Conference Schedule, April 30, 2015

UCLA Masters & PHD Career Conference

9:00-11:00am Registration, Kickoff Breakfast & Keynote Presentation and Sign Up
**sign up for alumni informational interviews, roundtables & employer mock interviews start at 9am at the Conference

Karen Kelsky: “Turning your PhD into a Job”
Keynote Slides
To turn your PhD into a job after graduation, you need to do four things:

  1. Start early, ideally from your first year in the program
  2. See beyond narrow definitions of the “right” career
  3. Build a competitive record for the tenure track search
  4. Simultaneously, lay the groundwork for post-academic career options

Since graduate advisors and programs tend to focus on the dissertation research rather than careers, you may end up undertaking these four tasks on your own.  But you can do it!  In this keynote address I will show you how.  I’ll discuss the ways you can: orient yourself toward the job search from day one, envision a range of possible career trajectories, focus on the outcomes that yield real traction on the job market, and learn to identify the post-academic skills you are gaining as you proceed in your graduate school studies.
My goal is to empower all graduate students and postdocs to understand how the job market works, make informed choices about your careers, and protect your mental health and financial security.

11:15-12:45pm: Break Out Sessions

7 Secrets of Highly Effective Researchers & Scholars 
Hugh Kearns, BAgSc, Med, MMHS
Speaker Slides
This workshop describes the key habits that our research and experience with thousands of  graduate students show will make a difference to how quickly and easily you complete your research degree and move forward in any research career. Just as importantly, these habits can greatly reduce the stress and increase the pleasure in completing a PhD and going on to be a successful scholar.
The workshop helps you to understand how to increase your effectiveness and outcomes in the following key areas:

  • How you deal with your advisor
  • How you structure your study time
  • Your attitude (or lack thereof!) in relation to your research
  • Dealing with writer’s block or having difficulty writing
  • Getting the help you need when you are stuck
  • Juggling multiple commitments and never having enough time
  • Keeping on going when the going gets tough

The Science and Strategy of Effective Communication: How to Articulate your Transferrable Skills to Industry
Peter Fiske, PhD
Speaker Slides
In this interactive presentation, Dr. Fiske illuminates the transferable skills graduate students have gained through the completion of their program and how to most effectively communicate those skills to an audience outside of the academy. Fiske reviews some of the latest science of persuasion and explains why people receive some forms of communication well and react negatively to other forms and styles. Fiske reveals how some of the most important technical communication you do may be more effective when you appreciate things from the listener’s perspective. And he discusses why “selling skills” are important to understand and master, even if you never plan on leaving academia.

Maximizing LinkedIn
Anne Dela Cruz, Ed.D. 
With more than 100 million users worldwide, LinkedIn has become the platform for online professional networking.  For UCLA graduate students & Postdocs this site is an effective tool for building a professional brand, researching careers and connecting to alumni.  During this workshop we will cover:

  1. How to create an effective LinkedIn profile, highlighting skills and accomplishments gained throughout your graduate and postdoctoral program at UCLA
  2. How LinkedIn can be leveraged to research, create & maintain professional connections
  3. Best practices & strategies to explore careers and find a job

The Unruly PhD: Redefining Success
Rebecca Peabody, PhD
Earning a PhD requires years of hard work, focus, and intellectual endurance. For many, it also requires breaking rules, taking risks, and leaving the "straight and narrow" far behind. Unfortunately, many of the more interesting aspects of professional success stories are edited out of cv's, and as a result, out of the conversation around what it really takes to achieve professional goals. This talk aims to bring "life" back into the conversation around academic work/life balance, drawing attention to challenges that many graduate students face that are institutional in nature, rather than personal, to the risks and decisions that come up along the way, and to the different ways that PhD students are putting their educations to work for them both within, and beyond, academia.

12:30—1:30pm: Alumni & Employer Networking Lunch

*30 minute Employer Mock interviews from 1:00-3:00pm
*30 minute Alumni Informational interviews from 1:00-3:00pm
*Individual session sign up will begin at 9am, at the conference

1:30-2:45pm: Break Out Sessions

Entrepreneurship for Scientists and Engineers
Peter Fiske, PhD CEO of PAX Water Technologies
Speaker Slides
Most graduate students and postdocs consider “entrepreneurship” as the process of starting a company, and taking on a lot of financial, professional and personal risk to do so. In fact, entrepreneurship doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to start a company, and it doesn’t have to involve a lot of risk.
In this workshop, author and entrepreneur Dr. Peter S. Fiske unpacks some of the stereotypes that surround the term “entrepreneur” and shows how many of the skills you develop during your PhD training may prepare you very well for an “entrepreneurial” life. Fiske highlights the major factors that lead to success in early-stage technology ventures, as well as alternative strategies that lower the risk for Ph.D. inventors. He also discusses his direct experiences commercializing technology from the bench and building successful ventures.

Mastering the Academic Job Search
Karen Kelsky, PhD  The Professor is in….
Speaker Slides
In this talk, Dr. Kelsky walks you through the conditions of the current American job market, the most common mistakes made by job-seekers, and the ways you can maximize your chances of success while looking for a tenure-track job. We’ll cover:

  • The big-picture conditions of the U.S. tenure track job market
  • How to think like a search committee
  • The core qualities of a successful tenure track job candidate
  • The all-important 5-Year Plan
  • The ethos of job market documents
  • The most common mistakes made by job seekers
  • The three keys to academic interviewing

We also examine the intangible pitfalls, especially problems of tone and affect like narcissism, excessive humility, hyper-emotionalism, and the perils of obstinacy.  By the end you will know how to build a competitive record for the tenure track job search, and how to present that record effectively in both job applications and your interviews.

The Building Blocks of Professional Networking
Brian Mac Mahon, PayitforwardLabs
In this interactive session, you will learn about the multifactorial process of networking from top experts in the field. This workshop will focus on how to find the right community for networking, the suitability of networking events for different purposes, and how to initiate conversations and promote oneself effectively.  During the interactive portion, attendees will have the opportunity to practice their acquired networking skills and receive coaching from leading communication experts.

3:00-4:15pm Break Out Sessions

Discipline & Industry specific Alumni Roundtables & Panel Discussions
112 confirmed advanced degree alumni & employers will be in attendance to share career advice, mentorship and opportunities with UCLA graduate students & postdocs.

Biomedical & Life Science & Engineering 
Humanities & The Arts
Physical Sciences & Math
Social/Behavioral Sciences & Education
Health Sciences

4:30-6:00pm GSA Sponsored Advanced Degree Alumni Happy Hour*
*Happy hour attendance is limited only to conference attendees

Student and Postdoc Registration