Xianglong Zhu (PhD ’16, Genetics)

What is your current profession/job? What did you study at Yale? When did you graduate?

I am current an Associate Consultant at ‎Adivo Associates LLC. I graduated in May 2016 from Genetics/neuroscience.

What do you like most about your current role? What do you find most challenging and/ or rewarding?

I enjoy that there are always new things to learn at work. Healthcare consulting takes on various projects from pharma or biotech companies. Consequently, the job involves constantly fast learning to meet clients’ need. Often times, I need to quickly grasp knowledge regarding a therapeutic area I have not worked in.

As a project manager, I need to make sure everyone on the team is on the same page and all the efforts made are towards the ultimate goal of the project. Communication is the key and time management is also crucial. It’s always a great pleasure when the final product is present to the client and well-received. All the hard work is paid off.

How did your time at Yale shape your career trajectory?

The most important thing I learned is that science PhDs can have many career trajectories other than in academia. It is up to us to decide what works best for ourselves. Yale alumni network and career service is also very helpful for exploring career options as well as referrals.

What skills did you acquire as a PhD student and postdoc that have helped make you successful in your current career?

Obviously I still need my life science background in my daily job. In addition, skills picked up during PhD training include critical thinking, qualitative and quantitive analysis and even time management, etc

Did you acquire any professional experience related to your line of work while in graduate school or in your postdoc (either through part-time work, volunteering, networking, or other forms of training)?

It really depends on how you define professional experience. I had leadership experience through various roles in student organizations, did some pro bono consulting projects to know how this field works, learned how pharmaceutical companies operate via summer internship in different functional departments of pharma. For consulting, the employers would like to see you have done activities outside of lab.

What advice would you offer international PhDs who are interested in your line of work?

Nowadays, many science PhDs have chosen to work in non-academic careers but I guess the special challenge for international students is the working eligibility. Consulting might be a good springboard to get into the business world. Yale has great resources for people interested in consulting. Just do your homework. Networking is also very important.