etf

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so since i'm probably not going to start medical school in a couple of weeks, i figure i might as well get a research gig to make my app stronger for next time. i really get a job as a research assistant at a big biotech place like amgen or genentech...but people are telling me that it would be better to just to it at berkeley or ucsf. is private sector work not considered as "prestigious?" also, does anyone know how competitive these jobs are?
 

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All the places you mentioned are "prestigious," so go where ever you will get the most money and where you feel the most welcomed.
 

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etf said:
so since i'm probably not going to start medical school in a couple of weeks, i figure i might as well get a research gig to make my app stronger for next time. i really get a job as a research assistant at a big biotech place like amgen or genentech...but people are telling me that it would be better to just to it at berkeley or ucsf. is private sector work not considered as "prestigious?" also, does anyone know how competitive these jobs are?
It depends how much independence and attention you are going to get... If you are not there problem solving and working with a mentor it's pretty useless. The whole point of it is personal growth. Not something "you figure you might as well get a research gig to make my app stronger next time" Now if you were applying to all top ten schools then maybe that is the problem with your application. (I'm going to assume that's not true and think that there may have been other gaps there.) Research is good, but don't spend too much time there if there are other holes in your application. Talk to the Deans of Admissions if you can.

If you want to work at the research companies to make money then do that. It's something to talk about at an interview and to make money, but make sure you make yourself stronger where the weaknesses occured. Maybe you didn't apply to enough schools?
 
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coralfangs

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gapotts2003 said:
It depends how much independence and attention you are going to get... If you are not there problem solving and working with a mentor it's pretty useless. The whole point of it is personal growth. Not something "you figure you might as well get a research gig to make my app stronger next time" Now if you were applying to all top ten schools then maybe that is the problem with your application. (I'm going to assume that's not true and think that there may have been other gaps there.) Research is good, but don't spend too much time there if there are other holes in your application. Talk to the Deans of Admissions if you can.

If you want to work at the research companies to make money then do that. It's something to talk about at an interview and to make money, but make sure you make yourself stronger where the weaknesses occured. Maybe you didn't apply to enough schools?
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etf

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gapotts2003 said:
It depends how much independence and attention you are going to get... If you are not there problem solving and working with a mentor it's pretty useless. The whole point of it is personal growth. Not something "you figure you might as well get a research gig to make my app stronger next time" Now if you were applying to all top ten schools then maybe that is the problem with your application. (I'm going to assume that's not true and think that there may have been other gaps there.) Research is good, but don't spend too much time there if there are other holes in your application. Talk to the Deans of Admissions if you can.

If you want to work at the research companies to make money then do that. It's something to talk about at an interview and to make money, but make sure you make yourself stronger where the weaknesses occured. Maybe you didn't apply to enough schools?
well my primary draw to the biotech companies is that they pay better and i would be getting some of my pay in discounted company stock that i'm loading up on anyway. also, the projects they seem to be working on seem cool, and i can definately see myself getting psyched to go to work.

as for the holes in my application, i'm pretty sure it's in the ecs. My gpa could be better, but i think my mcat score more than compensated - i mean, i got a few interviews. as for applying too narrowly, i sent in about 20 secondaries, so i think i gave it a good shot. i'm hoping to be able to talk to some deans real soon, but don't know how receptive they would be to that. I'm told some schools deans are cool, but i don't think that's the case for the schools i was waitlisted at.

anyway, i'm wondering if anyone on sdn can chime in on their experience working in biotech....
 

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20 is likely plenty. Did you do any volunteering or get any clinical experience? That's a bigger factor than research at about 90% of the schools.

As for the Deans... They have an obligation to help out applicants who want to try again. Many of them will do it... Just contact the admissions offices after this cycle is over.
 

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gapotts2003 said:
20 is likely plenty. Did you do any volunteering or get any clinical experience? That's a bigger factor than research at about 90% of the schools.

As for the Deans... They have an obligation to help out applicants who want to try again. Many of them will do it... Just contact the admissions offices after this cycle is over.

I think gapotts is right. If you're serious about reapplying research may not be your biggest concern. You said your gpa wasn't great but mcat made up for it, but really there is no "making up for" in this whole process. So you could spend this year taking some extra undergrad classes or doing some volunteer work.

All that being said, those are suggestions for what you could do to make yourself the best applicant in a year's time. Ultimately any decision on how you will spend this year will have to be made by you. Just make sure you weigh the benefits of working at a biotech firm for one year and enjoying it, versus possibly still lacking key EC's and not getting in. This may not be what happens, but if you want to optimize your application evaluate what's the worst part about it. Then spend this year trying to correct it, in the way that will help you the most. Also know your audience, if you're applying outside of the top ten, research will not be your best option for this glide year.

For example: if you applied to say all the top 20 schools and got rejected because you had no research. Then doing research for this year may be what you need. However, if you applied to a broad spectrum of schools then you may need to spend this year improving your gpa and shadowing or volunteering in an ER.
 

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don't bother trying for either of those. if you're only planning on doing it for a year then your best bet would be ucsf or berkeley or whatever school you went to or something like that. a couple of reasons:

1- those companies are the hardest to get into. i know cause ive been at one and they will get thousands and thousands of resumes for every job posted. so unless you have at least 3 years of good research experience you're not going to get a worthwhile job there.

2- if you somehow happen to get a job there, you most likely wont be doing any 'research' in the same way you would at say ucsf. a typical entry level position might be working in a service lab doing the same thing everyday (such as protein purification).

also, from now and the time you would actually start work could be a couple months, which could be time spent elsewhere.


hope this helps
 

dittozip

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do academia.

2 more good reasons...

1- no chance in hell you will get a publication out of one of those companies in an entry level job after only 1 year. that is if either of those companies publish at all.

2- you might be forced to sign papers saying you cant discuss your research in which case it wasnt even worth it to have done it.
 

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UCSF can also give you opportunities to work with MDs or MD/PhDs who are doing research, so you can possibly shadow them when they have their clinical duties. You can also volunteer there a couple hours a week. You would probably make more money at Genentech, but you will get better research experience at UCSF in a shorter amount of time.
 
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etf

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thanks guys, this is the kinda stuff i was looking for. i know for a fact that the companies do publish, but you're probably right, there's probably no chance of me getting to do that. as for applications - i applied pretty broadly and was actually more bottom heavy than top heavy. i know mcat won't make up for gpa, but it's about average and i did get some interviews/screened secondaries, so it shouldn't hinder that much. i do have volunteer experience - in hospitals, free clinics, and nursing homes, so i think i'm straight there. i guess i'll just try my hand at getting in touch with deans...
 
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etf

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oh, and i would be doing it for about 2 years i guess, since i'm not applying in 2007 but rather 2008...if that makes a difference
 
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