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Everything posted by samman1994

  1. Hello everyone, At this point, I think I have a pretty good idea of where I'll probably be going for grad school, it's gotten me thinking about some future planning. As the title states, how early is too early in moving to the location of your grad school, but how late is too late? Now each location/area will be different so I'll give some brief description of my situation. I would be moving basically across the country (West Coast to East Coast), and I'm planning primarily to take clothing, books, sheets and whatnot, some gaming systems, cooking supplies, and potentially a TV. I don't intend to take any furniture. I think it'll probably just be cheaper if I buy some cheap sets when I get to my grad school. Budget is a huge priority for me, so I'm looking basically to find somewhere cheap. I've had issues with upstairs neighbors for sometime, so I'm also looking to get on the top floor of whatever apartment I get into (for this, I am willing to spend a little more for). The school itself is in a rural part of town, but their is a major city (the capitol) that is basically a 10-20 minute drive away. While housing is short in the town, I'm assuming it shouldn't be short in the big city nearby, and it is someplace I'm willing to live in. Finally, I start Fall of 2018 (so I'm assuming sometime in August of this year). I'm not looking for exact dates/times, just a general timeline. I.E. I'm assuming 4 months is too early to move there, but I'm assuming 1 month is too late. I'm thinking it'll take sometime for me to find some place affordable/cheap (especially since isolating my search to top floors of apartment buildings will really limit my options), and then I'll have to move stuff in, spend sometime looking around finding out where the markets are, learning the public transportation system, getting situated into my apartment once I do move into it, etc. etc. etc. all before I start my PhD. It'll also give me time to get to know some grad students, and basically network a bit before I really get busy. Thank you ahead of time as always!
  2. So it seems it'd be best to go scout the area around a 1-2months in advance. How long did you spend scouting the area? A few days? A week? Did you guys already call ahead of time and make appointments for looking at rooms at various apartments across town?
  3. Need Advice! Grad School or Job Opp?

    I should mention, the reason I stay isn't really for the company. While I do enjoy it, and the money is nice, I'd leave it in a heartbeat for a PhD. The only reason I'm really trying to defer is just for resume building and the extra money. Again in your situation, that extra money is a lot more crucial. I know a lot of people who have gone into debt from school, and it's not pretty. Right now you're mentally between a rock and a hard place, but if you do leave your job unprepared financially for grad school, then you'll physically be between a rock and a hard place (which is much worse and harder to get out of). I don't know what career you plan on pursuing, but it better have a big pay off with just a Masters (if you're planning on taking out loans). Regardless, good luck on your decision! Hope it works out for you!
  4. Need Advice! Grad School or Job Opp?

    I got a job when I first applied to schools. I really do like my job and the people I work with, but a PhD is my real goal. I am attempting to see if I can defer however, since by the time I go to school, it'll be less than ~10months, which doesn't look that great on a resume. Plus, this is my only industry job in the field I am looking to go into, so getting that experience and reference is incredibly important. Furthermore, I am told I will be getting a promotion this summer, and this company is pretty generous with their wages, so I am getting some pretty good money coming my way this summer as well. All in all, while I am eager to pursue my PhD, but deferring a year for my career will benefit me both now (money) and in the long run (resume building). All that being said, my ultimate goal is a PhD. So if I cannot defer, then I will choose my PhD over my current job. One final thing to note: For my PhD, I do get a stipend (varies by school), so won't have to pay out of pocket for anything or take out loans (if I spend within the budget provided). So while having plentiful savings is good to have, it is not crucial. For a Masters, savings are crucial unless you want to go into a lot of debt. And student loans stick with you for life. I'd highly look into what @insert Psychologist said. So I think you should take that into serious consideration as well before you pursue your Masters (maybe even don't go even if you can't defer).
  5. Do people actually get off waitlists?

    While I'm not in SPL, I was waitlisted for one of my schools, and did receive an acceptance letter ~2 weeks after my waitlist email. In my instance, one of the faculty members at the school personally arranged some funds for me and got me accepted. The acceptance later basically said if I did accept, I would have to work in his lab due to this.
  6. Venting Thread- Vent about anything.

    Choosing between schools is turning out to be the most difficult decision of my life. There are so many factors, and the worst part is, I have all the pros and cons on a list, but I don't know what I really want. I don't know what I will want 3-4 years down the line, and I don't know which is the best choice. Every single day I go through them over and over again, trying to convince myself of one school over another, and every day I end back up to square one. It's getting to the point that I'm basically thinking of doing a coin toss and going to whichever school it lands on. It's just very frustrating and difficult. Add the fact my girlfriend is trying to transition and accept I'm basically going to be gone for 4-5 years, and this entire process went from exciting prospects to the point where I just want to coin toss and be over with it.
  7. Ames, IA

    Hello, hope there are still some of you on here to help answer some questions. I've googled the city itself extensively, and there is one thing that I am curious about. It appears that the ISU region is pretty cheap, and based off the stipend, there should be no financial problems finding a place to live there without rooming (although it appears room is limited based on some of these posts). It also appears the city itself is pretty quite and devoid of really any "night-life" activities outside of just drinking. Terrain wise also limits stuff like hiking or skiing (no mountains) or any beach activities (no beaches of course), so outdoor activities are limited. The one thing I was looking for at least in a positive light, is the fact that it is a college city. A city populated almost entirely by college students, must have a lot of great parties and whatnot right? Or at least that is my impression. I have an idea of how the city of Ames itself is, but how is the college life? I've never lived in a college city before, so everything I know is simply from my imaginations of what it must be like. Do the students change the "quiet atmosphere" of the rural life/city and reinvigorate the city by their (what I guess I would call youthful) energy, or do they succumb to the quiet rural life, and study and drink, and then go to bed. I don't need a live city, but I do need a live populous. And my impression was, a bunch of 18-23 year old students with a city for themselves, wel... it must be a live populous right?
  8. Farmington, CT

    Hello everyone, So there is a strong potential I am be going to UConn, the Farmington campus at UConn health. I see a lot of posts for the Storrs campus, but none for Farmington. Considering it's a smaller city, but close to the Capital (Hartford), there are a few questions I had about the city. Price of living? From what I can ascertain, it appears the general region of West Hartford all the way to Avon and Plainsville is on the more expensive side. Hartford itself is relatively cheaper, but not by much. Is a stipend of 30,000 enough to live in a 1-bedroom comfortably there? Hartford is cheaper, but there is also a much higher crime rate there. Are there any surrounding areas that are cheaper but still relatively close to the Campus/Hospital and safe? How about public transportation? I will most likely be using that to get around, and depending on how good the public transportation is, it'll effect how far I'm willing to live.Even though Farmington doesn't have much to do, I'm assuming Hartford should/will. Considering the crime rate however, how is the night life/city life over there? E.G. Can one live in the rurals like plainsville but drive over for the night to Hartford for a night of dancing or clubbing? Any information regarding that region would be very useful/helpful. Thank you!
  9. Hello everyone, So I just received an email from a POI that I interviewed with at a school, regarding their attempts to organize a fellowship for me. However, I am waitlisted at this school. The POI says they and another faculty member who I'm interested in were very impressed, and they would love for me to join their lab. The problem is however, I have been informed that I probably will not hear the results of whether I get in or not from this school, until sometime late April (at which point it is too late to accept any offer from any other school and I'm left hoping I'm accepted via waitlist from this school). The problem is, I don't exactly know how to reply to this email. On one hand, I want to thank them and say I am also interested in both their labs (the POI and the other faculty member), and in the school. On the other hand I also want to tell them being waitlisted is a serious concern for me, and I don't want to put my entire PhD on the line for a risk like this. I have been accepted to other programs, and they are also very appealing. Now I like this school, and this school is actually at the top of my list, but as I stated prior, I don't want to end up finding out I did not get into the program and basically have to reapply again for Fall 2019. I also don't want to just ignore this email. How can I tell them I appreciate the attempt, and would love to go to that school, but also convey that there is a serious concern that I am waitlisted, and that I don't want to throw away all my other offers for a "chance" to go to this school, all without sending the idea I've given up on this school or that I am uninterested, or that their attempts at getting a fellowship for me is useless. Thank you as always!
  10. Waitlisting conversation with POI

    Thank you for the reply. My only concern is, if I do ask for an extension from school B or C, will that create a negative impression or have any negative repercussions if school B has offered me say fellowships/scholarships? Will they rescind their offer for these scholarships?
  11. Hello everyone, I just received an email today that is potentially a game changer in my decision for which school I want to go to. I received an email regarding an offer of a fellowship if I choose to go to that school. Now I don't know much about fellowships, but I do know they look good on resumes. The problem is, I don't know how much of an impact fellowships make on resume (in other words, how "good' they look). If I recall, fellowships simply replace other methods of income (i.e. your stipend from RA or TA), so it's not extra money. So how important is receiving a fellowship? I'm trying to decide how much value to give this in regards to making my decision. Thank you ahead of time!
  12. Okay, thank you! This is exactly what I was looking for.
  13. Anyone else felt led on?

    Sadly that is life. Job interviews are the same thing. They tell you they want you, interview goes great and they say they can't wait to get you started. Then a short while later you receive an email saying thank you but the job position is filled. Overall, rejections suck, even if you know you're gonna get rejected (I applied to Harvard with a 3.0 GPA, knew I was gonna get rejected, but it still stung when the email came in). Hopefully you're other schools worked out!
  14. Anyone else felt led on?

    The POI is not responsible for accepting you alone (if she is even part of the committee). There is a graduate committee that reviews applications, gets feedback from the professors who interviewed you, and then makes a group decision on who to accept, waitlist, and reject. There are many reasons why a student might get rejected, and I wouldn't say the PI led you on. It is assumed you understand that this is process, and there is a real possibility you might not get in. They simply informed you they were interested in you and would love for you to join their lab, and IF you got accepted, then you would have to look at the funding package as a factor for your decision.
  15. So this fellowship is only for the first year, and it is in addition to the stipend (so additional income). In the email, I am told it is only awarded to exceptional students in attempts to recruit them to the school. So I'm assuming it's somewhat prestigious based off that? While yes, it does allow me to focus more on research and less on TAing, this is only in the first year, and that first year is primarily rotations and classes. So in regards to the impact it would make on my research freedom, it seems minimal in the long run. So the main thing it appears I'll be getting out of it is, a little bit of pocket change in my first year, and something to put on my resume. This is why I'm curious about how much of an impact it should make in my decision, how much weight I should assign to it.
  16. Research vs. Location

    Hello everyone! So I am at the point of deciding between schools, and I've come to realize, it isn't as easy as I originally thought. Early on in my search, my only priority was research/program. I applied to schools that had a good amount of faculty doing research I was interested in. Now I have visited the faculty and the school and have narrowed my search down to primarily 2 schools, but have realized that location is coming to play a much bigger role than I thought. On one hand, School 1 has everything I want in terms of location. Literally everything. Geography/terrain, culture, demographic, pricing, etc. It is a city/state I would love to live in. The school itself is nice, and specifically there are 2 faculty members who's research I am very interested in. But that is really about it, and I am a bit worried about putting all my interest in just 2 people. On the other hand, School 2 has nothing I want in terms of location. I dislike the terrain/geography, culture, demographic, etc. It is a city/state I really have no interest in living in. The school itself is actually beautiful (one of the most beautiful campuses I've ever seen), and there are a looot of faculty members I'd like to do research with (8+ at least). Their research program is amazing. There are some funding issues with most of the faculty however, which does make me a bit cautious (it appears not all of them have great funding), but there being so many faculty members I'd be willing to work with, I don't think this will be a problem (worst case scenario I may have to teach a bit more than I desire). I know the priority is always research. That is the whole point of a PhD, and I have been told multiple times that location should not be my deciding factor. However, I do think it is an important factor. So how much credence/weight do you (or did you) guys put in making your decision?
  17. Hello everyone, There is something I have been hearing for quite some time now in my various interviews, and now that I've heard back from almost everyone (and am pretty sure as to the decision of those I haven't), I've started thinking about it. So from what I've heard, it is possible to basically ask for a higher stipend by informing the school of interest that another school is offering you admissions but with a higher stipend. From this, you proceed to basically see if they can match or even go higher than what the other school is offering. Is this a bad idea? I assume a stipend is calculated taking in living conditions and tuition, and whatnot. So asking anymore isn't exactly "necessary" (as what you might say if you were asking a raise for a job), but rather a bit greedy. Each school will give a stipend for each location and its living cost, so it also seems useless to compare one schools stipend to another. Be that as it may, I do also enjoy extra money and am curious as to how one would proceed to go about this and the potential repercussions.
  18. Research vs. Location

    Shhh. Yes it is Iowa State. I would complete it with the same probability as I would in school 1. It is simply a matter of, I would love to live in City 1, but not really in City 2. So yes, I will be unhappy in City 2, but I'll make do. Funding wise? I don't exactly know.. I asked some faculty regarding funding, and they said they have funding now, but not next year, or that they have 2 grants in the process, etc. Regardless, no one gave me a, yes I have complete funding for you. It was always either going to get funding, or have funding for X years (but not guarentee for years Y). Now this may be the case with all schools, and maybe IA state was just more open about their funding. The other schools I talked to, all of them basically told me, Yes, we have funding for you (they did not mention anything about funding only for a certain amount of time or that they have grants in the process), or no we don't and are not accepting students. The students themselves told me that it is not uncommon for your PI to run out of funding and that you'll have to basically teach for some time until the PI gets another grant (note: this was the case with most of the students of the PIs I talked to). Since I don't know the details about how funding works, this is more of a feeling that there may be some potential funding issues.
  19. Good Protein NMR research labs/schools

    Now that I've been to Iowa States BBMB (and the other programs), just wanted to say for protein NMR (structure and dynamics), it really is the best school from that entire list. Out of all those schools that I looked at, I have not seen one that has so many faculty members doing structural biology and dynamics (of proteins) using NMR (they of course use other methods, but that is their primary method). Where some schools have protein NMR but do a general jack of all trades (lots of in vivo, cell bio, immuno, stem cell, etc.). Iowa State focuses almost entirely on structural biology. Just a few more names outside of the ones on that list for anyone looking: Dr. Barb, Dr. Underbakke, Dr. Chen No personalities of any of these people really came off as negatively. (Dr. Venditti doesn't pay his students entirely, having them basically TA every semester/summer to make their stipends, but other than that, no other problems). Also, one last thing about Iowa State, lots of schools say they have a pretty campus, but this school really does have an amazing campus.
  20. Good Protein NMR research labs/schools

    Hello everyone, I have been looking for protein NMR research labs the past month, and have compiled, what I think is a semi-decent list, that I thought I would share for anyone looking into the same field. There will be many schools I have missed of course, but I think this is at least a decent starting point. NOTE: There are many good international schools for protein NMR as well, this is only for US schools. Criteria: 1) The focus of the lab must be primarily NMR (solid-state or liquid), other biophysical/computational methods may be used as well, but the focus is NMR. 2) This is not about developing NMR methods, but its application. The lab may have some development as well, but from my readings, it appears they have a major application component as well. 3) The lab must focus on proteins, now this could be protein-DNA, protein-RNA, or protein-protein, but the focus is on either structure,dynamics, or folding (for the most part). 4) Each lab must have at least 3 members minimum that pass the above guidelines With that being said, these are the schools with the following faculty members that pass the above criteria: John Hoppkins (Joel Schildbach, David R. Shortle, Vincent J. Hilser, Juliette Lecomte, Karen Fleming, Tolman lab) Scripps Institute (Jane Dyson, Peter Wright, Kurt Wuthrich, Takanori Otomo) Brown University (Nicolas Fawzi, Wolfgang Peti, Rebecca Page,) Harvard (Victoria D'souza, Haribabu Arthanari, James Jeiwen Chou, Gerhard Wagner) Yale (Karen S Anderson, George Petter Beardsley, Andrew D. Miranker, Patrick Loria, maybe Elias Lolis) Stanford (Lynette Cegelski, Elisabetta Viani Puglisi, Joseph Puglisi) Cornell (Linda Nicholson, maybe Jack Freed, Robert E. Oswald) Duke (Leonard D. Spicer, Terrence Gilbert Oas, Pei Zhou, Al-Hashimi) State College of New York (Kevin Dardner, Zimei Bu, Ranajeet ghose) University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (Sharon Campbell, David Williams, maybe Gary Pielak, Andrew L Lee, Qi Zhang) University of Conneticut (Cole, Dmitry Korzhnev, Michael Gryk, Irina Bezsnova, Alexandrescu, Teschke) University of Washington (Rachel Klevit, Gabriele Varani, Michael Massiah) University of Minnesota (Kevin H. Mayo, Gianluigi Veglia, Hiroshi Matsuo [NIH], Ian M. Armitage, maybe Ferguson, Kalodimos ) University of Georgia (Jeffery Urbauer, Art Edison, maybe James Prestegard, Arthur Roberts) University of Wisconsin (Cavagnero, Katherin wildman, Markley) University of Michigan ( Rams Ramamoorthy, Randy Stockbridge, Tomasz Cierpicki, Erik Zuiderweg, Jeffrey W. Peng) University of Alabama (N. Rama Krishna, Jun Zhang, Margret Johnson, Russel Timkovish) University of Virginia (John Bushweller, Linda Columbus,David S. Cafiso, Charles M. Grisham,) University of Pennsylvania ( Joshua Wand, Heinrich Roder, Walter Englander) Oregon State University (Afua Nyarko, Victor Hsu, Elisar Barbar) Iowa State University (Julien Roche, Amy Andreotti, Vincenzo Venditti) Case Western Reserve University (Matthias Buck, Zagorski, Blanton S. Tolber, Jun Qin) Brandeis University (Dorothee Kern, Thomas Pochapsky, Judith Herzfeld, Klaus Schmidt-Rohr) University of Montanta (Valerie Copie, Klara Briknarova [this only has 2 but I really liked their research]) University of Utah (Jack J. Skalicky, Peter Flynn, Bethany Buck-Koehntop, Gholdenberg) University of Colorado (Arthur Pardi, Loren Hough, David Jones,Tatiana Kutateladze, Beat Vogeli) University of Arizona (Wolfgang Peti, Matthew Cordes, Michael F. Brown) NOTE: USC also had 3, however due to the personality of one of the faculty members (Tobias Ulmer), I crossed them off, and thus, crossed off USC from my list (left me with only 2 faculty) Again there are many schools that I may have missed, but I think this is a good list to start with. I am done looking at schools personally, I think this is a big enough range of researchers for me to work with, but if anyone else has more suggestions, feel free to post them below. I've tried to be as comprehensive as possible with the schools listed above, so the names there I believe should be the only faculty members that fit the criteria stated above. Again, if I missed any schools, or any people, please feel free to add them below. Hope this helps. Happy Searching! EDIT: Forgot the mention, the NIH also has a lot of great protein NMR labs that you can do your PhD under as well. Didn't really look too into that in detail, but I know they have a lot of good labs as well.
  21. How long can you postpone a job offer?

    Hello everyone, So if anyone has read my previous posts, this is an extension to that. So I had 3 potential job offers, and was awaiting a response from all of them. I was told 2 of them would take 2 weeks, and one of them would take 1 week. However, I don't know if they really liked me, or just said two weeks so they had a workable timeframe, I just got a job offer from one of the 2 week ones. As per my previous post, this is from the small start up company for 40k/yr with benefits. I am awaiting another job offer next week (I don't think this will be better than my current offer), and another one in 2 weeks. The one in 2 weeks is the big pharma 45k/yr with stock options. My question now is, how long can I postpone accepting the offer? I think I can tell them I'd like to give them my decision next week (at this point I'll have heard back from at least on of the interviews), but is postponing for 2 weeks too long? Secondly, I told them this was my ideal job and I'd love to be a part of the company (which is true, this was my first pick until I received info regarding the 45k/yr with benefits and took into account big pharma could be a great resume builder), so would they be insulted/offended if I didn't accept it right away? I don't know if this is a factor, but they told me they also would like me to start immediately (Monday of next week). I've already called my current job and told them I'm leaving, but I don't want to lose this job offer, only to wait 2 weeks and find out the other company said no. It also appears to be a general concensus however the big pharma offer is a better deal. Thank you ahead of time, and sorry for all these posts! This is my first "big" job in the pharma industry and my future career, and I really don't want to burn any bridges or lost my chance to get my foot in the door. Just a bit more info: The current job offer is an R&D job at a small company. The Big pharma job is manufacturing. I do plan on pursuing a career in R&D after my PhD, not manufacturing. Finally, I do plan on leaving summer of next year for my PhD, so I'd only work for a little over half a year. This may upset the company, and if it comes down to burning bridges, I'd much rather burn the small start ups bridges than the already established big pharma company.
  22. Advice on Job Search

    Hello everyone, So I have been on the job search now for 3 months, applied to over a billion places (literally everything under the biotech sun), and got a bunch of interviews, but no job offers. Overtime, I learned a few tactics, and went from getting one interview a week, to getting an interview for almost everything I applied for. From getting no job offers, to getting 3 job offers in one week. I thought I'd come here and just give some feedback on what I've learned through my application process, and state what I was doing wrong and how I fixed it. Now a lot of this advice is actually pretty cliche. It's nothing new, just things that I had heard but never paid attention to or never realized how important they would be. Nor did I know how to implement them until recently. My experience is from the Biotech field, but I think this advice can extend to probably all fields. Resume: This is what any employer will see first. I had made a resume, fine tuned it, had it looked at and edited by multiple people, and everyone said it was great. However, it was a very great but generic resume. 1) DO NOT send the same application to everything. Fine tune your application to every job you are applying to. Everyone told me you don't want your cv/resume more than 2 pages. This is absolute blasphemy for my field. Do not be afraid to go over to 3 or even four pages if you need to emphasize specific skill sets or techniques that are relavent to the position you are applying to. I.E. In my lab, we did everything from protein expression, to purification, to NMR analysis, to binding and mutagensis studies, all the way to computational work. I very briefly have stated all that on my generic all encompassing resume. However, when I apply to say a Cell Therapy Specialist (basically a job focusing on cell culture and expression), I modify my resume to focus on my protein expression work. Everything from what cell lines I used, to what ingredients I used, to what antibiotics I used, etc. I went from 2 pages, to 3 by just discussing the details of my cell culture experience. Again, you want to keep it brief, but if it relates to the job at hand, don't be afraid to go into detail. They want to know you have plenty of experience in the field you are applying to, and the more you can demonstrate that on your resume, the more they will be interested in you. (Everyone can write they've done protein expression work. But the difference between someone who did it once, or only did a minor part of it can be easily shown by the amount of detail you discuss in your resume). This applies to everything though. A computational lab? Focus on what programs you used, what scripting you did, what program languages C++ or whatnot that you may have used. Analytical lab? Focus on what chromotography techniques you used. What columns? How often did you use it? What did you analyze and what was it used for? By doing this, I went from the occassional phone call, to getting a phone call or interview for every single job I applied to. 2) Using "search words" or "key words". Basically, look in your job posting, and see if certain words stand out that you can use in modifying your resume. I.E. From the previous example above. The job description for the Cell Specialist used key words like, cell culture experience required, or experience with cell culture products prefered. So instead of saying I expressed proteins, I add the term cell culture experience. Original Version: Expressing proteins using E. Coli Modified Version: Cell culture experience expressing proteins using E. Coli Same with the cell culture products. I used a product called Bioexpress and various additives that helped my proteins express better. Same thing with the wording. Original Version: Experience using media supplements such as Bioexpress Modified Version: Experience with cell culture products such as Bioexpress In the examples above, I changed the wording around to match the wording the job description used. Theoretically, I am saying the same thing in both examples, but to the reader those statements stand out much more as making me "more qualified". Interview: So now they like you, they want to see if you are a good fit to the company, and can support your resume. If you are a good honest hardworking person, then you know whats on your resume, and can basically back up everything they ask you about it and your previous experience, but how you state your skill set is almost as important as the skill set itself. 1) One of the first questions I was always asked was: "why do you want to work here?" Now for me, I was straight out of college, and wanted to explore the field of biochemistry. I didn't know much about the field and industry, so I thought this would a great opportunity to get experience. THIS IS A BIG NO NO! The company does not want to be the guinea pig to your job search field exploration experiment. They want someone who is looking for a career. When they ask you this question, you better have a really good answer. How can you have a good answer you ask? Well this is exactly why I'm making this post. Research the company before the interview (both before the phone interview, and the in person one). Find out what this company does, look at their site, their services, their videos, and what part of it sounds interesting/cool to you. Next, check out the job position, and what role you would have in the company. This will not be as obvious as what the company does, but use the job description and your knowledge of the company to try and get an idea of what you may be doing there, and see what part of that sounds interesting/cool. If you're gonna have to convince them, you're gonna have to convince yourself first. I.E. I'll just use the same example for simplicity. The cell therapy specialist. This company worked on modifying the bodies T-cells to help combat and cure cancer in patients. The method is relatively harmless (compared to chemo) and has a high success rate and low rate of remission. The position I was applying for was a manufacturing position. So my job would be to basically get human T-cells, modify them with the companies proprietary technology, and then simple scale up the modified T-cells and ship it out the patient for injection. This meant I would be directly making the medicine/treatment the cancer patient would be using to cure themselves. So when they asked me why did I want to work there, its because I looked at what the company does, looked at the technology and its success rate, and looked at the job description, and decided I want to be a part of this and save lives. I told them I believe in the companies vision and what they are doing, and I wanted to have an active role in creating the treatment for these poor cancer patients. (I had also seen on the companies site the treatment was not done with its clinical trials, so it was only used for the cancer patients who were basically at their last chance for a cure), so I used that by saying we are the last line of hope for these people, and I wanted to help cure them. This will make you look like you care about the company, its vision, and plan a career there. 2) The next most common question: "Why do you want position X (what you applied for) instead of position Y (another possible position)"? The company will want to know what your true interests are. Again, this is to determine whether you are looking for a career in this position (which is usually what they want), or just want a quick job and applied because you thought you were eligible or whatever. I.E. Again similar example. In Science, you have R&D, Manufacturing, and QA/QC. These are the most common examples, and each one is different. R&D is researching the medicine, coming up with new and improved drugs. Manufacturing as you might have imagined is making the drug, and QA/QC is quality assurance/control and is to make sure the drug is being manufactured properly basically. Now many scientists want R&D, because its challenging, mentally stimulating, and always changing. Manufacturing and QA/QC is usually just doing the same thing over and over and over again, and no one wants to feel like they went to school for multiple years to simply become a robot. So in my position: "Why do you want a Manufacturing position instead of an R&D position"? "If we had an R&D position available, would you like us to put your resume into that?". The solution for both of these are the same as above. Research the company, and your position in the company, and find out what about it is interesting and cool. So when they ask you this, you can give them an in depth and detailed answer why you are applying for that position. You don't want to come off like the job your applying for is your last choice and you just wanted to get whatever you could. Make it seem like you really want this job, and that this is a real dream career for you. 3) This is something more on the spot, improv if you will, that I found to be incredibly helpful and got really good feedback from the people I was being interviewed by when I did this. So the next most common question outside of the 2 above is: "Tell me one of your strengths (and sometimes weaknesses too)?" Now you could give some generic answer "I pay attention to detail, or am organized, great time management, etc. etc etc.", everyone says this and it will not make you stand out. This will almost never be the first question, so you will have some time after they ask the first question and your answer, to gauge the interview a bit. What i mean by this is try and get a feel for the person, for the company (now that you're in the building), for the position itself (after doing some research and discussing it with the person). Then, give an answer that is actually applicable to the position you are applying for. I.E. Again, same example as above. The building I went into was very chaotic, and everyone was sorta running all over the place. I thought it humorous, so as the guy was walking me to the interview room, I commented on it, and he said its a very intense and busy place, and everyone is always doing something. The guy himself seemed very straight forward, professional (non-conversational), and terse. This is for a Manufacturing position dealing with human cells, and cells are very time sensitive. So gathering all this info together, when he asked me what is one of my strengths, I didn't just give him a one word answer, but rather described my strength. I told him back when I was an undergrad, I had classes, and had to keep up with the lab. Bacteria are very time sensitive, so you had manage your time properly so that they didn't die, and your experiment wasn't ruined. At the same time, you had to make sure you managed your time with your classes, and the classes and research of other lab members in the lab too, so that you didn't impede on their work, nor fail your classes. All this taught me valuable time management skills allowing me to successfully juggle multiple things in a busy environment. He told me that is exactly what they are looking for, and then went into detail about how time sensitive their samples are, and how busy their work place is, etc. etc etc Describe your strength, and do so in a way that directly applies to what you are applying for. One other thing that I wanted to add that always ended positively for me is, your previous skill set is a strength too (don't be afraid to throw in a 2nd strength even if they asked only for one). I.E. Same example above. After my time management, I told him I also had experience with cell culture and expressing cells. I know how to work in a lab with other people, while working independently as well. Working with cells also means you need to have asceptic technique (another key word in the job description). Finally, I had to constantly maintain a lab notebook and write all the details of my experiments down as they were being conducted, so I have experience maintaining and writing notes on everything I do (this type of manufacturing is regulated very heavily, and it is crucial you document every tiny thing you do, otherwise it is a huge liability on the company). Therefore, I would focus less on basic training, and be able to get incorporated into the job faster and focus more on the in-depth detailed training, not only that, since I know the foundation of all of this due to my biochem background, I'd also understand what is going on at a molecular level, and wouldn't need to learn the foundational knowledge for what is going on, but rather take my knowledge and simply apply it to the job. All of that, makes me stand out even more now, because I just indicated i have the experience and knowledge that will help me succeed through the training faster, making me start the job faster (which is basically what they want). 4) One final thing that I think will really help you stand out, is a good question to ask them (because they will always ask you if you have any questions to ask them). Now there are many questions you can ask them "Can you take me through what I would be doing on a daily basis here" or "How do you like working here" etc. The one I've found to be the most useful goes something along the lines of this: "Since I'm looking at this position as a career, what potential opportunities for growth does this position have?". I think this is a really good question because it makes it look like you are looking at the position as a career and not just a quick job, but also because you are looking at the position, company, and your future within it seriously. I think its a great closer, and lets them know you are serious about starting a career with this company in the position you applied for (and that you aren't just going to leave as soon as you get something better). I'm sure I'm missing a lot, but these are I think the basics and I think the most important. A Tl'Dr version: Make your resume detailed so that it stands out and makes it look like you know exactly what you're applying for. Make sure you research the company and position in depth so you can discuss why you would be a good fit for the job, and why you even want it. Make sure you ask good compelling questions that show you are putting in some serious thought about your future in the company. All in all, make it seem like you REALLY want this job. This job is your career, your potential future, and your current desire. The company is investing in you for the long haul, and they want to know you are investing in them too. I apologize for how long this turned out. I had meant it be shorter, but I really wanted to go in detail so I could fully explain what I was trying to say. The advice I state above is very common advice, but I really wanted to show clear examples of how to actually use that common advice. I hope this helps anyone in their current job search! And if anyone has anything to add, feel free! NOTE: This is all from my personal experience searching for jobs in the biotech industry. Each industry and experience may be different, these are just things that helped me that I thought may also be applicable to jobs outside of the biotech industry.
  23. 2018 Applicant Profiles and Admissions Results

    I just looked online, and the interview dates for script are (for La Jolla campus) Feb 22-25th and Mar 1-4th. So I'm assuming if I haven't heard anything from them at this point, I'm taking that as a rejection
  24. The PhD Application feels thread

    Hello Everyone, So initially, I planned to make this about rejection letters themselves, or the awful silence of schools and the doubt and anxiety that follows it, but I decided we should have a feels thread for the entire process. The whole thing is just anxiety filled. From getting terrible test scores on your GRE all the way to the rejection letter itself. Personally, I've had 2 moments I would consider soul crushing during my application process this year. The first was when I received a 149Q on my GRE when I'm trying to apply to Biochem. After weeks of studying, a lot of money and stress later, I am left with a score that is unusable for my field. Granted I retook it and did better the second time around, but sitting there behind the monitor as it loads up your score and shows you that 149 was really just emotionally draining. Really made me reconsider my entire PhD quest for a little while, wondering if it meant I just wasn't smart enough or ready for a PhD in general. The 2nd time are these rejection letters. I aimed a lot higher than my scores and grades would place me at, so I expected to get some rejections if not all. But getting rejection emails still sting and are a bit demoralizing. Especially when you tell people where you're applying, and not only do you have to live with the disappointment of yourself, but you have the disappointment of others when they start asking you what the schools said. It's come to a point that I'm not even going to ask my friends how their application process went. If they got into a school, I'll wait for them to tell me, and if they didn't, well we act like it didn't even happen. Luckily, I have been accepted into one program, and have a good feeling about another. But I honestly can't even begin to imagine how it must feel to get rejected to all the schools you applied to, especially if you applied to like 15-20 schools or something. Anyways, this entire past 7 months have been super stressful and have sucked. From GRE tests, to writing SOPs, to the anxiety of getting LOR. Everything. It's made even worse because every hiccup makes me question whether I'm even ready for it or not. Regardless, my top choice is still silent (so theirs still hope), and my 2nd choice gave me an interview, so I'm still really excited for this application process!