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The Glass is Half Full

  1. May 14, 2008 #1

    As of this week, I have left graduate school. I just completed my first year as an Astrophysics Ph.D. student, but between financial constraints and general unease within my program, I have decided to go another direction.

    I have a bachelors in Physics, and I have interned at Kitt Peak National Observatory in Tucson, AZ. I have worked as staff with the LSST (Large Synoptic Survey Telescope) development team. In graduate school, I was using VLA (Very Large Array) data to study AGNs (Active Galactic Nuclei). I am now looking to go into the business side of science, rather than the research side. Scientific research just wasn't my cup of tea. However, I have zero business experience and no business courses to back me up. I am interested in pursuing sales or marketing as it relates to my scientific background (so, for example, working as a sales rep for Toshiba, selling MRI units).

    Anyway, my question is this: What's my best course of action for gaining a background in business? Going back to undergrad for three or four years to earn a bachelors in business or a similar field is likely not an option. Taking supplementary business courses, though, while working part time may be an option. How do I approach taking supplementary courses? I really don't know how undergrad works if I'm not technically pursuing a degree. How would I add supplementary business courses to my CV in order to show potential employers that I have the business background, without a degree?

    Thank you for any help or suggestions!
  2. jcsd
  3. May 14, 2008 #2
    I'm sure you could take some classes part time at a local community college during evenings or around your work schedule as a non-degree seeking student. There would likely be a large variety of first and second year offerings you may be interested in. Some standards would include principles of economics, all sorts of introductory marketing, accounting, and business (among others) for the "supplementation" you are looking for.

    Have you thought about going for an MBA? I'm not sure if it would be exactly what you're looking for (not sure what degree a sales rep for MRI units would require) but a physics undergrad degree is a fine background for it there are quite a few math, engineering, and other science majors looking for the "business side" that go that route. Of course, you are basically going back to graduate school but I would imagine a 2 year MBA would be a better way of spending your money than another bachelors degree. Good luck!
    Last edited: May 14, 2008
  4. May 14, 2008 #3


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    Generally speaking companies that sell MRI units often look to hire people who have been trained as MRI technologists (the people who operate the machines in a clinical environment) - although I'm not sure that's necessarily a prerequisite.

    As far as a business education goes, I'm not convinced that you need a formal education to do well in that arena (although I'm willing to hear arguments to the contrary). I believe the best way to learn about business is to start your own.
  5. May 14, 2008 #4
    You could also consider a Professional Science Master's program. It is a two year degree kind of like an MBA, but it tends to be more directed toward people with a science background. You would spend half your time studying higher level science courses and the other half building business fundamentals.
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