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Non-academic career with PhD in physical/molecular biology

  1. Oct 25, 2014 #1
    I am currently in a BSc into MSc program (continental Europe) that combines chemistry, molecular biology and a bit of physical chemistry. It is very much interdisciplinary. About 90% of the people continue into a PhD program and students with this career are preferred as PhD students because of the nature of the curriculum.

    My angle is that I am currently 29 years old. When I finish I will be 34 or so. I can go into a 4 year PhD job, it is a job in my native country where one is paid and builds up a pension, and I think I would like to do such a PhD program. It seems much harder to do one overseas, where one is considered a student and where I have to look for a grant or scholarship to make it all affordable. One day I have to pay for a mortgage and build a family.
    But in the end I think I don't want a career in academics. I think I want to move into business.

    The way I want to specialize myself is take a minor in math and physics. I want as much hard science in my BSc as possible. I can do a minor at the physics department, but I am not quite sure how some freshman classes will give me an edge in my field as I don't learn any applications. But somehow I have it in my mind I want to be as hard a scientist as possible. But I want to end up doing research into biological systems, so I am doing the right degree currently.

    I am considering doing a MSc program at a different top 30 university in life science or chemistry. I don't want to go to a university rated lower than the one I am currently at, so that basically limits it to top30. I see most of these limit their MSc to current students or combine the MSc with a PhD.

    Then when I finally get on the job market, chemical engineers are much more wanted than biologists.
    I don't want to do any chemical engineering or chemical technology. I don't feel that is my thing, though the job prospects are so much better. I kind of feel like a company would hire me, a big shot PhD guy, and then I wouldn't know anything about actually producing a product. There's only so many pure research jobs out there in business.
    Also, microbiologists or medical researchers are much more wanted than molecular biologists. Also, a PhD may mean very little to most businesses except if you have the ambition to one day lead a whole research department. So I have doubts about these thing. As I get older I seem to start to care more about financial stability.

    When I get onto the job market I will have to compete with people that are either 8 years younger than I am, or have 8 years more experience(or somewhere in between). So I am looking for an edge, somehow.

    Currently I am taking all the hardest courses and getting good marks, hopefully I can finish my BSc cum laude. Maybe getting into Oxford or Cambridge will then be possible, but they don't have MSc programs. Maybe I will just have to take the risk and invest in a PhD there, or in the U.S., if I get the opportunity. I still want to spend some time studying or working in an English speaking country.

    Ok, long post, no clear question. Maybe some people can share experiences. It would be interesting to hear any insights chemists/physicists or people in academics in the US/UK/Canada can provide.
    I can still switch to biotechnological engineering, chemical technology or biomedical research for my MSc, but that may cost an additional 6 months of study and I feel like they resonate much less with my scientific interests.

  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 30, 2014 #2
    Thanks for the post! Sorry you aren't generating responses at the moment. Do you have any further information, come to any new conclusions or is it possible to reword the post?
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