are seen with disdain if they leave academia and “throw away their fellowships and training”.

    However, generally speaking, pressure towards academia has substantially lessened. Partly due to the large number of students who pursue other ends and partly because it is getting harder to ignore the obscenely low number of academic positions available.

    Some pressure will remain due to NIH, etc. policies for reviewing a PIs past trainees on grant applications. (and they probably should, as training is a goal for NIH grants)

    Some indirect pressures will always remain simply because academic institutions employ academics as mentors and part of mentoring is some career advise. Most academics can really only provide advise on pursuing the route they choose and experienced, and here, no one is at fault.

  20. HFM says:

    Both my grad and undergrad were done in tech-hub locations, where industry careers were an accepted part of life, and were even encouraged to some extent (with non-academic alums invited back to speak about their careers, internship programs, etc). But there was still a sense that industry was for the lesser lights. If the faculty didn’t see you as a rising star, they could be pretty vocal about steering you towards industry. Which is fair – a marginal job in industry is easier to get, easier to keep, and much better paying than a marginal professorship.

  21. Anonymous says:

    The discussion has brought up post-docs and fellowships, as well. As long as I can remember, CHEMISTRY post-docs who arrived with their own money still worked on the PI’s projects. The “winning” grant proposals were never tested in the lab. Same thing for grad stud fellows. The few exceptions that I can think of were not from groups that I was close to. Chemists: do you know anyone that was allowed to work on their own research projects while indentured to a major PI? Non-chemists: same question.

    In almost every other discipline (biochem, mol bio, cell bio, etc.), I knew people who had written proposals that won fellowships and they carried out that work in their “host” lab (of course, there had to be a fit of some sort). At almost every level of “training”, chemists are still apprentices in the guild working on the master craftsman’s designs and methods.

  22. Micelle says:

    My advisor really did some lab members a big disservice by letting woefully inadequate people go along thinking they had a shot at an academic career. To the point where they passed up industry offers and are now funemployed

  23. Sas says:

    At my institution (UMass Amherst) there is a really big push for students to learn about careers outside of academia. We have internship programs and an office of professional development that is regularly bringing in PhD’s who are currently working in diverse careers (different areas of industry, scientific writing, government/policy, patent law, ect…) and the grad/training program leaders are very realistic about general career probabilities and thus encourage industry and internships.

    With that being said, my PI does nudge the more focused students to consider academia, and I have had my PI respond “you should aim higher than that” when I mentioned a company that I found interesting as a potential place to work…

  24. Chris says:

    Can only speak for the UK but most of the academics I interact with are supportive of careers in both academia and industry. They realise that expanding their contacts/network into industry can be very beneficial in the longer term.

  25. Merck employee...not says:

    Tell your PhD/post-doctoral advisor that you are interested in a career in academia. Boom! Your name is on 20 publications.

    Once you have 20 publications with your name on it, join Merck.

    Best life hack I learnt in order to get a boat-load of publications under your belt… just tell your advisor you want to join academia.

    1. john adams says:

      “…join Merck”….until they let you go in one of the never-ending layoffs….

  26. Some Dude says:

    I did my PhD and postdoc at the most prestigious places in Europe and the US, and there was a tacit expectation to stay in academia, and a tendency to consider the roughly 50% who did not end up becoming group leaders as losers of sort. This made transition into industry psychologically more difficult than necessary, and it took a while to get rid of that attitude.

    The biggest surprise about industry for me was that people were generally much happier and worked a lot less (possibly related).

  27. In Vivo Veritas says:

    Behavioral neuro-endo training here, and neither my grad advisor nor my post doc advisors (PhD in 2000) ever even suggested industry. I think all just assumed that I’d stay in assistant professorships, etc until I got a coupe of grants & tenure.

    My move to industry shocked them all, and gravely disappointed one of them.

    14 years later, they all enjoy the financial benefits of industry collaboration, so I’m guessing the stink has begun to wash off……..

  28. Emjeff says:

    Both environments suck badly. The pressure to bring in cash in academia is enormous, and if you falter for a second , you’re out on your behind. I had a friend at an Ivy League who had 10 solid years of funding. Then 2008 happened, and he lost some funding. Out the door he went. For a discipline like chemistry, I don’t have any idea if you can get funding these days.

    But industry sucks too. You get paid more (much more), but there is no stability, and scientists are not really highly regarded these days. I am in clinical pharmacology, and I see the power and presige going to the MBAs. If I were younger, I would go that route.

  29. Student says:

    My adviser doesn’t care what job you get after graduating. In fact, he could care less if you have a job.

  30. Walter White says:

    In the end I left academia and went into industry. Would I still make the same choice? Yes, I probably would. I came from a very academic-leaning advisor and post-doc advisor. Neither believed that industry was an ideal route to go and that being a post-doc was a more noble goal because “everyone did it”.

    I will have to reiterate the same rule that I have heard since my very first thermodynamics class in undergrad: “There is no free lunch”. I don’t think one position is better than the other, and I’m kind of tired of people saying that academic is crap and industry is amazing and vice-versa. Both really go hand-in-hand, and in an ideal world the lines should be blurred between them.

    I have always been prodded to take an academic career, and I was originally intending to do that. However, after doing a post-doc with a big name chemical biology professor, I found out (the hard way) what kind of person I would need to become to be a successful academic. I’m sure that everyone’s personal experiences will be different from lab to lab, but in this particular case, I did not want to be like him. I did science because I was curious and I liked what I did. I have published a lot of papers in my career (Org Lett, JACS, etc…), but none of them really mattered to me that much; the science always came first. My post doc advisor was *heavily* biased to people that wanted to continue into academia. He was finding them job opportunities left and right, introducing them to all his connections, etc. If you told him that you wanted to pursue industry, he would tell you that no companies are hiring and he would pull support away from your project. I’ve always found people from the best academic institutions to be generally self-centered, manipulative, and greedy. There are exceptions to the rule where some advisors are very supportive and actually decent people to talk to and know. But I would say for the majority, this is not the case. I personally don’t believe that a professor needs to be a total jackass to be successful.

    After being a principal scientist in industry for several years I can say that people, at least on the surface, are treated like human beings, but personal and professional development will vary depending on where you go. There are political games that people play in industry just like in academia. Nepotism and denial of opportunities to certain people happens here. People get paid regardless of course because we all have our own things to take care of and handle. Science wise, I have seen “leaders” in industry who really don’t understand the science at all, and I wouldn’t trust them to put on a lab coat the right way. On the flip side, I have known some colleagues who are very sharp thinkers, and I would pay money to see them argue the best academics into a corner. Though most scientists in industry are PhD holders, a doctorate is no barrier to sometimes astounding idiocy. If I had to pick between the two, I would still choose industry. However my view point is no longer through the rose-tinted glasses they used to be of course. Best advice is a paradox: Don’t believe anyone.

  31. PM1 says:

    I can only speak from my personal experiences. There was definitely (is still?) a push to go for academic positions from prominent professors, albeit only for students who they deemed are qualified. Both my Ph.D. and postdoctoral advisors were distinguished in their respective fields (members of NAS), but their labs were not powerhouse factories that would generate loads of offsprings in academia (ala Woodward or Corey).

    Ph.D. advisor: pulled me aside on several occasions to delineate how I was most suited for an academic career

    Postdoctoral advisor: probably always assumed that I was interested/destined to pursue a career in academia. When I first approached him for a recommendation letter for an industrial position, he commented/stated incredulously: “You mean you are interested in a job?!” and briskly walked away. Perhaps this was just his initial shock moment; however, he was more than gracious to write letters on my behalf to all positions I applied to.

    In the end, I took an industrial position instead of pursuing an academic career (even though I must admit I honestly do not know if I made the correct decision).

  32. Anonymous Post-Doc says:

    I graduated in 2016 from a top 10 Chemistry program. My advisor is one of the more supportive professors in the department so they had no issue with me perusing an industry career but at the same time, as a life-long academic, could not really help me either. 70+ applications later, I managed to land a post-doc in Big Pharma. It reinforced my decision to go to industry despite the project “failing”. Interestingly, the feedback I got from the top scientist in my area was to go do a second post-doc, preferably in academia, because some people just aren’t great experimenters and are better suited for an academic career. I ignored them and I’m starting a full-time job in a few weeks at a different company.

  33. Jay says:

    My PI’s generally supportive of going into industry, but he definitely couldn’t help me do so the way that he could use his connections to help students who wanted academic jobs. And yeah, there’s definitely different expectations/hopes for students who do better in grad school than others.

  34. Marc Piquette says:

    I’ve never noticed any pressure from my department, certainly not from my adviser on career path choice. As long as good work was getting done in lab, she was happy to support you in any direction.

    Had speakers from other universities regale us with why everyone should do a postdoc. Not convinced.

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