George Ashley tells us how his PhD prepared him for working life, and gives students advice on taking advantage of the University’s many opportunities.
PhD Reproductive and Developmental Sciences
|Year of Graduation||2010|
Tell us about your time at the University
I chose Edinburgh due to the PhD on offer and the fact that it’s a small city with a lot going on, while still having great access to the outdoors. Within a few months of living here I knew I had made the right choice, and I'm still here seven years later.
I have had many awesome experiences here, mostly with my PhD friends from the Queens Medical Research Institute and the University of Edinburgh Hare and Hounds running club.
My experiences at Edinburgh provided me with an academic and pragmatic knowledge base which has proved invaluable to my travels, allowing me to help other researchers and organisations.
Tell us about your experiences since leaving the University
I am currently working for a small biotechnology firm based in Southampton as a technical sales consultant. The role is based in Edinburgh but I travel far and wide dealing with undergraduate students and professors, and with organisations ranging from universities to large biotech companies.
I provide molecular biology tools to researchers and other labs, give lectures on certain technologies and perform lab installations for various organisations. After my PhD I became an account manager and sales rep for a molecular biology company, which taught me sales skills including coping with a lot of travel, understanding people’s needs, and then exceeding those.
Two years later, I was headhunted by my current employers via LinkedIn. My experiences at Edinburgh provided me with an academic and pragmatic knowledge base which has proved invaluable to my travels, allowing me to help other researchers and organisations.
Notable personal achievements besides obtaining the PhD include competing for the world famous Hunters Bog Trotters in various on- and off-road running events, and building up an extensive network of contacts, which I intend to use in the future.
Think about what kind of job you want to be doing at least a year before you have to make a decision. Use the careers service, talk to as many different people as you can (abuse your contacts!), but, most importantly, figure out what you enjoy and what your strengths are. Find an overlap between those things and go for it!