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Is Academia or Industry a Better Fit for Your Career?

Youtube ID: 0IyjmrgMfEU

Unsure of what career path to follow? Listen in as industry veterans highlight key differences between working in academia and industry.

Bill Carroll, Carroll Applied Science, L.L.C.: [00:00:00] So the difference between academe and industry is, in academe you can work on anything you want as long as you can get it funded. But, in industry you're going to work on what I ask you to work on. And the question is, "Are you the sort of person who can get interested in any kind of a problem or does it have to be a certain kind of problem?"

If you can get interested in a lot of different things, industry may well be for you.

Christina Bodurow, Vice President, Global Regulatory Affairs, Data Sciences, Safety & Regulatory, IQVIA: [00:00:37] In general, academic problem solving goes on a longer timeline. And, you know, longer could be decades in some cases, but in general, industry timeline problem solving is on a shorter timeline. So if you personally prefer to kind of work through quickly and process problems more quickly, you may be more comfortable in an industry setting.

Now, again, we're talking 80/20 here. There's no absolutes. And then attached to that, I think is also sort of the return, the return on your investment. You know, for academics, you may be working on a problem that won't get you results or return or that, you know, coveted gold star JACS article for years and years and years, you have to be able to tolerate sort of those kind of timeframes and be able to kind of put off your gratification so to speak.

In industry, the return on investment is a critical piece of the problems that industry actually takes on, right? You have to, and if you want that kind of an environment, if you think you'll thrive in that kind of environment, that's an important thing to think about. Because, usually the turn on the projects needs to be more short term and also with a higher return on investment.

And then the last axis, which personally for me was the hardest, was teaching. Obviously when you're in academics, you spend a lot of time teaching and it not might be, might not just be in a classroom. I mean, it might be in a laboratory or, you know, helping your graduate students post-docs learn.

In industry you still can teach. I actually taught in night school for seven years after I joined an industry position. But, you know, obviously in academic that's a bigger part of the job and you really have to love it because it is part of your job.


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