Your dream job is out there somewhere. The one you were made for, the one you deserve. It may be one handshake away, one conversation away, one introduction away. So, make sure you give yourself the chance to attend events, to go to seminars in domains that interest you but are outside of your area of research. This will give you the opportunity to learn about career spaces adjacent to yours and to incrementally move towards that conversation and that position that will bring you meaning and fulfilment. In this episode, we’ll be hearing from Sathy Rajasekharan about the different stages that brought him from the bench to the global health arena.

Sathy Rajasekharan is Chief Innovation Officer at Jacaranda Health, and overseas development of innovative tools, research projects, and public sector and academic partnerships, with the aim of leveraging Jacarandas expertise and insight to influence maternal healthcare in East Africa. Prior to joining Jacaranda Health, Sathy was a Senior Program Manager for the Drug Access and Health Financing teams of the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), and led CHAIs work providing technical assistance to the Swaziland Ministry of Health. He has held previous positions as the Associate Director of the McGill University Centre for Biomedical Innovation (MCBI), where he helped develop a commercialization plan for health technologies. He was also the Associate Director of a translational research program at the Montreal Neurological Institute. Sathy holds a PhD in Neurology and Neurosurgery.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • The importance of setting up your expectations and your objectives for your graduate research
  • How learning new skills can open your career horizons and home in on your deep values and interests
  • How a job or an internship in a small team or in a small company can be an opportunity to rapidly level up by taking on challenging responsibilities
  • How to look for alternative academic careers, if you want to work in close connection with university and with research, but do not want to work in research yourself
  • Why you should attend events and network around your department/institute/university
  • The importance of preparing your interview with each potential employer and of practicing it, to the point where your pitch comes out naturally and you can focus on the points the employer is looking for in particular

This episode’s pearls of wisdom:

“I think it’s just great to be a student of as much as possible. Even if your career path is academia, exposing yourself to a broad range of thoughts and thinking, and skills is so important. It’s so enriching for a human to do that.”

“I think that is a fundamental skill that most people sell short in graduate school – the ability to process information very quickly and apply it.”

“The more you talk, the more you pitch, right? So you learn how to refine the story about yourself. The question everyone is going to ask is “so why do you want to do this?” and why they should hire you. And you just come up with your unique selling proposition as much as possible as a candidate.”

“No one ever asks you in an interview how many hours a day you work, right? They don’t care. What they really want to know is ‘what have you done?’ And maybe that’s your scientific output, but maybe it’s your hobby or your side-gig. So if you can do it, try and do it, try and find that balance where you’re able to learn different things and do different things.”

Sathy’s links: LinkedIn: LinkedIn.com/in/SathyRajan; Website: JacarandaHealth.org

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