Episode S1.8: Career journey from Ph.D. in Chemistry and Chemical Biology to Investor Relations Management at a Big-Pharma 

Welcome to the eighth episode of STEM Professionals Chat where we bring to you the journey of Dr. Parag Mahanti, who has a doctorate degree in Chemistry and Chemical Biology from Cornell University and currently works at Novartis as the Director of investor relations. He is the founder of TheGradGrid, a community that focuses on post-graduate career development. Dr Parag is an avid scholar with a strong academic background and yet chose an interesting career beyond Academia and he shares with us his journey from India to the U.S. and multiple career transitions from research to STEM management and now into consulting. This episode is hosted by: Dr. Pawan Upadhyay and Dr. Manasi Apte

Key learnings

  1. What opportunities and challenges have you faced throughout your career journey?
  2. In lieu of a proper training in finance or consulting, how did your previous outside-the-lab experiences help you in the career transition? 
  3. Have you ever felt the imposter syndrome while switching careers? How did you overcome it?
  4. How can bachelor’s and master’s STEM graduates plan/craft their careers?
  5. Can you share you journey with GradGrid and what are some of the current activities?

About Dr. Parag Mahanti 

Dr. Parag is a scientist by education, musician by passion and curious by inclination. He currently works at Novartis as Director of Investor Relations with a primary focus on Strategy and Operations. Originally from Calcutta, Dr Parag completed his bachelors and masters in chemistry from University of Delhi. He then moved to the United States to pursue his Ph.D. in Chemistry and Chemical Biology in 2013 from Cornell University, which primarily focussed on nuclear hormone receptors, steroid signaling, and metabolomics. Post Ph.D. he transitioned to a career in management consulting (IQVIA) & later joined biotech equity research team at Barclays, where he focused on rare diseases, gene therapy/editing/cell therapy platforms, and immuno-oncology companies. Dr Parag is passionate about guiding STEM graduates and has served as a mentor for the Entrepreneurship Lab (ELABNYC). He is also the founder of GradGrid, a fast growing online community focused on postgraduate career development.

Video Interview on YouTube

Listen Podcast

Parag’s tips for successful career!

Recognise that hybridisation of cultures is important as it gives you ample opportunities to learn.

Lack of information is caused by your own lack of curiosity and people’s lack of understanding that you need information. 

Explore various career options and DO NOT make a choice unless all other options are exhausted.

Failures are as important as your success stories.

Self analysis from time to time, flexibility in thinking, networking and exploring any available opportunities would help you carve a great career for yourself.

Don’t stop networking! Also, read books!

Thank you, Parag!

If you enjoyed this interview with, Dr Parag  let them know by clicking the link below and leaving him a message on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/paragmahanti/


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

Video editing: Manasi Apte, Ph.D.

Publication note: Vanndita Bahl

Podcast hosting: Sumit Bhutada, Ph.D. & Rasika Hudlikar, Ph.D.

Web hosting: Smrita Chaudhury, Ph.D.

Review: All iSTEMCare Team members

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