Kelly AndriamasindrayInstruction and Mentorship Lead, Generation France

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

I knew quite early into the PhD program that the traditional academic career was not for me. I increasingly wanted to be part of larger actions and conversations with society as a whole, not just within the academic niche. My hopes were to eventually work for a non-profit that would incorporate my research interests in discrimination, exclusion, as well as racial and gender violence while allowing me to make broader, more direct social impacts on the ground. Additionally, I also felt that it was the right moment in my life, from a more personal dimension, to start a new chapter and have a healthier, more balanced lifestyle and better look after myself and the people that I love.

Those considerations have led me to step away from my PhD and to enter the job market. I now work as an Instruction and Mentorship Lead at a non-profit in Paris, France, called Generation – You Employed. Generation is an international NGO that prepares and accompanies young adults towards employment and aims at filling the gap between a staggering number of unemployed/underemployed young people all over the world and businesses that struggle to find the right candidates for key middle-skill positions. Some of my main responsibilities include the selection, onboarding, and professional development of Generation instructors and mentors.

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

While at Brandeis, I used the GSAS Center for Career and Professional Development and received extremely valuable feedback from Marika McCann about how to efficiently look for a job and to craft a powerful job application.

Another key moment of the past few months has been the fantastic, newly created Brandeis webinar series “New Trajectories for the PhD,” organized by Prof. Jonathan Anjaria—the insights and tips from the various panelists have been some of the most precious that I’ve ever heard.

Even though the different cultural contexts have occasionally made some career advice less applicable outside of the U.S, those resources have had great, durable impacts on my career search.

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

My various teaching experience at Brandeis as a Teaching Fellow and a UWS instructor while pursuing my PhD have, in many ways, given me valuable skills for this position. Teaching in front of students from varied backgrounds and adapting my approaches to my audiences has allowed me to sharpen my pedagogical skills in addition to hone other qualities, such as patience and empathy, that are all particularly relevant as I now facilitate the professional development of instructors. I can not only deliver quality teaching feedback to instructors, but I can also directly relate to their experience in front of a group of learners.

Some other critical skills that I’ve gained from my graduate studies have been public speaking and effective communication, organization, resistance to stress, and resilience.

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

You may think that your research and other departmental obligations are the most important things right now and that your job search is still several years from now, but it’s not. Ideally, the exploration starts while still in grad school, with collecting information about the job market and the professional path(s) you are interested in, as well as extending and honing the skills necessary to reach these career goals. To summarize my advice, I would say: network as much as you can with people related to the career you aspire to; attend all the career events and webinars that you can; use the Career Center resources; while still studying at Brandeis, try to get a foot in the door through summer gigs or internships; make the most of programs such as the Connected PhD and all the formidable efforts Brandeis has been making to extend its support to Brandeis students and alumni as they enter the professional world; and be patient and don’t get discouraged. Looking for a job is a humbling experience, and landing a job, especially one that you really like, is a long process, but you’ll get there!