Career Center

In the Spotlight: Amy Radermacher, PhD

"A successful job search begins with discovering what you want, what excites you, and what makes you happy"

Stanford Affiliation: Graduate Student
Department: Immunology
School: Medicine
Degree: PhD
Industry: Management Consulting
Location: McKinsey & Co, Minneapolis, MN

"Coming into graduate school, I was sure that academia was exactly what I wanted to do after graduation.  However, as I progressed I discovered that I wanted instead to work at the interface between science and the rest of the world.  This extremely vague idea of what I wanted to do sent me searching to narrow it down and figure out what would provide a fulfilling next step after graduation.

To help me figure out more specifically what I wanted to do, I took advantage of the tremendous resources that Stanford has to offer.  At the Career Center, I took the Myers Briggs and Strong Interest Inventory assessments to learn more about my interests in a work setting.  I explored teaching and science writing as a TA in the  Genetics Department's Stanford at the Tech program at the Tech Museum in San Jose teaching science to elementary school students and writing articles on current science events for the public.  I explored business by taking accounting, leadership, and interpersonal dynamics courses in the Business School and participating in the Summer Institute for Entrepreneurship that the Business School offers to non-business graduate students.  I spent a lot of time learning about the various career options outside of research and understanding in depth what each entails on a daily basis at the Career Center and on the internet.  I also did a lot of thinking about what I wanted and what would would make me happy professionally.  Of all the research that I did, this time thinking about myself was the most valuable time I spent.

After a lot of research and a number of business school classes, I discovered my passion for business.  I attended a McKinsey information session at the Medical School and became intrigued by consulting.  Looking into it more and attending McKinsey's Insight Healthcare, a 4-day consulting workshop, I had found what I was looking for.  Consulting gave me the chance to experience a number of different areas in business without requiring me to devote myself to any one initially.  Second, during graduate school, I found that I really enjoyed working with others to solve problems so the teamwork component of consulting fulfilled that desire.  Third, I was looking for something that would have a lot of impact and help me make a difference.  McKinsey's work with the world's largest firms on their biggest strategic challenges would let me do just that.  Finally, it was comforting to know that McKinsey has had much experience helping Ph.D.s transition into business.

Having gone through an extensive research and interview process, I understand how, at times, it can be pretty difficult and trying but I encourage you to take heart and remember that the most important things are to discover what you want, what excites you, and, above all, what will make you happy.  After you find those, work as hard as you can to get there."

Amy Radermacher
February 2009

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