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inadequate

Stanford biosciences, Berkeley mcb, UCSF tetrad

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I'm trying to make the decision here between these 3 programs. I know a lot of it's personal, but not all of it is.

In terms of "career success" (whatever that means), do you think one stands out? Like I enjoyed my visit to Berkeley a lot, but I worried I'm harming my career if I don't pick Stanford. 

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37 minutes ago, prospectivegrad1 said:

Which school has more PIs you are interested in rotating with? 

 

 

They're pretty similar. And unfortunately in a bad way. I'm not as excited about any of the labs as I was in the past. But that's another discussion.

In this thread, I'm just hoping I can get a feel for how significantly each school's name/prestige will affect my marketability. 

Edited by inadequate

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1 hour ago, inadequate said:

 

They're pretty similar. And unfortunately in a bad way. I'm not as excited about any of the labs as I was in the past. But that's another discussion.

In this thread, I'm just hoping I can get a feel for how significantly each school's name/prestige will affect my marketability. 

 
 

Okay, if you are equally as happy at all 3 schools, then I think Stanford will give you an advantage in terms of marketability. 

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1 minute ago, prospectivegrad1 said:

Okay, if you are equally as happy at all 3 schools, then I think Stanford will give you an advantage in terms of marketability. 

 

Significantly? Or just a little?

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2 minutes ago, inadequate said:

 

Significantly? Or just a little?

 

Probably just a little bit. I don't like talking about prestige but I believe the ranking of prestige is: Stanford > UCSF > Berkeley. Again, I would go where ever you are happiest but, all else equal, Stanford will give you a slight lead in terms of marketability. Will this slight lead make the difference between landing an industry job and not? I don't know because I'm not in industry but it could.

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Stanford is probably the most prestigious of the three because of its universal excellence in nearly every academic field (STEM, business, law, humanities). Having said that, Berkeley is quite renowned (Physics, CS, ML). Within the medical and biomedical communities, UCSF is outstanding. 

I also was accepted to all three. I liked them all and could see myself happy at any of them. 

You should go where you'd rather live. The three locations are actually quite different. 

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3 hours ago, Bioenchilada said:

I think that in terms of marketability, the differences are marginal at best. Go where you fit in best. 

Agreed. I'm currently in the industry and have interviewed many people. No one cares if you went to Stanford vs Cal vs UCSF. They're all top tier, have their own extensive networking opportunities, and it makes zero difference to hiring managers. Go with the school you actually like the best. 

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47 minutes ago, LoveMysterious said:

Agreed. I'm currently in the industry and have interviewed many people. No one cares if you went to Stanford vs Cal vs UCSF. They're all top tier, have their own extensive networking opportunities, and it makes zero difference to hiring managers. Go with the school you actually like the best. 

 

Really? Hiring managers would see them as equivalent? And you know this from experience in industry?

Sorry, I realize it sounds like I'm doubting you, but I need to be sure.

Edited by inadequate

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1 hour ago, inadequate said:

 

Really? Hiring managers would see them as equivalent? And you know this from experience in industry?

Sorry, I realize it sounds like I'm doubting you, but I need to be sure.

Yeah, you're seriously overthinking how much people care. Hiring managers care about your research experience, skill set, and how well you'd fit in a team dynamic. No one cares where you went to school unless its a top tier school (which all three of your choices are) and in that case maybe - and I seriously mean MAYBE - it will give you a tiny extra advantage over other candidates. For the most part though, no one cares. This isn't like law or business; in biotech, your skill set matters exponentially more than what school you went to. If you want to go into biotech, your number one goal should be to expose yourself to as much cutting-edge technology as possible (NGS, CRISPR, flow cytometry, etc). The exact ranking of an already elite university will mean literally nothing. 

And no need to apologize from doubting a random person from the internet. But yeah, I've been in the industry (and multiple companies) for the past 4 years so I do know what I'm talking about here. Hope this helps. 

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1 minute ago, LoveMysterious said:

Yeah, you're seriously overthinking how much people care. Hiring managers care about your research experience, skill set, and how well you'd fit in a team dynamic. No one cares where you went to school unless its a top tier school (which all three of your choices are) and in that case maybe - and I seriously mean MAYBE - it will give you a tiny extra advantage over other candidates. For the most part though, no one cares. This isn't like law or business; in biotech, your skill set matters exponentially more than what school you went to. If you want to go into biotech, your number one goal should be to expose yourself to as much cutting-edge technology as possible (NGS, CRISPR, flow cytometry, etc). The exact ranking of an already elite university will mean literally nothing. 

And no need to apologize from doubting a random person from the internet. But yeah, I've been in the industry (and multiple companies) for the past 4 years so I do know what I'm talking about here. Hope this helps. 

 

It helps a lot. Thank you.

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3 minutes ago, LoveMysterious said:

Yeah, you're seriously overthinking how much people care. Hiring managers care about your research experience, skill set, and how well you'd fit in a team dynamic. No one cares where you went to school unless its a top tier school (which all three of your choices are) and in that case maybe - and I seriously mean MAYBE - it will give you a tiny extra advantage over other candidates. For the most part though, no one cares. This isn't like law or business; in biotech, your skill set matters exponentially more than what school you went to. If you want to go into biotech, your number one goal should be to expose yourself to as much cutting-edge technology as possible (NGS, CRISPR, flow cytometry, etc). The exact ranking of an already elite university will mean literally nothing. 

And no need to apologize from doubting a random person from the internet. But yeah, I've been in the industry (and multiple companies) for the past 4 years so I do know what I'm talking about here. Hope this helps. 

 

Actually, just because I'm lucky enough to have you here, would you mind expanding on the skills that are particularly valuable for biotech?

 

 

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2 minutes ago, inadequate said:

 

Actually, just because I'm lucky enough to have you here, would you mind expanding on the skills that are particularly valuable for biotech?

 

 

Sure. (And other people, feel free to chime in!)

Bioinformatics/big data genomics coupled with Next Gen Sequencing is super hot right now. The ability to analyze large sets of data is invaluable in the field. Lots of companies are doing flow cytometry or microarray work. CRISPR is also starting to boom along with other genetic engineering techniques. Personalized medicine is the up-and-coming thing in clinical settings, along with immunotherapy and gene therapy for disease treatment. You'll have plenty of opportunities to work with these technologies at your schools in question, especially at UCSF, who helped pioneer some of the technologies. 

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1 hour ago, LoveMysterious said:

Sure. (And other people, feel free to chime in!)

Bioinformatics/big data genomics coupled with Next Gen Sequencing is super hot right now. The ability to analyze large sets of data is invaluable in the field. Lots of companies are doing flow cytometry or microarray work. CRISPR is also starting to boom along with other genetic engineering techniques. Personalized medicine is the up-and-coming thing in clinical settings, along with immunotherapy and gene therapy for disease treatment. You'll have plenty of opportunities to work with these technologies at your schools in question, especially at UCSF, who helped pioneer some of the technologies. 

 

How fast does the field change? For example, if I worked a lot with flow cytometry, how confident could I be that it will still be hot when I finish my phd in six years?

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19 hours ago, inadequate said:

 

How fast does the field change? For example, if I worked a lot with flow cytometry, how confident could I be that it will still be hot when I finish my phd in six years?

It is impossible to predict what will be hot in six years (also, six years?). You should not learn a technique just because you think it will make you a more attractive candidate for jobs. Instead, study what interests you and learn the techniques that will help you examine your topic of interest with the highest resolution. I started grad school with no intention of doing NGS, big data manipulation, CRISPR, or iPSCs, but my sincere interests put me in a lab that does all four. 

Pick the field that interests you the most, then learn the techniques that will help you do the best science. Use your PhD to learn to be the best scientist you can be. Techniques are secondary to that. 

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7 hours ago, blc073 said:

It is impossible to predict what will be hot in six years (also, six years?). You should not learn a technique just because you think it will make you a more attractive candidate for jobs. Instead, study what interests you and learn the techniques that will help you examine your topic of interest with the highest resolution. I started grad school with no intention of doing NGS, big data manipulation, CRISPR, or iPSCs, but my sincere interests put me in a lab that does all four. 

Pick the field that interests you the most, then learn the techniques that will help you do the best science. Use your PhD to learn to be the best scientist you can be. Techniques are secondary to that. 

"It is impossible to predict what will be hot in six years (also, six years?)"

Not my question. My question was about the rate of change. And obviously it would be ridiculous to expect anyone to accurately predict what will be popular in half a decade or more.

But I'm asking about the rate of change. This can be as simple as saying, "Cloning was a hot skill 5 years ago, but now it's worthless because chemical synthesis is about to supplant cloning and people will just buy a gblock of whatever genetic construct they want." (This is just a made up example.)

"(also, six years?)"

...Yes? Go look up your program and tell me six years isn't a good approximation of whatever number they give you for earning a phd.

"Instead, study what interests you and learn the techniques that will help you examine your topic of interest with the highest resolution."

Thank you, but:

1. I'd still like to be aware of how my job sector works.

2. You can't just say "Go with the technique with the highest resolution." It's not that clear-cut. And my personal experience is that people have more control over the direction of their project than they might appreciate.

Edited by inadequate

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5 hours ago, inadequate said:

Yes. Please downvote me for responding to someone calling my question stupid in multiple ways.

Thank you.

I wasn't trying to call your question stupid, and I apologize if that's how it came across. 

You asked how confident you can be that flow cytometry will be hot in six years, and I was simply trying to say that there is no way to know. Science, academia and biotech, change as questions change. It's not common for a technique like CRISPR to come along and change the field. And to be honest if you ask a lot of top scientists today, many will say CRISPR might not be hot much longer. 

Microarray was hot five years ago, now it's becoming worthless. 

Unfortunately, there are many people who spend six years on a PhD, but that's no way to approach the process. You should plan to finish your PhD in four years. Do this by writing every day from the beginning, preparing early for grants, joining a lab as soon as you can, and making the most out of every rotation. 

What job sector? You are becoming a scientist. There's like a 50% chance or more that you will completely change your career plans. Go into your PhD with the goal of becoming a great scientist and an expert in your field. Then decide if a biotech post-doc is right for you. 

Techniques come from necessity. If your research involves hunting for genes that are being affected by a compound, learn NGS. But don't waste time learning something that will not help your lab. Of course, you can join a lab that employs the techniques you like, but don't join a lab solely for the techniques. You will be unhappy for the next six (!) years. 

You are on here demanding to know which of three top schools is the best. You then demand to know which techniques to learn. It's just a lot. This will be condescending, so prepare yourself: in a year from now you are going to look back on these posts and think, "wow, I was being a jerk." Take this time to appreciate how lucky you are to have the choices you have, and appreciate the fact that your life will largely consist of hanging out in a cool building in a fun city being paid to poke DNA. Relax and enjoy the process. 

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