October 5, 2018, by Noor Syuhada

Insights on “Life After A PhD”

On September 26, the Head of Careers Advisory Service (CAS) together with Dr. Khor Jeen Ghee and Dr. Kevin Lee were invited to share their experience and insights on “Life After A PhD” at the annual postgraduate research showcase of Faculty of Engineering, which located at The Great Hall, University of Nottingham Malaysia.

Here are some highlights of the forum:

Ms. Alicia, Ch’ng

“CAS conducted Graduate Destination Survey where we collected the data on where the graduates went to work for. Currently up until the end of 2017, the survey got over 80% response rate (with 58 respondents from Engineering PhD program). Majority of them were employed 6 months after graduation, where 83% go into workforce. Some go to work into education sector, some go into industry.”

“Employers may look into these few key things to hire lecturers — qualification, working experience, publications. If you want to enter industry, the employers really value (corporate) industrial experience, technical and soft skills. Hence, make sure that you grab any possible opportunities and involve into some projects.”

“In order to choose whether to work in education or industry after your PhD journey; first and foremost, you have to know and understand yourself as making career decision is a long process. Do a research such as listing down your interest, skills, and experience. Tailor your skill sets with career that you want and good at; doesn’t matter in education or industry. From there, explore the options. It’s okay to take time and to have few options, which you can look into other areas too, not only Engineering. Build your skills and network. Start thinking and plan ahead.”

Dr. Khor Jeen Ghee

“It’s not really matter that you have excellent academic qualification or you have been doing well in the past but the most important is that, you DELIVER. It’s about how well you can deliver in industry, in short of time; with minimal supervision. Use your PhD journey to not only pick up technical skills but also to learn on how to be independent and know how to deliver. Learn how to communicate the difficult concepts as communication is very important. For example, as for a lecturer, you must know on how to explain those concepts to year 1 students. Communicate and ask for feedback.”

“Match your personality with the job. For example,  you love to talk to people, hence, find the job that needs you to do so. Even in Engineering, the job scopes or roles will be different; whether you have to interact a lot with people or with machine/computer. Know what you like and try the roles that complement what you like to do. Connect the dots. Yet most important is, you have to DELIVER no matter in which industry you are in, and be alert of any opportunities that come.”

Dr. Kevin Lee

“The area that you choose for your PhD may bring impact to your career path or where you want to go after you finish your study. Some topics that you choose might have potential for industrial application, and some more towards research. From my point of view, as right now we are going towards big data, a lot of companies hire PhD graduates.  They are interested due to new development. They want PhD graduates who can translate research into application. If you are in the area of research that has application opportunities, I would strongly suggest that you can go into industry in the future.”

“You have to know your background and area very well in order to adapt once you enter the industry. They may apply your knowledge and skills in different way, which is their way; so you need to know the theory part very well. They expect you to deliver higher than undergraduates. Aim to impress, as you are supposed to be more experienced and more knowledgeable because they expect you to be the specialist in your area.”

“Whichever path you go in future, make sure that you go with very positive attitude, with the aim that you will bring change and growth to the industry.”

We hope that you would get some ideas to plan for your future career or have some career change. Good luck, UNMC PhD students! 🙂

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