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Doctoral Transitions for HSS Researchers June 20, 2012

Posted by qmresearchers in Career Ideas, Career Talks, Employer Events.

On Tuesday 12 June three QMUL PhD alumni spoke about their transition into a variety of roles beyond academia.

Dr. Tom Sebrell discussed his enterprising business venture ‘The American Civil War Experience’. Having completed a PhD in History in 2010 Tom approached the Learning Institute for funding to transform his PhD research into a business opportunity. He now runs a successful tour company which employs QM undergraduates.

Dr. Jeremy Anderson, who completed his PhD in geography, is now the head of strategic research for The International Transport Worker’s Federation. He discussed the merits of a PhD for research jobs outside academia noting that the practical skills gained from this experience, such as research design, time management, and the ability to gain access to research participants, were essential to his current role.

Lastly, Dr. Alexandra Tompkins, who completed her PhD in History in 2011, talked about her job as a Project Adviser for QM Graduate Attributes in the Learning Institute. She spoke about the need to be realistic during your PhD and to explore other career options early on.

For a recording of the presentations click here

During the question and answer session the panellists spoke about the importance of networking. They urged PhD students to get involved with their department’s research seminars, attend conferences, and talk to QM staff outside their own School.

Another hot topic was ‘commercial awareness’ and the benefits to be gained from marketing your research to the wider-public. Jeremy recommended blogging key chapters of your thesis to demonstrate your communication skills. One of the main things people outside academia want to know is whether you are capable of explaining your ideas in jargon-free language and, as Jeremy put it, ‘if a concept can’t be explained in simple language, it’s probably not that worthwhile anyway’.

All attendees were given booklets containing the speakers’ profiles. These will soon be available in the alumni career profiles at the top of this blog.

Check your emails and subscribe to this blog for details of our future ‘Doctoral Transitions’.



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