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How Isolated PhDs Get Hired

Skip ahead to:
12:20 Show Me The Data
25:09 Dan Schwabel
45:02 Michael Morabito, Ph.D.

Has technology replaced your face-to-face interactions?

Technology can extend your reach for your  job search with ease, but it can also work against you when it comes to sharpening the interpersonal skills you need to succeed in your industry career trajectory. 

This week on the Cheeky Scientist Radio Show we are joined by Dan Schawbel bestselling author of Back to Human and Me 2.0, Partner and Research Director at Future Workplace, and the Founder of both Millennial Branding and WorkplaceTrends.com. Dan will talk about how technology can be a crutch and increases the risk of isolation, and the interpersonal skills needed in corporate culture today. We are also joined by Michael Morabito, PhD, Senior Analyst – VP Biotech Equity Research at Credit Suisse, who will discuss his transition into a senior analyst role in biotech and how other PhDs can pursue this career.

About Our Guests

Dan Schawbel is a New York Times bestselling author, serial entrepreneur, Fortune 500 consultant, millennial TV personality, global keynote speaker, career and workplace expert and startup advisor. He is the Partner and Research Director at Future Workplace, and the Founder of both Millennial Branding and WorkplaceTrends.com. He has written the career bestsellers: Me 2.0, Promote Yourself and his new book, Back to Human: How Great Leaders Create Connection in the Age of Isolation. Through his companies, he’s conducted dozens of research studies and worked with major brands including American Express, GE, Microsoft, Virgin, IBM, Coca Cola and Oracle. Dan has interviewed over 2,000 of the world’s most successful people, including Warren Buffett, Anthony Bourdain, Jessica Alba, will.i.am, Michael Bloomberg, Chelsea Handler, Colin Powell, Sheryl Sandberg, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Michael Morabito is currently a Vice President of Equity Research at Credit Suisse in New York City, where he is the lead analyst on four SMid-Cap Biotechnology companies. Previously Michael was the Senior Associate on the US Large Cap Pharma team.  Prior to joining Credit Suisse, Michael was a Scientific Administrator for the Department of Genetic Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine and a Postdoctoral Research Scientist at Columbia University, where he studied neural control of feeding behavior. Michael received his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Vanderbilt 

Key Takeaways

  1. How reliance on technology can become a crutch and work against you in your job search.
  2. What interpersonal skills PhDs need for career success, and how to develop those during your transition and in your industry career.
  3. In industry, how biotech is presenting new opportunities for PhDs.

How Isolated PhDs Get Jobs: A Conversation With Dan Schwabel

Isaiah:  If you had to drill down to the two or three things that happened to you … There’s always a triggering, right? As an author, there’s always a triggering moment for writing this book. So, for your newest book, why did you write it?

Dan: There’s a combination. Number one is every book I write helps people to get to the next phase of their career. So, Me 2.0 was college to first job. Promote Yourself was first job to management, and this is a leadership book. The second thing is I was interviewed for a documentary that’s coming out next year called The Revolution Generation. In the documentary, it paints the portrait of my generation of millennials. During the interview, I was asked what’s the biggest issue that we’re facing as a generation. You know, I talked about the student loan debt crisis, which is over $1.53 trillion dollars outstanding now. I talked about income inequality. I talked about global warming. All these huge issues. World war.

Then, in my head, I’m like, okay, but what’s really affecting people on a daily basis? And, to me, the biggest thing that’s affecting people is this feeling of isolation, the feeling that even though we have access to so many people … We can use these technologies to reach across geographies. You could connect with someone in the Philippines right now, and maybe you couldn’t have before unless you traveled there. But, at the same time, all of this technology has just made us feel more isolated because we’re dependent on it.

Technology companies like Google and Apple and Facebook … They are purposely creating devices and apps in order to get us addicted, because that’s their business model. They profit off our attention, and therefore we are the product. So, just knowing that is kind of liberating. It’s like, okay, now you’re aware of what game is actually being played. And it can be at our expense, because every time we look at a device, we’re not looking at a person, and we’re made … We’re tribal. We’re made to be in packs, to be with other people, and if we constantly rely on the technology devices and use them as a crutch at work and even at home, it can make us feel more lonely. Then, that’s really bad for our health.

Isaiah:  No, I really appreciate that, and I’m glad you brought up the attention, whether it’s called the attention economy, etc. For a lot of our listeners here, you’ve probably heard of Beckman Coulter medical instruments. It was bought by Danier for like 6 billion, and then Facebook a few years ago bought WhatsApp for like 13 billion, like a messaging app, just because it’s where people’s attention were going, right? So, it is the most valuable commodity on Earth right now. What I’m curious to know from you is how are businesses failing in this area? How are businesses making their team members more isolated with technology?

Dan: Well, the reason why companies are promoting collaborative apps and the use of technology is because they basically, in a sense, take advantage of workers. We’re always kind of working. There’s a reason why the World Health Organization said that burnout is now an occupational phenomenon. It’s something that I’ve actually studied a few years ago with Kronos. When I wrote an article about the burnout epidemic, Bernie Sanders shared it to over a million people.

It’s important because people are working more hours because of work creep. So, technology … It’s a double-edged sword, technology. Technology gives us the freedom and flexibility to work when, where, and how we want, so there would be no such thing as remote work without technology. So, that’s a great thing. People are excited about it. They’re emotional about it. It’s good. I’m working from … I mean, this is my apartment right here, if you can’t tell.

But no one talks about the dark side. So, through my book, through my work, I’m revealing the dark side of, okay, because we have all of these abilities to work wherever we want, at the same time not being in the office, not being around other people can make us feel more isolated and lonely and actually make us less productive.

You know, in a sense, companies are like, okay, we have this technology. It is a cheap, cost effective way to scale communication within the company. That’s really what they’re trying to do, increase efficiencies and all that. So, they have their business case for it. But the big drawback is that we’re always kind of on. We’re on 24/7. Not having your phone is the new vacation. After work hours … What are work hours anymore? On weekends and on vacation, people are using their phone and responding to business texts.

We did a study with Randstad, the largest staffing firm in the world, and it’s like … I’ve done three or four studies with them. And the one this year what we found is that about half of managers expect their employees to respond to business email on vacation. So, there’s an expectation. If you’re on vacation, you’re not really on vacation if vacation is time spent away from work if you’re doing work. That has all led to burnout, unhappiness, and it actually hurts companies.

In the other study, we found that half of all attrition is due to burnout. So, companies might think that they’re benefiting from having workers always doing work and responding to business emails and being engaged, but in a sense, every time you have to replace a worker, the cost is even more. And you can’t fully maximize an employee if they’re burned out, if they’re just exhausted. They’re just not going to be as focused and engaged in their work. So, it actually backfires.

Biotech Analyst Career Track: A Conversation With Michael Morabito, Ph.D.

Isaiah:  So, this is Michael. He is a senior analyst at VP Biotech Equity Research. He is in New York City. He is the lead analyst on four mid-cap biotechnology companies. Previously, Michael was a senior associate on the US large-cap pharma team. Prior to joining Credit Suisse … I think I’m saying that somewhat right. He was a scientific administrator for the department of genetic medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine and a post-doctoral research scientist at Columbia University. So, for those of you who don’t know, Michael came into the Cheeky Scientist Association. He’s transitioned since then. His career has really taken off. One of the things I’m interested in talking to about is … Of course, I want to know how you found out about this analyst career path. But I think it’s one of those career paths that PhDs just don’t realize that they’re perfect for.

Michael: Yes. Yes. Absolutely.

Isaiah:  Analyst by definition is exactly … You learn how to analyze data in whatever PhD you get. So, how did you find out about the analyst career path, and how did you know that it was the right path for you?

Michael: Really, it was just doing some research through the association, through or post-doctoral association at Columbia. They had a little bit of information on it. But there really wasn’t much known about it, and it was only after talking to certain people and actually realizing that there were PhDs doing this job that I could actually do it. And I never thought of that, because my job … What I do is … If you watch CNBC, and they have a guest analyst on and says like, “I am a buy on Facebook,” or something like that. I’m one of those guys now. I’m not on CNBC or anything, but that’s what I do. So, I used to invest back when I was in graduate school. Sorry. When I was an undergrad. When I went to graduate school, I didn’t have any money or time, so I stopped doing it.

Isaiah: I was going to say, what?

Michael: But, basically, I learned is … I was like, wait, so I can take something that used to be a hobby of mine and then I can pair that with my degree and my experience, and that actually makes me a good fit to do this and make a career out of it? I was like, all right. Sign me up.

Isaiah: Yeah. I think, you know, expanding beyond the type of analyst that you are … I want to talk a little bit about that, but there’s lots of types of analysts.

Michael: Yes. Yes. I have heard … You mentioned competitive intelligence before, something like that is definitely something. I mean, it’s really anything … Like you said, it’s analysis. That’s why the job’s called analyst, and that’s what you learn to do with the degree. It’s how to take certain forms of data, whatever they are, and make sense out of them and come to a conclusion.

** for the full interviews check out the video above

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Isaiah Hankel Ph.D.

Isaiah Hankel Ph.D.

Isaiah is a Ph.D. in Anatomy & Cell Biology and internationally recognized Fortune 500 consultant. He is an expert in the biotechnology industry and specializes in helping people transition into cutting-edge career tracks.

Isaiah believes that if you feel stuck somewhere in your life right now, you should make a change. Don’t sit still and wait for the world to tell you what to do. Start a new project. Build your own business. Take action. Experimentation is the best teacher.
Isaiah Hankel Ph.D.