What Exactly Is the SciPhD Business of Science Certificate of Achievement?

In short, if you see this certificate in someone’s LinkedIn profile, or on their resume, or in their application package for a position in your company, this candidate has successfully completed SciPhD’s Business of Science Certificate Program that focuses on eight specific skill areas valued by professional organizations.  These areas are:

  • Business of Science (your scientific, business, and social identities)
  • Communications (Emotional and Social Intelligence)
  • Developing Your People (Mentoring and Leadership)
  • Networking and Building Relationships
  • Project Management
  • Team Performance and Continuous Improvement
  • Financial Literacy
  • Negotiations

SciPhD’s experiential learning approach immerses students in collaborative team-based scenarios to experience, practice and refine skills and behaviors associated with these eight areas.  Over the past 12 years, graduates of SciPhD’s Certificate Program have risen to senior positions in companies ranging from small startups to multinational biotech, pharmaceutical, consulting, and financial organizations.  Below, we will be exploring and explaining more about what exactly our graduates learn in these eight important areas.

The one thing you can rest assured from day 1, is that our SciPhD graduates will quickly integrate into any company’s work environment as productive team members.


For academic institutions with PhD graduate and postdoctoral programs you can find out more about SciPhD’s training programs here.

For professional organizations who value and would benefit from business-ready PhD-level talent, you can find out more about SciPhD’s talent acquisition programs from this link.

The Business of Science module is the foundation for the entire SciPhD Certificate Program.  The essential learning objective is that your true value as a PhD scientist in the professional world is a combination of your technical/scientific identity (what you know and do), your business identity (how you do your work) and your social identity (how you work with others).  The underlying behaviors and skills that make up your business and social identity are what guarantee high quality work that is performed with attention to deadlines and budgets, and adopting the philosophy that the goals and aspirations of the team and the organization are more important than personal ambitions.

Using this core understanding of three identities, we then analyze the job requirements as defined in job ads through our web application Flamingo™.  With Flamingo, we map all the individual requirements into these three categories, and then into our SciPhD Core Business Competencies.  To demonstrate the candidate’s qualifications, we then develop experience statements with accomplishments.  These statements also assure the hiring manager that the candidate does in fact have the required experience and understanding of the values essential in a team-based organization to be a productive team member.

Finally, Module 1 takes a deep look into the various types of career paths for PhDs, thus unlocking excitement for alternative career paths to pure “hands-on science”.  We are saying “Yes” you can compete for jobs in communications, science writing, consulting, customer support, operations, equity research, business development.  The result is enthusiastic, highly trained candidates for the broad variety of jobs required in biotechnology-related companies.

Benefits to Students

Students discover the breadth of career path opportunities available to them.  They learn how to dissect job descriptions within the Core Competency paths. They can then use that knowledge to identify gaps in their training so they can gain the necessary experience before they do apply for jobs, and competently demonstrate with experiences and accomplishments how and why they are the best candidate for the job in terms of their complete identity (technical, business, social).  They are not just technically competent, they also have the appropriate attitude to function in a team-based environment where high quality work is essential to business success.

Benefits to University Graduate and Postdoctoral Programs

SciPhD programs are generally complementary to the impressive suite of programs and training available at many institutions.  Module 1 presents a career path ontology to students that reveals opportunities they often have not considered previously, and that best match their intellectual, personality, and professional interests and is also complementary to career paths presented in myIDP.Flamingo’s job analytics training reveals gaps in their knowledge that can guide career development officers to provide directed training in areas of need.  Finally, with all training participants having access to Flamingo™, we can provide analytics on career path choices, types of jobs students evaluate, areas of strength and weakness, and much more that can be used to further strengthen existing training programs.  SciPhD plans to make programmatic access to these analytics through a new Flamingo interface available to career development offices later in 2024.

Benefit to Companies in Need of Business-Ready Talent

The Business of Science Module 1 provides guidance for new PhDs to pursue career paths that excite them the most and emphasizes the importance of high quality work, meeting deadlines, and working collaboratively for the good of the team.  This is of benefit to hiring organizations who recognize that enthusiastic employees are productive employees.  Additionally, SciPhD graduates understand what hiring managers and companies value and are prepared to demonstrate those targeted skills with specific experiences and accomplishments, thus making the interview process and candidate selection more efficient.

As a follow-on to the first module “The Business of Science”, the Communications module is designed to prime the student for a new and very different audience that they will engage with while building their personal career network, job hunting, interviewing, negotiating their compensation package, and integrating into a new professional team. Over a 3-hour period, the students experience three successful communication techniques that target communication situations that will challenge them.

1. Technical Literacy – Learning to communicate with a variety of non-technical audiences the scientific, and social value of their research.

2. Emotional Intelligence – A technique that uses “3 m&m’s” to trigger a switch in their mindset from “expert to learner.” Communicating in the learning mode results in deeper relational outcomes that are emotionally positive with high audience engagement and acceptance.

3. Social Intelligence– Reinforcing the above two learned techniques using a Social Intelligence Exercise of “Three Social Roles.” This technique shares common social experiences of both the student and audience resulting in shared emotional and social values and builds rapport.

Our goal is for at least one or two of the above techniques to “stick.”  The student will then practice and apply the learned techniques in the remaining modules.

Benefits to the Students

Having been immersed in the “technical world” of academia for years, students are ill prepared to communicate using techniques of influence.  Rather than “technical to technical” communications, they now have experienced techniques that can enable non-technical audience members “to also be their advocate.” The ability to create advocates is the new definition of “successful communications.” The single benefit for the student is to recognize the limited impact that their technical knowledge has with nontechnical audiences.  Instead, using their masterful ability to learn by using “expert to learner” techniques will get them a broader range of advocates in this transition period.

Benefits to University Graduate and Postdoctoral Programs

The focus of academic programs is first to accomplish scientific competency and then to lead as an expert and thought leader in a discipline.  The communication techniques learned in the Business of Science Certificate program are the first step in generating influence and trust with non-technical audiences which are eventually encountered by all subject matter experts.  These same techniques are also the necessary training for the career steps in building a network of advocates that will play a critical role in landing that desired professional job. The communication training provided in the SciPhD Certificate program serves both the emerging science expert as well as the transitioning science expert leaving academia.

Benefits to Companies in Need of Business-Ready PhD Talent

Virtually every survey regarding the most valued skills lists communications as one of the top three.  Developing communications skills is not just a knowledge exercise, but an “experience and reinforcement of learned skills” to build personal effectiveness and impact.  Hiring a primed job candidate who has already mastered these skills will result in more efficient integration into the team-based environment, and productivity from Day1.  The success of our placement candidates is driven by their own confidence and experience as effective communicators.

To follow through on the SciPhD “Business of Science” approach to getting work done in any organization, the scientist is performing tasks, collecting data, and accomplishing goals not by themselves, but with coordination and support from a variety of other professionals as part of a team.  Their role can be as a team member, a team leader, and at times as a team facilitator. In Project Management we will look at managing the work itself. In this module, “Developing Your People”, we look at managing the team to continuously train, motivate and focus the team members to accomplish one goal!

Developing Your People is about the key aspects of leading and managing teams.  These include mentoring, motivating, and communicating.  We’ll look at each of these individually.

  1. Motivation– Professional organizations strive for a culture of high-quality and high productivity.  Effective team leaders motivate their team members to perform at these levels by promoting mastery of their trade, providing a level of autonomy that reinforces confidence, and instilling a shared sense of purpose so that everyone in the team has a common goal.
  2. Mentoring- Team members invariably are charged with learning new skills.  Effective mentors shepherd their team members through four phases of learning by reinforcing their self-confidence as they navigate those phases by applying effective motivating techniques.  Individuals vary with respect to their own self-confidence as they face challenges, and the effective manager adjusts their managing style accordingly to promote higher levels of confidence.
  3. CommunicationsDeveloping Your People adds a fourth component to SciPhD’s communications skill set by introducing Style Flexibility, which is the recognition that there is a dichotomy in the way individuals interact: how they engage with others, how they perceive new information, and how they judge that information.  The SciPhD philosophy guides students in experiencing how to be flexible in their own communications style so that as team leaders, they observe the preferred communications style of their team members, and flex their own style to that of their audience resulting in building rapport and trust.


Benefits to the Students

Developing Your People is a practical application of the four SciPhD communications competencies that provides students with the tools they need to build rapport, experience effective leadership, and manage relationships with their peers, advisors, and mentees.  Gaining these experiences early on in their graduate and postdoctoral endeavors provides a demonstration that they can meet the leadership demands of professional organizations when competing for jobs and creates a more productive and collaborative work environment.

Benefits to University Graduate and Postdoctoral Programs

The demands on graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to produce high quality work in support of their laboratory’s projects is significant.  A common view is that this data generation is the highest priority, often at the expense of any significant leadership training.  In reality though, it is ultimately the responsibility of graduate and postdoctoral programs to prepare their students to become productive independent scientists regardless of their chosen career paths. Developing Your People, in conjunction with other modules in the SciPhD program, fill this important gap and generate ‘business-ready’ PhDs who are competitive in both academic and non-academic environments.  Beyond that, mastering the behaviors in Developing Your Peoplecan have significant positive impact on the current laboratory setting: better rapport within the laboratory, better transfer of institutional knowledge from one expert to the next, and a reputation that attracts future graduate and postdoctoral fellows to join that laboratory.

Benefits to Companies in Need of ‘Business-Ready’ PhD Talent

Opportunity costs that are lost while new hires are assimilating into their work environment are significantly reduced when new team members are ‘business-ready’ and are comfortable functioning in team-based environments.  SciPhD’s Developing Your People, in conjunction with the other modules produces these ‘business-ready’ PhDs who can quickly build effective working relationships with individuals of varied backgrounds, can effectively mentor others, and are driven by a shared sense of purpose that motivates them and their fellow team members.

Building your network is one of the most powerful single actions you can take to advance your career.   The old axiom of “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”, although not exactly accurate, is close.  It’s what you know AND who you know that matters.  This is for a very good reason.  It is well recognized that candidates who are either direct referrals from existing employees, or who are from within the organization itself, have the highest likelihood of succeeding, vs new hires that come from job posting sites, recruiters, or other more anonymous sources.  So, building your network such that you can be one of those employee referrals provides you with a powerful advantage.  As part of the SciPhD family, you have access to literally thousands of fellow SciPhD graduates, many of whom are already in professional organizations, and who are happy to assist you in your efforts to land your first job.

Applied Networking provides the opportunity to put into practice the communications skills learned in Module 2 (technical literacy, emotional intelligence, social intelligence, style flexibility) in order to build important relationships that will help you find and land a job, as well as integrate more easily into a team-based work environment.

Benefits to the Students

Developing relationships is the key to personal and business success. Continuously building a diverse network of contacts provides you with access to a tremendous amount of information that can give you a competitive advantage in launching and advancing your career. Whether it is finding out about un-advertised positions, intelligence on companies where you might want to work, or getting specific insights into the proclivities of potential interviewers, building your network is the key to unlocking your competitive advantage. Building your network and developing those relationships is a practical application of many of the skills acquired through the SciPhD Certificate Program.

Benefits to University Graduate and Postdoctoral Programs

Ultimately, the measure of success for graduate and postdoctoral programs is the career success of the students. Applied Networking provides the tools, and practical path for students to find job opportunities that match their interests, connect with professionals who can advocate for them, and increase their likelihood of success, which again, is a measure of success of the graduate or postdoctoral program.

Benefits to Companies in Need of ‘Business-Ready’ PhD Talent

One of the immediate demonstrated outcomes of the Applied Networking module is building self-confidence in the students in their own ability to initiate conversations, and build relationships.  In team-based organizations, having experience and a comfort level in networking activities results in more collaborative and involved team players which in turn increases the productivity of the group.

The first rule of business is that you must make a profit.  The second rule is that you must continuously improve in order to stay ahead of your competition.  In the business world, that is accomplished by establishing reliable and reproducible protocols and continually refining those in order to meet your objectives on time, and on budget.  Project management is the process for doing this.  One of the best kept secrets is that scientists are actually highly trained in project management principles and practice.  Careful definition of objectives (specific aims), developing rigorous reproducible and reliable protocols (requirements gathering), and anticipating what could go wrong and having a “plan B” (risk management) are the bread and butter of science.  This module formalizes what scientists already know and puts that knowledge and practice into the language of project management.  Project management is about managing up and managing down.  It’s about applying leadership and communications skills to develop rapport with your team members, having a rigorous process for anticipating risk, and having well thought out risk management plans.  All of this is done with the goal of meeting the agreed objectives, on time and on budget.  That’s what makes a company successful.

Benefits to the Students

The scientific method is consistent with the foundational skills of project management. When students apply the principles of project management to their research projects it can increase productivity by providing better planning and time management, and results in higher confidence in their ability to succeed in their project.  Further, when competing for industry jobs, demonstrating experience in using project management to successfully complete projects gives a competitive advantage over other candidates.

Benefits to University Graduate and Postdoctoral Programs

One consistent challenge faced by PhD students and postdocs is the real, or perceived difficulty in convincing their PI that time spent outside the lab can actually be mutually beneficial. This can create a tension between the PI and the posdoc office. Learning and implementing project management skills results in higher quality work, less wasted effort, and better performance.  That benefits the PI directly and can be one concrete example to gain more support by PIs for the career development efforts of the PDO.

Benefits to Companies in Need of ‘Business-Ready’ PhD Talent

Meeting objectives on time and on budget are critical ingredients for well-run companies.  SciPhD Certificate Program graduates learn how to apply sound project management principles to their own work, and by the time they apply for positions in companies have the experience and demonstrable accomplishments to provide assurance that they are ‘business-ready’ and will be a reliable part of the team-based workforce.

While the typical unit of work in academia is the PhD Grad Student and/or PostDoc performing as an individual, the TEAM is the life-blood of industry and other professional organizations.  The TEAM is usually multidisciplined, results oriented, seeks high-performance status, and is not shy of competition.  TEAMS live the mantra of “learning organizations, continuous improvement, six sigma” as their operational guidelines.  The successful graduating PhD has also lived elements of this mantra when they seek higher standards of research analysis, productivity gains in their work and add their innovative scientific contribution to the body of knowledge. The TEAM Performance Tools module builds on their academic performance experience in teams of six PhD colleagues by selecting someone’s research to commercially launch with 3 million dollars over two years. Along the way, events occur, such as losing significant funding, to which the TEAMs learn to deploy problem solving and decision-making tools: 6 in all, including benchmarking, continuous improvement, process mapping, brainstorming, priority matrix, and SWOT analysis.  This TEAM exercise is an “on-boarding experience” to prime the future professional TEAM member for the “performance culture” of professional organizations.

Benefits for Students

The students’ experience in achieving the goal of research at the PhD level includes a multitude of performance challenges.  By providing performance-disciplined tools, the students bring back to academia insights in productivity that can only better their research results. In addition, they can translate their own PhD experience into behavioral-based responses to productivity inquiries during the interview process. The greatest benefit is that they accomplish this learning as a member of a TEAM that is seeking results, accepting a high-performance challenge, and competing against time to market.

Benefits to University Graduate and Postdoctoral Programs

To the extent that multiple students and staff have the common experience of meeting the Team Performance Challenge,[CR1]  they have a cohort that can drive forward program initiatives of the Graduate and PDO office.  Building a foundation of problem solving and decision-making tools enables the student members to take responsibility, initiate program goals and measure the success of both informal and formalized TEAMS.

Benefits to Companies in Need of Business-Ready PhD Talent

SciPhD candidates are primed, on-boarded, and ready to deploy their individual performance experiences to meet the TEAM needs of the business.  SciPhD candidates have already made the transition from the individual performance stars of academia to the TEAM based performance stars required in business organizations.  They have had a “taste” of the performance excitement contained in being a member of a “learning organization, continuous improvement, or six sigma” TEAM and the various career paths that this experience unlocks within the business culture.

The initial design for Financial Literacy Training underscored learning objectives centered around comprehending fundamental financial reports: the Income Statement, Cash Flow, and the Balance Sheet. However, the challenge was not merely in understanding these documents but in making the finance experience resonate on a personal and practical level for participants. The question then arose: Can we transform financial literacy training into an engaging, team-based immersion exercise? The answer is a resounding yes.

Our financial literacy module is predicated on an immersive TEAM exercise that extends beyond theoretical knowledge, making finance an engaging, interactive experience. The exercise is designed around key financial metrics: Revenue, EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization), and Profit or Loss, which are crucial for understanding and participating in the business world.

Participants teams will be simulating a real-world business environment where they must navigate financial challenges and opportunities. This simulation involves:

  • Role-playing: Teams are divided, with some members representing their company and others acting as various funding sources.
  • Practical Application: Companies are tasked with securing millions in funding to support growth, requiring them to interact with different stakeholders, each with unique interests ranging from scientific to social and economic.
  • Time-pressured Decision Making: Teams have a limited timeframe to strategize and secure funding, fostering a high-stakes environment that encourages quick learning and adaptation.


Benefits For Students

Participants emerge from the session with a newfound appreciation for finance, viewing it not as a commercial necessity but as a valuable tool for achieving scientific, social, and economic impact. The transition from apprehension to enthusiasm for finance is rapid, underscoring the effectiveness of our immersive approach. Graduates of this program are primed to explore science-based financial career paths, armed with the desire for knowledge and skills to contribute meaningfully to the economic and social dimensions of their work.

Benefits to University Graduate and Postdoctoral Programs

Our financial literacy training offers more than just knowledge; it instills a stewardship of resources and a holistic understanding of finance’s role in scientific and technological advancement. The demand for such programs is evident, with participants seeking further engagement with local companies, investors, and entrepreneurial alumni, thereby enriching the academic experience and expanding professional networks.

Benefits to Companies in Need of Business-Ready PhD Talent

Business-ready PhD talent is increasingly crucial for the success of for-profit and non-profit organizations alike. Our program graduates professionals who embrace financial stewardship as an integral aspect of their roles, adept at balancing and enhancing the financial, social, and scientific values of their work.

It’s not unusual to see dozens of new Negotiations books hitting the market each year. If we focus just on the negotiations during the transition from academia to business, we will find a practical need for negotiating the exit from academia and negotiating the new job offer that includes the total compensation plan.  The other factor to consider is the job candidate may not have advanced communications training and only a minimal understanding of business operations. Given this common transition scenario, the SciPhD Negotiations training focuses on the most fundamental approach to negotiations: the root behaviors that drive the negotiation process.

Thus, the SciPhD Negotiations training provides an understanding in the difference between “Distributive Negotiations”, also called “positional” or “win-lose” negotiations, and “Integrative Negotiations”, also called “interest-based” or “win-win” negotiations. We engage in role-playing exercises that simulate both leaving academia and evaluating compensation offers for a new job.   All the negotiations training is designed to reinforce the Emotional and Social Intelligence techniques experienced in the Communications for Scientist session (Module 2).  With a focus on interactivity and practical application, this training engages students directly in the process, ensuring that by the end of the training session, they are not only familiar with the concepts but also more comfortable and confident in the ability to apply them and negotiate a favorable total compensation package.

Benefits For Students

By keeping the negotiation techniques focused on just the two alternatives of “Distributive” or “Integrative”, students quickly learn the importance of making a deliberate choice of consciously selecting their negotiation method and staying in that mindset.  They experience a sense of success, and gain the confidence to enter any negotiation situation, armed with the knowledge and skills to navigate it more successfully.

Benefits to University Graduate and Postdoctoral Programs

The advantage to the university in having students trained in Emotional and Social Intelligence and deploying these techniques in all their Negotiations is as a demonstration of a commitment to fostering a collaborative and constructive research culture.  The earlier this type of training is provided, the greater the advantage to the school ikn terms of more productive collaborative research efforts, and the greater the individual’s reinforced communication skill development, which in turn reflects positively on the university’s career development program.

Benefits to Companies in Need of Business-Ready PhD Talent

The most obvious advantage to the company is the verification during the interview and job offer negotiations process that the candidate is “On Board” as an Integrative Negotiator with a known skill level of competence.  In addition, the confidence factor in accepting the final job offer is a “motivation contributor”to making the transition from academia to business a positive experience that then reinforces the value of the training provided.