ALTERNATIVE (NON-ACADEMIC) CAREERS FOR PHDS
Some people finish their doctorate, knowing that they do not wish to get into a postdoc, but they have no
idea where to start. It could be that you do not want to pursue a tenure track position and would rather see
what else is available but haven’t got adequate resources to guide you on the right path.
Also, you will find that your institution’s network is somewhat limited if you choose another route other than academia, and you will need to expand your connections. That is the reason that you find many people with doctorates pursuing postdocs, thinking that this is the only option. And if you go by what the system instils in you, assuming that your options are limited is a likely outcome.
However, there are so many jobs for you in the industry, and with the right information, you can quickly get them. This information includes available positions as well as how they can fit your career goals and lifestyle. Additionally, you should stay on top of emerging trends to make yourself marketable to potential employers.
Here are some of the alternatives which you can consider upon graduation:
Business Development Manager
This profession has grown at a steady rate of about 16%, and it currently ranks as one of the top 100
careers across the globe. Looking at the name of the role, you may think that you cannot apply to such a
position if you do not have a background in business, but that is not the case as companies are now
extending their hiring to other fields including sciences.
This shift owes to the ability of PhDs to understand the emerging technologies such that they can use the information to seek new opportunities for the business while managing the current products. Your role will also extend to building relationships with new partners as well as coming up with strategies that will give the company a competitive edge.
Additionally, you need to understand the culture of the company as well as its products and technology to do well in this position. Given that you will present your reports to the marketing and management teams often, it is necessary that you polish up on your presentation skills as there will be a lot of explaining to do.
Here, you will be in charge of a product’s life cycle from the point of introduction to the chain to the time it is ready for the market and even after the launch. You can then analyse its performance in the market and come up with ways in which you can enhance its success as you phase out older versions of the product. Identifying the market needs and presenting them to the marketing team is a critical role in this position.
Competitive Intelligence Analyst
The name may have you thinking that the job in question is quite complicated and though it is, it is not
something that you cannot handle. Your job will mainly revolve looking at what the competition wants to
introduce into the market and how this will affect your company. Most of your research will take place in
scientific conferences, intelligence databases, online sources and other areas where you can get enough data
to help the company determine if it is under threat or if the product’s introduction will provide an
Your research background will come in handy in excelling in this role as you will need to gather lots of data and analyse it to come up with informative reports.
Market Research Analyst
These positions are available in most industries as people have an interest in segmenting their target
markets and finding out what opportunities exist in these segments. In the innovation sectors, such as the
manufacture of electronics, such roles are especially important as they enable companies to stay on top of
trends and thus beat the competition. This profession has grown at a fast rate in the last decade, owing to
its significance in the various sectors of the economy.
For you to work in this field, you need to understand the commercial environment of the sector in which you wish to work. Also, you will utilize your ability to work on large amounts of information as well as compare different products to figure out which is best for the company. Finding out why your product beats or loses to the competitor will require that you work on reports which will comprise the major players in the sector, the current market size, and strategies in place.
The teams in place can then use the information to increase their profits as they mitigate the risks involved in bringing the product to the market.
Working in this position will have you collaborating with key decision makers in the company, and if you do well, it should not be long before promotions come calling.
Before you apply for any position, ensure that you understand what it entails and see if it can fit your career path to enhance your chances of success.