In the spring of 2022, 34 PhD students from a range of academic disciplines at Penn participated virtually in Career Services’ PhD Career Exploration Fellowship (CEF) program, where they were matched with a host organization to learn about different careers beyond the professoriate. Kevin Trigani, a PhD candidate in Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, was placed as a Fellow with Merck’s Corporate Strategy office. Read about Kevin’s experience in the CEF below!
Describe your experience working with your host:
I had really great conversations with my host about his experience in corporate strategy at Merck. I learned about all the steps he had taken to reach his current position, and he was able to impart some advice on what to expect, and helped in determining whether or not this career path was right for me. I was able to gain better insight into what the role actually entails in both a broader sense and on a day-to-day basis.
What did you learn from this opportunity (about yourself, about career fields, the job search, etc.)?
I learned a lot about corporate strategy and what a career in corporate strategy is like. I think this experience has taught me to ask more questions and gain a better understanding of a potential role before deciding to pursue a career in a given industry/field.
How does your CEF experience benefit your future career plans?
It has motivated me to seek more information in corporate strategy roles, as well as other career paths I’m interested in.
What was the most valuable part of your CEF experience?
Being able to ask my host about his career path to reach his current role, and any mistakes he made or advice he would give to someone in my position.
Top reason PhD students should apply to the CEF:
Working with a host through CEF will ensure that you can get a clearer picture of a potential career path you may be interested in, and clarify any questions or concerns you may have that you wouldn’t be able to have answered without knowing someone in the industry.