My co-founder Kris Jack and I have been scratching our heads for a few months on what the best way to connect industry and academia is.
There is so much untapped tech and talent coming from academia but how do we unlock that? After several months of experimenting and hundreds of feedback, our community clearly communicated with us the need for networking to break the silos and build bridges. Not just networking but making personal introductions between individuals. We are breaking silos with millions of little steps with exceptional individuals talking to each other.
My friends are only other academics
This statement does not apply to all PhDs but it is very often the main reason that makes the transition from academia to industry much harder.
It is common and fully understandable that after years of studying and researching, the majority of your friends and acquaintances came from the same environment.
You share the same interests, ways of thinking and approach. Coming out of their comfort zones for academics is not easy and could be intimidating. However, it is absolutely necessary before making the move to the corporate world.
Speaking to different people outside your usual network will not only prepare PhDs for less stressful transitions but also speed up the adjustment and help them make more accurate career decisions.
About 50% of jobs are not even being advertised
It is true that there is a whole world of hidden demand for talented individuals but managers never communicate those needs outside their companies or even a small group of coworkers.
There are several reasons why we never hear about some cool jobs from great companies. Positions that require people to work on R&D projects and innovative ideas are often not advertised publicly by companies so that competitors do not know what a company is working on. I even came across fake job ads, especially in the pharmaceutical sector, to mislead competition.
Another reason is simply lack of time for managers to write job specs and go through the process of explaining recruiters who they are looking for, which is difficult when it comes to highly technical and specific positions. Once I got a job that was created for me after I spoke to an executive from a global company about his challenges and shared my ideas on how to solve it.
It is very common for managers to reach out to their network in the first instance and ask around to find the talent they would welcome to the team.
PhDs are introverts with imposter syndrome
I know this is a big and bold statement so if you are a PhD and extrovert, do not get offended but be happy because you are a minority.
Being introverted and having imposter syndrome often comes from the way academics work for years. It is the constant need for improvement and finding innovative ways of solving problems that always need more research because it is never perfect.
For those reasons, at Smart Tribe, we decided to go a bit further than just allow academics and industry experts to network. We are making proactive introductions to make the first move for them.
Meeting the right person can change your life
According to Stanford sociologist Michael Rosenfeld’s study, almost 40% of couples meet their partners online through dating networks.
Facebook and Linkedin opened up new ways like never before for people to connect. In just a few clicks, we can meet a husband/wife or teacher, mentor, a new employer or a friend. Meeting the right person can change our life.
Many of us have memories of our favourite teachers who made an impact on our lives or someone who we looked up to for guidance. One simple introduction and conversation with someone new can lead to life-changing circumstances taking our career on different paths.