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How to get the most from a masters in biostats?

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I'll be starting a masters biostats program in the fall and I'm wondering what sorts of things I should do to maximize my employability upon graduation. I am unsure if I want to continue for a PhD at this point.


Obviously networking will be important. Aside from that, should I not focus on research/publications (aside from my thesis) and try to get consulting experience? What about TA? Volunteer work? How can I make sure I'm spending my time on the right things?

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Congrats on getting into Hopkins!


I strongly recommend focusing on research and trying to publish. If you have knowledge and experience in data analysis, you might look into working on an applied statistics project either in biostatistics or in a department like epidemiology or environmental health. For the purposes of publishing, steer clear of research projects that are still in the early stages of data collection, or projects that primarily involve data entry or data cleaning.


Consulting and publishing can go together nicely. If you can find work in a consulting center, there may be an opportunity to get on some papers.


Personally I don't think networking or TAing are that important. Everybody TA's these days so it won't help to distinguish you from your peers. Networking can't hurt, but I don't think it should too big of a priority for you right now. Better to focus on coursework and research. Volunteering is always a good thing, but I would not expect it to help your job prospects very much after graduating.


Good luck!

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Best advice I can give you if you don't want to get your PhD, know SAS well. 90% of the jobs out there require you know SAS and the better you are at it, the easier it will be to get a job. If you can, learn how to use R as well, but I think R is easier to learn if you have some programming experience.

If your program doesn't teach SAS, learn it on your own. Spending time on that will only be a benefit to you.

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I am in a similiar but different field but have some advice that applies to most fields.


Get to know your professors well! Be that top student in their class who has 100 on every assignment and always participates. Many people in my program end up with jobs because of professor's connections. When a professor gets an email from someone looking to hire a recent grad (professors in my program get lots of these), you want to be the name that comes to mind. If you end up getting a phd, then these same people can be letter writers so it will be helpful either way!

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