Future job for a physicist

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  • Thread starter TheDestroyer
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  • #1
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Hello guys,

I'm a PhD student in Jena, Germany. I'm actually very worried about my future, and I'm trying to find something to do for my future to improve my career chances. So I'm looking for something more to study in my free times for that purpose.

The problem within remaining in Physics, especially in Germany, is that one has to keep working in science with a low salary for a very long time (10-15 years), and eventually, people would have very low opportunity in becoming professors to have a good salary and funding, especially that I'm not German.

I recently had the idea of enrolling myself in an MBA program, which gives me the opportunity to get some good manager position in the future.

Is the way I'm thinking right? would you guys have any advice for me other than MBA? something else to I could do/study?

Thank you for any efforts :)
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
fss
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Learn how to program well.
 
  • #3
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fss, could you please tell me what kind of programming you mean? My masters thesis was on computational physics, and my current PhD contains some simulations. I program good C++ up to advanced classes management, inheritance, polymorphism and so on. The C++ I do is according to the GNU standard, so it has nothing to do with C++/CLR or anything with Microsoft's .NET.

So could you please elaborate more on what kind of programming you mean?

Thank you
 
  • #4
402
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Come on people :(... some help please!
 
  • #5
Vanadium 50
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The first thing you will need for a job is patience. It's not reasonable to demand an answer within 12 hours over a holiday. Particularly from volunteers.
 
  • #6
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You're totally right, buddy. But it's just that I'm afraid my post will be shifted down by date, and no one would read it :-)... I'm just too hasty with everything :D
 
  • #7
Astronuc
Staff Emeritus
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Hello guys,

I'm a PhD student in Jena, Germany. I'm actually very worried about my future, and I'm trying to find something to do for my future to improve my career chances. So I'm looking for something more to study in my free times for that purpose.

The problem within remaining in Physics, especially in Germany, is that one has to keep working in science with a low salary for a very long time (10-15 years), and eventually, people would have very low opportunity in becoming professors to have a good salary and funding, especially that I'm not German.

I recently had the idea of enrolling myself in an MBA program, which gives me the opportunity to get some good manager position in the future.

Is the way I'm thinking right? would you guys have any advice for me other than MBA? something else to I could do/study?

Thank you for any efforts :)
What does one want the future to be? Academia, industrial research, industrial application, . . . . ? Is one interested in energy, materials, transportation, communication, computation, astrophysics, . . . . ?

What opportunities can be found through the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft
http://www.dpg-physik.de/index.html

Elsewhere -
http://www.iop.org/
http://www.aip.org/
http://www.aps.org/
http://www.physicstoday.org/jobs/

http://www.eps.org/
http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/jrc/index.cfm

Société Française de Physique
http://www.sfpnet.fr/front_office/index.php [Broken]

Real Sociedad Española de Física
http://rsef.org/

De Nederlandse Natuurkundige Vereniging
http://www.nnv.nl/

and there is much more!

We don't know one. One must do one's own homework.
 
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  • #8
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Thank you for the answer, buddy.

All this stuff is related to science. This is the problem, like I mentioned. I don't want to remain in science. I want to go to industry or something worth it... or I'll say it frankly, I want to make good money ^^

and to make the question clearer, is having an MBA a good idea? then we could talk about other job opportunities. :-)

any ideas? :-)
 
  • #9
fss
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All this stuff is related to science. This is the problem, like I mentioned. I don't want to remain in science. I want to go to industry or something worth it... or I'll say it frankly, I want to make good money ^^

and to make the question clearer, is having an MBA a good idea? then we could talk about other job opportunities. :-)

Do you understand the fundamental problem behind your question? You are essentially asking us if throwing a dart is going to hit the bullseye. How are we supposed to know if an MBA is a good idea? What are the statistics for MBAs in Germany? What kind of jobs would you look for if you got an MBA? What are the statistics in that job? Do you even like business?

You also have stated you "want to go into industry." Ok. What industry? What are the typical degree requirements for that industry? What do you think you would enjoy doing that is "not science" ?

You need to start asking the right questions before people can give you helpful answers.
 
  • #10
402
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My thoughts are scattered here and there, and that's why I'm asking for help here. I'm asking the question: Would a PhD physicist benefit from an MBA under any circumstances? or is it the wrong masters for a physicist. I'm asking whether MBA is only for engineers and some other specialties and not physicists. I'm not asking you to give me the bullseye shot and tell me a plan for the coming 10 years!!!! there are 10000000 firms in the world who hire physicists, but I don't know what physicists really do there!

I'm not talking about a special type of industry. And my question is what you exactly have stated. "How are we supposed to know if an MBA is a good idea". This question is my question because I'm asking whether it could be a good idea. You may know some people who have done it, or could get some stats about it, or whatever I don't know... This is the question...!

Now the second part of the question, if it would be a BAD idea, what else should I seek to learn? you said programming, and you didn't answer my second answer to you. What kind of programming? and what opportunities will this give me?

and if I'm not asking the right question, tell me what the right question for my case may be. I have explained the whole situation of mine, right buddy?

Is it really a difficult question when I ask about what I should do to improve my career?

Regards, and thanks, waiting for more comments :)
 
  • #11
fss
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My thoughts are scattered here and there, and that's why I'm asking for help here. I'm asking the question: Would a PhD physicist benefit from an MBA under any circumstances? or is it the wrong masters for a physicist. I'm asking whether MBA is only for engineers and some other specialties and not physicists.

Yes, there are numerous circumstances in which a PhD physicist could benefit from an MBA. You said you were interested in management- it would help there. If you went into an engineering firm it would help on the business side of things there as well.

Now the second part of the question, if it would be a BAD idea, what else should I seek to learn? you said programming, and you didn't answer my second answer to you. What kind of programming? and what opportunities will this give me?

Knowing how to program is a valuable skill. Quantitative finance, software engineering, electrical/computer engineering, pretty much any type of quantitative analysis position, and many others open up for you if you can program.

Is it really a difficult question when I ask about what I should do to improve my career?

As far as I can tell, "your career" at this point is "not science." That leaves a lot of other fields to be considered. If you want to be a manager/businessperson get your MBA. If you want to be a lawyer go to law school. etc etc.
 
  • #12
Astronuc
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Thank you for the answer, buddy.

All this stuff is related to science. This is the problem, like I mentioned. I don't want to remain in science. I want to go to industry or something worth it... or I'll say it frankly, I want to make good money ^^

and to make the question clearer, is having an MBA a good idea? then we could talk about other job opportunities. :-)

any ideas? :-)
If one is interested in working in industry, particularly in management, or owning one's business, then an MBA is a good idea. Management and finance are rather practical skills in industry and the economy in general - in addition to scientific and technical proficiency.

Scientific and technical knowledge are important in terms of understanding if a technical idea is sound.

Management and finance are important in terms of knowing what and planning for the resources to bring a technical idea to fruition.
 
  • #13
402
1
Thank you very much people, you grabbed the hook of my problem :).

I just have one point to make sure of. So unifying scientific and technical knowledge with management for a PhD physicist is not an aberrant idea, and could be fruitful in the future. I got it right, didn't I?

because for me I never heard of a physicist who has done it, but only engineers, while I don't really know where to look whether this has happened before.

:)
 
  • #14
Astronuc
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Physicists, as well as engineers, can establish their own businesses. Look for opportunities. One can work in industry to get some experience then strike out on one's own.

John Robert Beyster (considered a physicist founded SAIC)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Robert_Beyster

http://beysterinstitute.org/

Foundation for Enterprise Development
http://www.fed.org/

Thermo Electron was founded in 1956 by George Hatsopoulos, an MIT PhD in mechanical engineering (but OK, engineering is applied physics, more or less).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermo_Electron

MIT and I believe Stanford encourage students to think like entrepreneurs. Probably other universities have similar programs.
 
  • #15
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So the point is that MBA would only benefit me if I establish some business? it wouldn't benefit me in a company that is not mine?

Thanks a lot :)
 
  • #16
402
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Oh I didn't notice, you said also look for opportunities :)...

Thank you, my question is answered I guess :)

Regards, I'm thankful :)

Ich bedanke mich bei euch :D
 
  • #17
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:) :) :) :-) :) :)
 
  • #18
Astronuc
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Science Advisor
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So the point is that MBA would only benefit me if I establish some business? it wouldn't benefit me in a company that is not mine?

Thanks a lot :)
In theory, an MBA is beneficial in working within an established business, or one's own business. In general , it's more difficult to start one's own business without prior experience.
 
  • #19
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My thoughts are scattered here and there, and that's why I'm asking for help here. I'm asking the question: Would a PhD physicist benefit from an MBA under any circumstances?

Usually not. Once you find a job in a company, then you'll learn pretty much everything you would have learned in an MBA program if that's what you want. If you really want/need an MBA, you are much better off doing it part-time once you have a job already.

Now the second part of the question, if it would be a BAD idea, what else should I seek to learn? you said programming, and you didn't answer my second answer to you. What kind of programming? and what opportunities will this give me?

I think you need to start with the question "what do you want to do with your life?" In my case, I like "figuring stuff out" and I haven't had too much trouble finding jobs where I get paid reasonable amounts of stuff to "figure stuff out."

Is it really a difficult question when I ask about what I should do to improve my career?

The big thing is to network with other Ph.D.'s and see what they have done after they graduated and see what they are doing and whether or not you would enjoy doing what they are doing.
 
  • #20
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In theory, an MBA is beneficial in working within an established business, or one's own business. In general , it's more difficult to start one's own business without prior experience.

Also MBA's are totally dreadful if you want to start your own business or enjoy working in a small startup. The MBA is training for corporate bureaucrats, and if you want to start your own business or work for a small company, you will die if you have a "bureaucratic" mindset. Once your company gets off the ground, *then* you need lots of bureaucrats to run things, but what often happens at that point is that the founders "get bored" and leave to start another company.
 
  • #21
fss
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Also MBA's are totally dreadful if you want to start your own business or enjoy working in a small startup. The MBA is training for corporate bureaucrats, and if you want to start your own business or work for a small company, you will die if you have a "bureaucratic" mindset.

Seems like that would vary from institution to institution. I have numerous friends with MBAs that were very successful in either their own business or working for a small business.
 
  • #22
402
1
Thanks a lot guys. I think I have the picture now :-). This conversation would go even better if we draw more examples to people who have MBA's with physics degrees.

Thaaaaaaaaanks :-)
 

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