5 December 2014 - 12:26 pm

One option all PhD students should know about

I have very few regrets about having made the (crazy) decision, quite a few years back, to do a PhD. But one of the regrets I do have is that I didn’t think very hard about my career post-PhD. You see, I started my PhD just before the recession, when academic jobs in my field were much more plentiful, and I just assumed that was where I was heading. By the time the recession hit, I was deep into my research and had got quite good at ignoring the rest of the world; my head was firmly buried in the sand about career options. Lucky for me really, I’d kept on a part time job which led to me landing in USE – a real stroke of luck in many ways considering my lack of planning! It just so happens that this career direction turned out to suit me down to the ground, but it might have been very different.

I wish, wish, WISH, that I had explored other options!

That’s why we’ve decided to help you explore those options. You see, in studying for a PhD, you are developing A LOT of skills. Not just arcane knowledge, but the skills of accessing, sorting, experimenting with, questioning, manipulating, critically appraising, synthesizing and presenting information. And believe it or not, those skills have real value. Value that others will want to harness and use!

One way of providing that value for others is to act as a research consultant. If you google ‘Research Consultancy firms UK’, you’ll get an idea of the variety of businesses out there and the services they provide. They include businesses that provide research for governments on social policy, businesses that help to improve the engineering of our public transport systems, and even businesses that help to try and bring stability to conflict environments. This is maybe not something you’ve ever thought of doing before, but it is an increasingly viable option post-graduation.

Interested? We’re going to be running a DDP module in the Spring Semester, which will be called (creatively), Research Consultancy. Over 8 weeks, you’ll learn more about research consultancy and what it takes to set up a consultancy business, meet those who are doing it already, and develop your own ideas and plans, so that you’d be ready to go, if you wanted, straight after completing your studies! You’ll get to meet some new friends as well – as part of the course you’ll be taking part in action learning, where you and your peers support each other in dealing with the challenges you encounter as you prepare your plans.

So, if you are thinking about your future career path, and how your skills can have real impact, this is the course for you! Hurry, because places are limited…

You can find out more about the module from this document:Research Consultancy DDP Module Guide

And you can sign up for the module here: http://ris.dept.shef.ac.uk/skills_seminars/listings/view/108

If you have any questions about the module, you can email me: a.h.riley@sheffield.ac.uk

Many thanks to laura pasquini for the use of the image.

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  • About the author

    Ali Riley

    I am one of the three Enterprise Learning Development Officers here at USE, and I work directly with the Faculties of Science and Social Sciences. My background is actually in archaeology - random I know - but I have always had a bit of a side-interest in how people learn, and now this has led me to this very rewarding role! I'm still to be found in muddy holes at weekends though... I'll be blogging about Enterprise Education, including news, events, success stories, and my experiences of working with academics to offer a great learning experience to students.