Project Management

Project Management Central

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Topics: Pharmaceutical
Recent PhD graduate seeking career transition advice
I recently graduated with a PhD in Neuroscience and have a keen interest in pursuing project management in Pharma or biotech as a career. Does anyone have advice on how to start gaining experience in the field? Would taking the CAPM certification be helpful?
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I think decide where you want to live and such companies in your place of choice. Apply with these companies. As soon as you get job and start working you will start gaining experience. I think after few years of experience, for your qualification level you should try for PMP or higher. All the best for great future.
First of all, congratulations to earn the PhD. Certifications will not give experience to you. And certifications say nothing about you as project manager (see what a certification means or assures inside the PMI site itself). To gain in experience you have to work in some activity inside a project and being aware of PMI´s PMBOK knowledge areas.
Congratulations on your PhD Cortney - I totally agree with Sergio, certifications will give you foundation and background but in order to climb up the ladder you need experience.

I would suggest you start as a project coordinator so you can take the right experience.
Congratulations on achieving your PhD. The CAPM certification is intended as a stepping stone to the PMP certification. Basically studying the PmBOK Guide and passing the exam earns you CAPM. However, PMP certification requires that you show experience in the PMP domains. That being said, here are my thoughts... Project management is a formal method of putting structure around any project. So to gain the experience necessary what you should be doing is using the PMP "framework" when you're working on a project - paid, volunteer, etc. For example, create a schedule with tasks and timelines. Track and review,etc.. Anywhere you can utilize PMP guidance to accomplish a goal do so. Try to keep track of what you've done, which domain it matches and how it was successful. I hope this helps.
Congratulation on your PhD. The certificate will give you the required guide for project management but will not add experince, so to get the experince you have to start working on a project .
Many congratulations on your PhD.

A certification is good to have. However, the real learning & experience will come by getting involved in the project. A project contributor or coordinator should be the starting point.

Start reading the PMBOK guide, and get your concepts clear and foundation built.
Hello Cortney,

Congratulations on your achievement. I also give the recommendation that you begin applying the Project Management framework to your research. I received project management training only after I'd worked a few years in the laboratory, but I was surprised (and pleased) to learn that many of the good documentation and good research practices I'd developed were very relevant and transferable to project management specific activities. Additionally, as you move into the regulated environment of medical product development, I encourage you to observe and learn from colleagues in Quality, Regulatory, and Marketing/Business Development as you will learn some practical ways to understand Risk and Business Need in the context of your specific field.

It's also key to realize that in the context of medical product development, the PMBOK is a foundation but the experience, clinical knowledge, and humanism of your work will be paramount to your success.

Good luck with your pursuits.
Felicitations, Cortney, on your PhD. Like my colleagues, I believe it would be best if you worked the project management track from within a company. They can provide you with the support anf guidance you will need on your journey.
Hi Cortney, how is it going? I'm also a science researcher (biochemistry) interested in applying project management principles to managing science research projects in my career although I'll be hoping to do this in the academic environment, which I guess is fairly unique. Hopefully I can learn from people like you who are doing this in biotech industry project management, and see what aspects and tools you have found most useful. I'm sure we'd all like to hear how you have fared since posting this discussion!

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