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From the Bench to the Board

Bitesize Bio's Vicki Ronaldson this week says that "despite the temptation to play down past academic pursuits amongst more corporate peers, a look at the top level management, or even the board, of any global life science or technology company will reveal a high percentage of PhDs, all of whom started out at the bench." But, she says, transitioning from academic research to the corporate world can be tough.

Ronaldson says once a researcher leaves an "environment where everything is measured on academic merit … people's perception of you becomes an issue."

"The reaction to your PhD can generally go one of two ways. Non-scientists in particular, and much to our embarrassment, can be quite in awe of the fact that we are 'doctors,'" Ronaldson says. "On the other hand … you get the 'Oh gosh I could never understand all that brainy stuff,'" she adds.

In discussing the "value of a PhD in the 'real world,'" Ronaldson says it's common to sell one's credentials according to one's audience. "I've found … it met with varying degrees of awe, incomprehension, or even disdain," she says.