MSc in Neuroscience (2016)
- What field of work are you in, and what duties are required in your position?
I work in the biotech field! I am a Senior Biosciences Account Manager for Thermo Fisher Scientific. I am expected to effectively manage a territory with revenues around $7.5M across about 150 biotech, industrial, academic and environmental companies. I sell across a large portfolio of life sciences products while also managing customer relationships. I have to respond to customer outreach and prospect for new business in order to achieve my sales goal. As a senior account manager, I also have a mentorship and onboarding responsibility for new hires!
- What challenges did you face when looking for work after graduating?
The biggest challenge I faced was finding something within my field (Neuroscience) that wasn’t at the bench. I absolutely loved my time at Carleton doing research. However it was not the future for me. I wanted to remain within the science community but in a role that was more focused on people. Sales hadn’t ever been a job that I had considered, so I think having a narrow view of industry coming out of academia also added to my challenges. I was very lucky though that Thermo Fisher was hiring near the end of my master’s degree and the timing really worked out well.
- How did you arrive at your current position?
Like I mentioned, I was very lucky to stumble into this position posting when looking for jobs. I started just over three years ago as an Account Manager and I have not looked back! I was promoted at the beginning of this year into the senior role and inherited larger accounts and additional duties in the office.
- What advice would you give to a graduate student looking to follow a career path similar to yours?
I think the biggest piece of advice I can give is to be open minded about what industry jobs can look like! I definitely do not feel like I am in a “traditional” sales role and I really didn’t see myself in this position when I was graduating three and a half years ago. I feel very lucky to see the advancement of sciences in such an up close way (and not have to write a single grant to do it!). It’s a very cool feeling to speak to a customer that has a therapy going to clinical trials due to products I was able to sell to them. I will say that this isn’t a job for everyone, so you need to make sure that you are competitive or driven as well as a self-starter. It is a sales job and we have to hit a quota, but the mold for sales is far less defined than one would expect. I come to work every day and am surrounded by very smart people that are very different than I am. Another piece of advice – don’t be afraid to take a business course along with your sciences ones or taking on a part-time job that involves selling to learn this new skill. At the end of the day, experience in sales will always look good on a resume.