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Finding myself through networking

2017 IUSM NetworkIN Fall event with IBRI

While Networking events are amazing platforms for the growing professionals to meet fellow professionals and to know about new positions, it’s usually a big endeavor. IUSM NetworkIN had its Fall networking event last month in collaboration with Indiana Biosciences Research Institute that was a grand success. Personally, I have never understood the importance of networking and considered it a waste of time, until I decided to give it a try and my realization was: not only is it fun, its critical for my professional development. One year later, I am a part of the IUSM’s NetworkIN committee and attending various other networking events.

Our 2017 Fall networking event had varied flavors ranging from graduate students, postdocs, industrial professionals entrepreneurs and academic professionals from nearby universities. As the evening went by, I realized that I gained more confidence as I talked to more people and succeeded in presenting a well-described, succinct bio on myself, as one would say “an elevator talk”. Another noticeable thing was, I was visible and being recognized by certain attendees whom  I have met in past networking events. Gaining confidence, being visible and building a reputation are some of the key advantages of networking that might lead to a referral in future.

As time progresses, various new positions are created to better serve an institution that is very different from the traditionally known positions. Over the course of my attendance at these various events, I have come to learn of many such roles that a Ph.D. might be able to fit in perfectly. You enjoy communicating technical science by writing articles and reviews and grants but do not necessarily want to continue with bench work- Medical Writer is what you are looking for.You enjoy managing projects- Project Manager is the right choice for you and so on. During our event, I had the incredible opportunity of meeting 4 professionals with Masters and PhDs serving at drastically different roles- a Medical writer, an Assistant Professor, a Clinical Research Scientist and a Medical Science Liason. Such encounters introduced me to varied exciting roles that I never knew existed.

However, one of my personal biggest benefit of attending the networking events is the discussion on each other’s projects leading to sharing of ideas and knowledge, feedback and providing a different perspective.  In fact, one such discussion gave a unique direction to my project that I would have never thought of doing.

Overall, networking events are wonderful opportunities for building a connection with fellow professional associates who share a similar drive and ambition and providing an incentive to take action. It is a key activity for one’s personal growth and career development and provides a better understanding of “what’s out there”!

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.

Bidisha (Eshaani) Mitra

I am a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology researching on Hepatitis B virus and innate immunity