There are many skills that I developed during my PhD that have been useful beyond it. In this video I go through several, as well as suggest some things you could do to prepare for your life beyond your PhD or current role.
So what are some of the skills that I have from my PhD, and taken into my role as a small business owner? I guess the first thing is stakeholder, and collaborator management. So my PhD I had to work with a range of people both inside and outside the lab. Through that process I learned how to work with those people, how to engage with them and I learnt I guess the process of understanding what it is that they wanted from the collaboration, and how I could help deliver that, and ultimately that made sure that I was working for them as part of the collaboration.
In my PhD obviously I always used verbal, and written communication as well, and I think we talk a lot about verbal, and written communication in PhDs, and in academia. One of the things that we probably need to be mindful of is a lot of that is built around academic and research style communication, and I guess if we put that as a transferable skill or if we think we have that as a transferable skill we need to understand that perhaps it's not always in the same style that our potential future employer or our potential industry partners might want or need. Project management is another skill that I learned as a PhD student, and applied that to daily, weekly, and monthly planning and even the idea of managing the whole PhD.
One of the things that I see a lot in research is that people think that project management isn't for research because things go wrong, and things change but I would argue that's an even greater reason to have project management. Project management doesn't mean that you stick with something and don't change it. Stick with the plan and don't change. It means that you understand what the parts are of the project. How they interrelate with each other, and how if one bit changes so are a whole bunch of other things.
Obviously, the major thing that I got out of my PhD was the research skills, and for a lot of you out there maybe you think are it's pippetting or it's SDS page or it's western blot or who knows what else but you need to think of your research skills as far broader than that. So qualitative research, quantitative research, research design, good data collection, good data analysis. All of those things are generally applicable to any kind of research project that you might have, so that could be finding out about how something works or finding out what the new policy is. All of those things require research skills not just whether or not you can prepare.