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Industry Transition Spotlight: Sharath Madasu, PhD

An interview with Sharath Madasu, PhD

What is your name, your full job title, and the full name of the company you work for?

Sharath Madasu, Senior Scientist, Ibex Biosciences.

What is your favorite part about working in industry? (this could be a specific thing about your job or about work-life balance etc.)

Working hands-on at the bench, of course! And, working in an environment with like-minded people who value you and your work. I also thoroughly enjoy bouncing ideas with other scientists who are more senior to me as a peer. The best part is having a good work-life balance.

What does a typical day at work look like for you?

In my current role, my team and I design, develop and execute experiments. So, my typical day includes conception, designing of the experiments pertaining to a project, and making sure everyone on the team and management is on the same page. So, part of my day includes email/phone discussions with other members to ensure the same. We are also responsible for installing and setting up new equipment and ensuring its function and service maintenance gets done. Finally, execution and data analysis. We do have frequent company sponsored lunches/dinners (a good perk to have) and get to socialize with colleagues.

How is your current industry position different than your academic postdoc or experience as a graduate student? 

I was a graduate student before starting at Ibex. My position here is different from being a PhD student, in that my goals are different: i.e. you work on a potential product for human use and so your goals are not to research everything there is to know about a target, but rather you (and your company) are focused on the end use of the target and how to leverage it for human benefit. So, your thought process should also be different to achieve those goals and you have to remember that it’s not a thesis project that focuses on the intricacies of a protein or gene mechanism of action.

The second difference is the availability of resources. As a company, your management will provide everything they can afford to help you take the project to the next stage, but you also have to keep in mind that if you are in a start-up, your budget might be limited. Hence, having a secondary plan to achieve the goal is important. All of this management experience is unique to company and your mileage might vary.

If you could go back in time, to before you received your job offer, and give yourself one piece of advice or encouragement, what would it be?

That’s a great question. I would motivate myself by saying, “Know your value as PhD, all you need is one YES, all the NAYs are just teaching guides to that YES” . Network more and talk to people in your field of interest that yields more meaningful connections than clicking add friend. Never burn bridges or take someone for granted. 

What is the most memorable moment for you (so far) as a Cheeky Scientist Associate?

Attending the Cheeky summit 2017 was the most memorable part of being a Cheeky. I was happy and excited to meet Isaiah, Laura, Catherine, Jeannette, Sarah, and all of the other associates who are in same boat as me. The gauntlet session helped me understand how to handle interview pressure. Sharing the same motivation and vibe with other Cheekies was phenomenal. The camaraderie we shared with others during the summit is another memorable moment. Of course, meeting Team Cheeky was the highlight of the day.

What do you see as the next step in your career?

I’d consider expanding more into filling the gaps I have in technical and managerial experience so that I could more effectively manage a team, to be the next step in career.

How can the Association and the Association’s members help you continue to achieve your career goals?

Cheeky Scientist Association is doing a fantastic job in supporting the members, both who are working towards transition and who have transitioned, via the Facebook group, dashboard materials, and webinars. 

One idea that comes to mind is to organize meetups for transitioned associates so that they could discuss and help each other towards their second/third transition. We could learn from each other’s experience about how they handled difficult situations, people, bosses they faced in jobs etc.

Now that you’ve spent some time working in industry, what is the biggest piece of advice you’d like to share with those Associates who are still executing their job search?

Applying for a job is a job in itself and you should not quit until you get the job done: i.e. landing the written offer. As a Cheeky, I understand the struggle involved that my fellow Cheekies are going through and I would support them in every way possible. As we say, “All you need is one YES, the rest of the NAYs are the path towards that YES”. The journey would be different for everyone involved but sharing it with like-minded people will make that journey a lot easier – Cheeky Scientist is that group of like-minded individuals.

To learn more about how you can transition into an industry career like Samantha, including instant access to our exclusive training videos, case studies, industry insider documents, transition plan, and private online network, get on the wait list for the Cheeky Scientist Association.

Isaiah Hankel


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