Leaving Academia: building a runway to a career outside of the ivory tower

About a month ago, I gave a talk to a group of graduate students in the Center for Biological Physics at Arizona State University on the reasons one might have for leaving academia for industry, and strategies for making the jump. The talk was well-received, with lots of questions throughout and at the end. It featured my own perspective on the process, including a lot of personal experience and hard-earned lessons.

The slides can be viewed in their final form here. Use the spacebar to move forward, hold the shift key and press the spacebar to move backward.

It should be noted that this talk was not constructed as a criticism of academia. There’s a lot to love about academic life, but it’s important for young researchers to recognize 1) the hard realities to this career path and 2) that there are other options available. The core message of this talk is to not limit oneself to an “academia or bust” mindset, as this is probably a bad idea, but instead to lay the groundwork for pursuing multiple possibilities post-graduation.

I’m always happy to expand on the content of this talk. Feel free to ask in the comments below if anything seems unclear or incomplete (likely!).

— david

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