Postdocs and graduate students are often faced with a dilemma: stay in academia or seek a job in industry? For many, this decision is difficult because exposure to industry careers is limited. We developed a program at the University of California Berkeley which increases the transparency about industry so that postdocs and graduate students can make informed decisions about their careers.
It is called the Postdoc Industry Exploration Program (PIEP; see Nature 478, 277; 2011, Nature 480, 576; 2011), which launched in January 2011. This program arranges visits to companies to showcase their organization, work atmosphere, and employees. Postdocs and graduate students are given a valuable opportunity to learn about career options directly from professionals who hold these positions and gain useful connections in the process. PIEP also arranges workshops to provide guidance on creating a professional image and conducting informative interviews with contacts. Postdocs and graduate students also learn how to market themselves, on paper and in person, and get information about career opportunities in across different industries.
Benefits for postdocs and graduate students:
- Free site-visits to companies of interest
- An opportunity to gain exposure to current industry trends and career paths for PhDs
- A chance to network with company employees in a small group setting.
Benefits for companies:
- Gain exposure by hosting a site visit for postdoc and graduate students
- Identify potential future hires from a highly qualified pool of potential recruits
- Organizational and financial assistance with site visit planning
- Give something back to the academic community
PIEP is proudly supported by the Offices of the Vice Chancellor for Research, the Visiting Scholars and Postdoctoral Affairs, the UC Berkeley Career Center and the Intellectual Property and Industry Research Alliances.