Episode S1.7: Career journey from Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry to Innovation, Business Development & Licensing

Welcome to the seventh episode of STEM Professionals Chat where we bring to you the journey of Dr. Debjit Dutta, who has a strong research background and decided to pivot for a career in business development, innovation, and licensing. He currently is the Innovation lead at Sanofi. Dr. Dutta completed his Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry from the University of North Carolina. During his Postdoctoral experience, he started interning and volunteering with various innovations teams and projects that eventually turned into him accepting a job at the Esco Ventures, Singapore as an Associate. He went on to work as a Liaison Officer at the National University of Singapore before moving to his present role at Sanofi. Debjit is currently pursuing an Executive MBA from IE Business School. In this chat, we learn from Debjit about the transferable skills, struggles, and valuable suggestions for a career trajectory like his. This episode is hosted by: Dr. Rasika Hudlikar and Dr. Deepak Iyer.

Key learnings

  1. What is Venture capital and how can one make a career transition from Biological research to the field of Venture Capital ?
  2. What do you suggest people from science backgrounds to learn who wish to work enter into a similar role like you?
  3. How do you justify your PhD or Postdoc skillset to a person from a non-scientific background (especially during job interviews)?
  4. What matters the most during non-academic career transition- publications/patents or skill sets?
  5. What challenges did you face while making your own career transition?
  6. Who do you see as your role models? 
  7. How to effectively engage in conversations during informational interviews? 
  8. What suggestions would you give graduate students to adopt a generalist approach if they plan to switch careers?

About Dr. Debjit Dutta

Dr. Debjit Dutta is an experienced Innovation, Business Development, and Licensing professional with extensive international experience across venture capital, tech transfer, and large matrix organizations in executing deals in early-stage R&D partnership and collaboration in the biotech, pharmaceutical, and medical device industries. Dr. Dutta has a strong academic record and has worked with leading research institutes in India and abroad. He has been a meritorious scholar all through and was awarded Francis P. Venable Scholarship to pursue his Ph.D., where he published 10 peer-reviewed research articles in high-impact journals. While pursuing his Postdoctoral time, he realized his leadership qualities and assisted the Global Leaders in Entrepreneurship & Innovation team at the Centre for Healthcare Innovation. He continued working as a Postdoctoral scientist before entering into a Business Development role at Esco Ventures, after which he worked as a liaison officer for about a year. Presently, he is leading the Innovation Division at Sanofi.

Video Interview on YouTube

Listen Podcast

Debjit’s tips for successful career!

Your career path will be guided by many experiences along your long educational journey. It doesn’t get defined in one moment

Make sure you experience life outside the lab, get involved, and interact with as many groups as you can. That’s how you build on your potential network!

If you don’t see something that might be helpful for you and your community, be proactive and maybe start something yourself!

Work with your university/organization’s research office for improving your application material (especially if you are transitioning outside your field of expertise)

Collaboration and program management are very important transferable skills

Thank you, Debjit!

If you enjoyed this interview with, Debjit  let them know by clicking the link below and leaving him a message on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/debjit-dutta-phd-a519a33b/


Graphics & video design: Isha Parlikar & Pawan Upadhyay, Ph.D.

Video editing: Sumit Bhutada., PhD & Manasi Apte, Ph.D

Publication note: Vanndita Bahl

Podcast hosting: Pawan Upadhyay, Ph.D.

Publication Content editing:Manasi Apte, Ph.D

Review: All iSTEMCare Team members

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