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Jack of all trades chemistry student needs advice

  1. Nov 7, 2011 #1
    So I am a senior chemistry (BA) student at a large state university and will be graduating at the end of the spring.

    I don't have steller grades (2.7 gpa) but this was because of my freshman/sophmore year. My transcript obviously has this divide where you can see where I started to take things seriously in my major classes (still a C or two but its Ochem c'mon).

    I started in engineering and actually took a few extra engineering classes ontop of my chemistry curriculum that I didn't need but wanted to learn about (patent classes, machine shop training). I did the same thing with mycology to learn sterile technique, etc and did pretty well.

    As far as job experience goes I ran a PC business in highschool, worked IT in highschool and early college, worked at a TV repair shop doing circuit repairs, worked for a science education company selling products at trade shows. Ontop of this I have been involved with many entrepreneurial pursuits which really gave me insight in how to run a business.

    I am involved in chemistry research as well as a research project in the mycology dept, if need be I can get glowing recommendations from many professors whom I worked hands on with. I have been trusted enough to direct most of my own projects including designing and building a dielectric barrier discharge ozone generator, growing and analyzing medicinal fungi, developing screening techniques for high oil decomposing fungi with bioremediation applications. Outside of school I have built a highly efficient 1.5kW alkaline electrolysis cell to power a hydrogen torch, designed built and programmed a CNC machine from scratch and many other projects which were abandoned at various stages. On my own time I am currently working on developing low cost analytical devices for the hobbyist/educational market based on capillary zone electrophoresis using photometric and C4D (capacitively-coupled contactless conductivity detector) techniques.

    As far as marketable skills go:
    chemistry knowledge, lab technique, aseptic technique, very very good with my hands/building things, troubleshooting designing etching and soldering custom electronics, web design, programming (PHP,PERL), fluent in windows xp and most linux distros, designing and constructing high energy systems (high temperature/voltage), good with Autocad and can communicate fluently using engineering terms techniques and software, decently comfortable with 2 languages (Russian and German).


    I am not attracted to most chemistry/lab tech jobs because I want something that's higher risk/reward and more dynamic. I want the opportunity to be able to get bonuses/commission/etc based on working at home, working smarter, etc. I just dont feel like working as a lab tech running tests will allow me these things. Don't want to work for academia or the government because I hate bureaucracy. The more I think about it the more I am drawn toward getting an MBA and just letting my technical knowledge carry me through the business world as business has the right kind of risky high speed payoff that I want.
    My ideal job would be working at a cutting edge research and design lab that allowed you flexibility and fast mobility. I just think that my low grades may automatically disqualify me for these jobs. I am very sociable, can think on my feet and enjoy negotiations and dealing with people. I would have no problem having many people work under me and the stresses that would provide.

    From what I have written what kinds of jobs could you guys suggest for me? I have strongly been drawn to getting into business MBA or going to EOD school (bomb diffusing) as my chemistry degree and technical background will get me a lot of swing.
    I just dont feel very marketable to the types of companies I have talked to, but I know that there are people out there who will skip over all the 4.0 GPA's just to find someone who is hands on, confident and "street" smart like me.

    I have no problem relocating, I am interested in Australia, and West Coast, US.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 7, 2011 #2

    chiro

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    One suggestion I could give you is to do sales for a chemical company.

    Companies usually have slots for people that have a technical background who do work like sales or consulting.

    Given that you have language skills, you could also try to target those kinds of jobs.

    Doing an MBA could make sense if you used that with your language skills, but personally if you wanted to do that, I would start at the bottom and then get some management experience. I would advise against getting an MBA before having actual experience.

    In terms of experience, my advise is to find a company that is willing to train you and rotate you around different departments. This is the best way to get business skills since you need to understand everything by itself and how it is part of the whole.

    I'm not sure if you have the prerequisites for doing something like patent examination or becoming a patent attorney but they could be options, but then again you said you hate paperwork (we all have paperwork though).

    Another job that pops to mind are trainers and consultants that give advice to people about a companies products. They might run training session days or weeks for a company and depending on the company they might have to travel a lot depending on the clientele.

    Bomb diffusing aye? You could inspire the next generation of C.S.I. ;)

    The way you state your story, you remind me of having an inventors profile. If you wanted to go down this path, I would recommend you find a company that gives you exposure to both the field itself and the business itself. If you come up with something you could use the business infrastructure to make it a reality if you and the highers up come to an agreement.

    Just be aware though, most companies will own your work, even if you do it in your own hours (out of work hours), so if this is a concern, make sure you read the contract very carefully, and remember that they will have for the better part a way better legal team than you have.

    In terms of street smarts, you just have to look. It varies and there will be companies that were founded by people without 4.0 GPAs just as there are companies who were founded with masters and PhD degrees. Culture is different and it is a wide spectrum in terms of what is out there.

    Just some advise though: don't put down something you aren't absolutely sure of because chances are in an interview they will test you, and chances are they will have someone who knows a thing or two about it.
     
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