You can read about GSAS alumni who worked with the Center for Career and Professional Development to secure jobs, internships and further study.
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Alumni Interview: Xinyi Du ’18

Xinyi DuXinyi Du ’18, Comparative Humanities, Faculty Affairs Officer, Schwarzman Scholars Program in China 

Can you describe your career path and how it has led to your current work?

I worked as an Academic Administrator at Brandeis for a year after graduation and just started my new job as Faculty Liaison at the Schwarzman College in Beijing, China. I have always enjoyed the environment and culture within higher education. Additionally, I wanted to utilize my bi-cultural background by working in an international higher education institution. In this new role, I am responsible for building our Schwarzman College residential faculty community.  My day-to-day responsibilities consist of processing visa applications, serving as the point-contact person for visa inquiry/College resources for faculty, and, most importantly, cultivating relationships and connections with faculty - making them feel at home.

What skills from your Brandeis degree have you found most valuable in your current work?

I gained greater cultural sensitivity by interacting with and being exposed to diverse populations/personnel at Brandeis.

What services and/or resources did you use while at Brandeis for your career search? (i.e. The Center for Career and Professional Development, program administrators, professors, peers etc.)

I talked to various professors to receive mentor-ship, advice, and see if they knew anyone whom I could connect. I posted an ad on Wisdom Wanted, went to workshops organized by GSAS, and visited the GSAS Career Center regularly for resume & cover letter brainstorming/revision sessions.

What advice do you have for current students as they embark on their job search?

It is a mentally challenging process that forces you to re-think about your life purpose, who you really are and how you want to live a meaningful life. Don't forget to actively seek support and motivation from family, friends, and most importantly, the GSAS Career Center. Pressure from peers can be overwhelming but remember that everyone has different paths in life and others' success won't necessarily out shine yours.

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Jacob Vinay Vikas Konakondla ’19

Jacob Vinay Vikas Konakondla ’19, Master of Science in Molecular Cell Biology, Senior Associate at Torque.

Can you describe your career path and how it has led to your current work?

Prior to joining the Graduate Program at Brandeis, I had work experience within my field. However, my Master's degree from Brandeis gave me the opportunity to further develop my skills.

What skills from your Brandeis degree have you found most valuable in your current work?

Brandeis graduate program has international standards that train students with cutting-edge research in life sciences under the mentorship of renowned principal investigators in the field. Critical thinking, multi-pronged approach to answer a specific biological question, data interpretation, data analysis are some of the most valuable skills that I acquired during my training.

What services and/or resources did you use while at Brandeis for your career search? (i.e. The Center for Career and Professional Development, program administrators, professors, peers etc.)

I used Handshake very extensively for my job search. In addition, I attended most of the career seminars that were organized by the CDS. These events changed my approach to the job market and preparing my applications. I should not forget to mention that Marika and team are doing a commendable job in organizing many career fairs exclusively for GSAS students including online career fairs through which I have expanded my network base.

What advice do you have for current students as they embark on their job search?

I would advise current students to focus on getting hands-on on as many techniques as possible. Furthermore, acquire diversified knowledge in the field of life science research because one will never know what kind of biotech company they end up in.  This can be achieved by attending scientific seminars organized by the university and reading scientific literature to keep one's knowledge up to date. Most importantly, don't ignore the power of networking!

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Alumni Interview: Daniel Friedman MA’18

daniel friedmanDaniel Friedman MA’18, Master of Arts in Philosophy, Associate at Reputation InstituteCan you describe your career path and how it has led to your current work?

After receiving my MA in Philosophy at Brandeis, I wanted to try my hand in office work before heading back to the world of academia (i.e. Philosophy PhD programs). At first, I was worried that no one would want to hire a Philosophy graduate student, but a GSAS career advisor helped me see how the skills I had developed as a Philosophy student, as well as my ability to analyze and solve complex problems, to communicate my ideas clearly and effectively in writing, were valuable across industries.

What services and/or resources did you use while at Brandeis for your career search?

During my time at Brandeis I made great use of the GSAS Center for Career Development. I attended a few lectures designed for those interested in consulting related work, and especially benefited from the personalized and thorough guidance I received from meeting with a career advisor. The Career Development staff went above and beyond to help me find the right fitting job and to effectively market my skill-set.

What skills from your Brandeis degree have you found most valuable in your current work?

Brandeis helped me develop an open mind to intricate and difficult problems, an ability to work collaboratively with others in a variety of capacities, and to remain comfortable digging for solutions required to solve complex problems.

What advice do you have for current students as they embark on their job search?

Do not be afraid to advocate for yourself until you find the right fit. Invariably, your time at Brandeis has prepared you to do important, thought-provoking work with the skills to match -- do not settle for less than you deserve and take advantage of the incredible resources Brandeis has to offer. 

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Alumni Interview: Maria Genco PhD’17

maria gencoMaria Genco PhD’17, Doctor of Philosophy in Neuroscience, Senior Business Insights Analyst at Decision Resources Group

What services and/or resources did you use while at Brandeis for your career search?

The GSAS CCPD team was incredibly helpful throughout my job search process, from asking questions or giving guidance on the broad question of 'what should do with my life after I graduate?' through the application process with advice on resume formatting and content to interviewing techniques and finally how to negotiate an offer. While it's intimidating to make an appointment, and something that always seems more appropriate to do 'tomorrow,' building a relationship over time meant that I could get more specific advice on my job search. In addition, I had one more person looking out for positions that were specifically of interest to me.

It was also useful to go to the lectures organized by various student organizations and training grants. These lectures gave me a better idea of what might be available outside of a career at the bench or as a professor. The new Committee for Career Development for the Sciences began just as I was leaving and was also a valuable resource for me. 

What advice would you give other students as they begin their job search?

Talk to people! Otherwise known as 'networking,' it isn't just handing out business cards at a Biotech Tuesday event. It's having coffee with a student or postdoc who just got a new job. Or, signing up to meet with a speaker for lunch after they give a career seminar. Be open to talking to people about what they do and be willing to help someone who wants you to connect them to someone you know. Even if you aren't sure you'll like a topic, talk to someone about it both because you might be surprised and also they might know someone who you are really interested in talking to and they can connect you. But NEVER ask for a job. Learning from your peers is also a fantastic way to learn about careers. Peer mentor groups can be a support network that also expands your actual network and puts pressure on you to avoid waiting until 'tomorrow' or 'next week' or 'after my NRSA is in' to actually start the career process.

Do something interesting outside of academia. To be a person that people want to talk to, you need to be able to talk about something other than your science. Writing a thesis or having a paper shows initiative but unless you want a job where you only write papers for a large lab (I think that exists but is rare), you need to show what else you can do. Interested in writing? Start a blog, find a part-time job editing papers for non-English speakers. Interested in policy work? Do an internship in DC, start a policy group on campus, or volunteer for a political campaign. Interested in consulting? Go to as many consulting competitions as possible and join a consulting club. Interested in data science? Check out a python meetup group and keep an updated GitHub of your own projects. Thinking about patent law? Volunteer at the OTL (at Brandeis or MIT or Harvard). This career process begins broadly but will narrow over time. Think deeply about what you tend to do if given free time and be honest with yourself. 

Build connections within your area of interest. Once you know a bit more about what you want to do, find the people who can tell you more and help you get into your area of interest. Are you interested in science policy? Go to the AAAS meeting. Do you want to become a writer? Get involved in the Boston area science writers association or the Medical Writers Association. When you apply for a job, two things will help you get your foot in the door: 1) knowing someone who can vouch for you as a person who they like and 2) proving you have already done the work. 

Take the next best step for yourself.  Grad students sometimes think they have to find the perfect job. Instead take a position that seems like it will make you happy - something where you are looking forward to the time commitment, the salary, benefits and day-to-day work. You won't love everything about the job. It won't be perfect. Your career will be a continuous life-long process.