After three and a half years of graduate school, I left the program with a Master of Science degree. I was attending graduate school that had a smaller faculty, lots of equipment, and is located in a beautiful area. To fully understand my dilemma, I wanted to study synthetic chemistry, but I didn't feel comfortable with the available research groups once I was already enrolled at the University. I joined an [redacted by CJ: "non-organic"] group with the understanding I could choose my projects and still be involved with synthesis.
I decided to leave the program when I realized I was not receiving the mentorship that I was expecting. My boss was not well versed in this area and I was left on my own figuring out how and what to do when I was stuck. This was both my fault for not understanding my boss’ skill set and my boss’ fault for allowing me to join his group.
My process for leaving was deliberate. I was unhappy and started reducing my research hours in lab. The fewer hours I worked, the less I moved forward. However, I did not realize research was the thing that was making me upset until I had a very blunt conversation with my boss. He informed me I would be in school eight years if I did not increase my hours in lab. Due to that conversation, I was certain I would not be staying for my PhD.
I was concurrently studying to receive my MBA at the same University, so I continued on with the MBA program while finishing in the Chemistry Department. I am graduating [redacted by CJ: "soon"] with my MBA and plan to apply for full time management jobs in the pharmaceutical/biotechnology industry.
After one year, I regret that I did not look into transferring to other programs that would fit my research style better. I need a little more structure and guidance and I felt uncomfortable transferring to other groups at my University. I also wish I would have talked to somebody on my committee to ask them for help and guidance. I believe finishing with my PhD would have been beneficial for my career path, but I would rather be happy than stay in a program that was not the right fit."N", thank you for your story and for also being our first submission! Best wishes in your new path.