...But you'll notice that a history of postdocing is not among the characteristics that appear in Banholzer's description. "I don't think I need to hire postdocs," he told PCAST. A Ph.D. earned under an excellent professor is sufficient education, he says, because Dow provides newly hired scientists its own training for the work that they will be doing. "They sort of get their postdoc on the job," he notes.
A final element of Banholzer's formula for starting an industrial career is studying at an institution that ranks high in your field. "If you want to get a job, you'd better go to the best schools because that's where the best faculty are, that's where the best research is done. It doesn't mean there might not be a world-class, creative, capable person at a lesser school, but I've got to work so much harder to find them." Dow recruits at the roughly two dozen schools at the top of their fields; the particular institutions vary with the disciplines. An outstanding candidate from a lower-ranked school can still apply but faces much longer odds of getting noticed and hired...
[snip] "The reason I'm in industry is that I want to solve society's problems," Banholzer says. For aspiring scientists desiring to join him in this endeavor, his advice is straightforward. "You've got to figure out how to distinguish yourself from others. That means you'd better go to a prestigious university, you'd better work on some disruptive thesis, you'd better be outstanding at communication."I respect Dr. Banholzer for being willing to lay out the bare minimum for being hired at Dow to be an entry-level Ph.D. scientist, and not hiding behind code words for the same thing ("unique skills", "critical thinking"). I could probably do a really good job at quibbling with this reliance on
Dr. Banholzer hasn't talked about the other, industrial-sized elephants in the room: that Dow probably doesn't need to hire all that many R&D scientists because they're probably hiring them overseas. And I'll also note that he's in direct conflict (hhhheeeyyy) with his boss Andrew Liveris, who can't stop plumping for more scientists.
[I mean, yeah, we could dog him for all of this, but is he going to change Dow's hiring habits? No. Better to know the reality, talk about it and not hide from it.]
But for describing the unpopular reality that you can't get hired by large corporations without a great-looking CV from a prestigious institution, I announce the Banholzer Award for Truth-Telling about Chemical Employment. I look forward to future nominations.
*Anecdotally true, not statistically proven, I might note.