- What do you say when asked about your personal style and responsibilities?
I think I am a “people person.” I enjoy talking about science with peers. I try to engage with customers with friendly approach, which is critical in my position as I need to develop good working collaborations with them. I chose to become field applications scientist because I thought it would give me opportunities to communicate science without having to do it inside four walls. As a field applications scientist (FAS) I have two main responsibilites- 1) presales- as a technical expert help account managers to drive business in a given territory. 2) to help customers in their projects (like a consultant) after they adopt our product and train them in using it. This is where friendly approach is useful because customers then feel comfortable talking about their projects openly with me.
- Are you challenged? What stresses you?
The current job responsibilities offer many challenges with exciting opportunities. The challenging part is understanding customer needs and delivering customer centric presentations. there is always some stress when you need to convert to sale and help account managers do that. but luckily FASs are not required to close deals.
Another exciting and challenging responsibility is to stay abreast in latest scientific developments. Let it be new scientific applications for the technology or developments related to clinical trials of a new drug and how company’s product would help in that.
- Describe your title, how long you have been in your role and your most enjoyable responsibilities and tasks.
I have been working as FAS for almost three years. and I currently enjoy it for aforementioned reasons.
- How did you land your current position? Do you continuously keep an open
mind to changing positions? How long should we stay in our positions?
I got this position through networking with recruiters. (my previous job was also through developing connection at a scientific conference). I am open for changing positions when there is a feeling of saturation or when there are no more opportunities for growth at current position. it is important to not get into comfort zone– Growth follows if we take on new challenges.
- What do you believe aided you in being awarded your position?
I think having a proactive approach during job applications helped me secure current position. for example- learning how to prepare a good resume, discussing with mentors and peers about my career interests, staying in touch with recruiters and my network.
- Have you refused an offer that you think you should have taken? What were the factors in your decision?
I did refuse one Postdoc offer. It is always difficult to refuse an offer that you already accepted, but when I look back, I think I made a very good decision. That time I had another offer for Applications position. Then I considered- what my priorities are, does the postdoc position offer me ample opportunities to grow my career where i would like it to be. The applications position seemed to be fulfilling those priorities, so I made decision to refuse postdoc position. Having said that, I knew this would cause inconvenience to the PI, so I remembered to acknowledge that, apologized for the inconvenience that my decision would cause and suggested few good candidates that were suitable for the Postdoc position.
- What opportunities and challenges do you see provide growth for you?
Opportunity to work on the commercial side while keeping close contact with R&D has been very helpful.
In addition,working for sales is quite challenging. I believe, B2B sales gives lot of opportunities to grow in career. It can develop some personal skills and gives exposure that can have major impact in career.
- What are ways that you go out of your way to expand your network?
I attend conference meetings, try to connect secondary connections through one on one meetings etc.
- What comments do you wish to make for people who are graduating or planning on moving on in the next year?
My suggestion would be to keep career options open. And If you do the same thing that you are good at, it wont open new opportunities. So be open for new ideas, skills, and opportunities.
Also, i remember that during my job application process while at graduate school, I had to take “inside-out” approach. Meaning, i had to learn how the job market is, learn how to write a resume that is specific to the job posting, what do employers expects from applicants etc - you sell what other person wants to buy. Not to sell something that you have but the other person is hardly interested in. What I mean by this is that, in resumes, graduate students often highlight their academic achievements which industry may not care about rather than looking at the job responsibilities and what is needed. ( i remember making such mistake in my first few resumes)