Day 3: SciPhD Critical Skills Case Study

Initially, my thought was to provide a case study of one of our many SciPhD students who has successfully applied our critical skills philosophy to successfully complete their degree program, or postdoc, and get a job. After all, understanding and mastering these skills will help you build rapport, negotiate with your PI, develop your network, and increase your perceived value to hiring organizations.  We see it work with our students time after time.  But after some reflection, I thought it might be more useful to share my own experiences as a case study.

When I first left academia and entered the job market, I was a pretty self-confident; dare I say arrogant, scientist.  I was convinced I was good and was equally convinced that the company who hired me was really lucky to have me.  I brought that attitude and arrogance into my first couple of jobs, and it didn’t take long for my self-centered approach to collide with the behaviors that support being a part of a team.  That realization was a painful lesson as it took some “tough love” from management before I realized what it means to be part of a team.  But since that realization, I learned to embrace the behaviors we’ve been talking about this week, which are at the center of the SciPhD philosophy.  For me, this application of the SciPhD Core Behaviors resulted in:

  • Recognizing that technical knowledge gains significant value when you can use it to express the strategic value of your work and made me a more valued member of the team and the organization.
  • Understanding the keys to mentoring and motivation in developing and leading high performing teams provided the ability to deliver projects reliably and to rapidly advance within the organization.
  • Using emotional intelligence to manage difficult conversations and build rapport strengthened relationships with clients and also built stronger and healthier relationships in my own personal life
  • Using social intelligence to focus on the behavioral objectives of whoever I am speaking with also resulted in my better understanding what our students, and their career development officers need from us in best supporting their programs.

Finally, the best case study will be yours.  Embrace our philosophy.  Build and strengthen all three of your identities:  Technical/Scientific, Business, and Social.  By doing so, you will advance your own career, and more importantly, strengthen your relationships towards become a valued member of your teams.  Learn more about SciPhD and our programs at

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