Career options within life sciences… How diverse!

For its 11th edition (see gallery below), Life Science Career Day focused on diversity: diversity of career paths, diversity of fields, diversity of events and activities throughout the day, diversity among our guests, companies and organizations, diversity of workplace cultures.

The diversity of jobs and opportunities in the life sciences is a great asset, but it also means choosing the right path, the one that suits you and will fulfill you the most. Therefore, this year’s program has been specifically designed to help the participants asking and answering four questions: What do I like to do? What areas interest me? How do I like to work (workplace culture)? Which dreams/values/challenges are most important to me, and which are secondary?

What do I like to do?

During the opening ceremony, Carina Schey, moderator of the day, introduced two alumni who chose not to pursue an academic career and who managed to find the right job in challenging environments. Lucie Sprecher, Scientific Collaborator at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology represented the public sector, while Romain Bodinier, Equity Analyst at AtonRâ Partners, represented the private one.

Our two guests stressed the importance of finding one’s own way and following what one loves. The path toward that goal may be fraught with difficulties, but never with defeat: there are no wrong decisions. Finding what you love involves trying, daring, learning and perseverance.

What areas interest me?

A very special networking and career orientation session, with more than 30 alumni/invited speakers working in a wide variety of fields (public, nonprofit & private sectors), has been held during the day. During this session, the participants had the opportunity to have enriching conversations and get an idea of the reality of each field.

In addition, companies and organizations took the stage and set up their booths in the hall of the SwissTech Convention Center to present their daily missions; a good way to learn what is being done in Switzerland in the life sciences and to raise interest in the career possibilities in these various structures.

How do I like to work?

A workplace/corporate culture embodies the values and beliefs of an organization from which results a whole range of elements to consider when choosing a career, applying for a job and interviewing: integration into a team, values, management style, work environment, life balance, happiness at work. A roundtable with 6 alumni from different sectors and environments helped to understand the importance of considering workplace cultures. Andrzej Kurenda (Chief Scientific Officer at Vivent), Céline Müller (Scientific Collaborator at the Forest, Nature and Landscape Service of the State of Valais), Cherise Bothma (Global Industrial Project Engineering Capability and Performance Manager at Nestlé), Christophe Ungar (Producer and Scientific Journalist at RTS), Jean-Luc Eiselé (Chief Executive Officer at World Heart Federation) and Martine Bourqui-Pittet (Head of eHealth Suisse) shared their tips and advice with our participants.

To remember:

– Nothing is set in stone: just because you take a certain direction, a certain position, a certain percentage of work doesn’t mean you’ll end your career that way.

– Create and use your network! Knowing how to ask for help and advice as well as surrounding yourself with the right people can make a difference.

– Think of a job interview as an exchange rather than an interrogation. Ask questions and show your interest in helping the company in its mission.

Which dreams/values/challenges are most important to me and which are secondary?

To close the day, Natacha Wicht, HR expert and career blogger (“Fresh Out Of Studies”) presented career anchors, a tool to navigate through your job search. During this interactive career empowering session, she invited participants to discover and understand their aspirations, ambitions and values. Are you dreaming of a career that allows you to integrate your personal, family and professional needs? Do you prefer a career that contributes meaningfully to humanity and society? Or a career in which you can deal with and overcome particularly difficult situations? Once your career anchor determined, keep it at the core of your entire career path to guide your choices.

Finally, for the participants who already had a clear idea of their professional goals and who wanted to give themselves a chance to talk to a professional from the private sector or add the perfect touch to their resume, the Life Science Career Day offered the possibility to have a chat with a recruitment professional from Talendo, in collaboration with oprandi & partner, as well as providing a CV photo booth with the talented AliaPhoto.

Thank you for joining us on this journey, and see you next year, 02 May 2024, for the 12th edition!