KGI's 'Bridging the Gap' Summer Boot Camp Helps PhDs Transition from Academia to Industry
Innovative new program is designed to address the fact that even the most educated young professionals can use career guidance these days
In today's job market, even those at the highest end of the degree spectrum can have trouble landing a job that will set their careers on an upward trajectory. The reality is particularly apparent in the STEM fields where only 10-20% of PhDs and postdoctoral fellows can expect to find tenure-track jobs in academia. Although opportunities in academia are narrowing, there is a place for many of these highly skilled workers in industry, according to Dr. Steve Casper, KGI's associate dean for faculty development. The problem is that many young postdocs and PhDs don't know that the jobs are there or they lack the business skills to be desirable employees to biotech and pharmaceutical companies.
"Many PhDs are doing basic science, and many of them end up frustrated because their research never gets out into the world," Casper says. "The reality is that getting a discovery from bench to market is extremely complicated and involves a number of players. This means that there are some great opportunities in biotech for people with science backgrounds who can also approach situations from a business perspective."
To ease the transition from academia to industry and to introduce PhD scientists to available career options and the culture and infrastructure of life science companies, KGI has developed a two-week intensive program called the "Bridging the Gap" Bioscience Management Boot Camp. Funded by the Burroughs Wellcome Foundation, the boot camp program is modeled after KGI's successful one-year Postdoctoral Professional Masters (PPM) in Bioscience Management, in which recent PhDs spend a year at KGI learning management skills and interacting with companies through project work. Similarly, the boot camp program, which will be held on KGI's campus in Claremont from July 8-July 20, will include MBA-style case-based teaching, career-oriented professional development workshops, and an intensive team project.
About 80 percent of available jobs in industry aren't even R&D; they're in clinical/regulatory affairs, quality assurance or management, Casper adds. "That's what makes the 'Bridging the Gap' boot camp program completely unique. There are a couple of other programs that I know of out there that focus on entrepreneurship, but let's face it not everybody is going to be an entrepreneur. Here, the focus is on life science management. The truth is that many life science companies are looking to hire people, but they want to hire people with the right skill set."
For more information about the summer boot camp or PPM programs, contact Yvonne Klaue at Yvonne_Klaue[at symbol]kgi.edu or 909-607-0119.