Centre for Doctoral Studies

Equipping research students to excel

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PhD Bloggers Wanted

Do you have a personal experience of PhD life you’d like to share with your peers?

Whether it’s dealing with writer’s block, tips and tricks for time management, or just your own unique perspective on the life of a postgraduate research student at King’s – we want to hear from you!

The Centre for Doctoral Studies is looking for contributions to its blog from research students at King’s, on a range of topics including, but not limited to:

  • Starting out as a PhD student
  • Life as an international student
  • Living in London
  • Cultural challenges
  • Time management
  • The writing-up process
  • Study skills and research methods
  • Creative approaches to research
  • The upgrade & Viva
  • Getting published
  • Teaching experience
  • Presenting at conferences
  • Mental health and wellbeing
  • Life outside the library/lab

This is a great opportunity to practice your communication and engagement skills as well as get your name and research out there. More importantly, sharing personal perspectives from current PGR students can offer other students valuable support and practical insight into the challenges and joys of working towards a doctorate.

To have a post featured on the Centre for Doctoral Studies blog, send your submissions or pitch your ideas to doctoralnews@kcl.ac.uk.

Please note, publication on the CDS blog is at the discretion of its editor. Submissions should not exceed 1000 words.


‘Raw Intellectual Horsepower’ – Five lessons for PhDs on Management Consultancy careers

The King’s Careers “Beyond Academia” panels bring together PhD graduates who have ‘Raw Intellectual Horsepower’transitioned out of academia into a range of different industries, to give expert insight into life beyond the academy and the skills and strategy required to make the move. 

The first event of King’s Careers “Beyond Academia” panel season kicked off by looking at the perennially-popular field of management consulting. We were joined by four PhD graduates from a wide range of research disciplines, working in top consultancy firms, who touched on a range of subjects, from applications and adapting to a new work culture, to imposter syndrome and moving past perfectionism. 

Here are the 5 things we learned from the event:

1) Research skills = consulting skills  

Consulting uses many of the skills inherent in working on a PhD: Elinor talked about the analytical skills PhDs and other researchers use to answer complex questions; the resilience required to keep going through a difficult project; and the communication skills needed to be able to talk through tricky solutions. Like academia, consulting is full of cosmopolitan people who are all seeking innovative solutions.

2) Time is of the essence

On the other hand, the pace and variety of consultancy is probably the major difference from working on an academic research project. Chris described the need to not get a 90-95% perfect solution, but having to be content with an 80% correct solution; Nick said that one of the main shifts he got used to at the start was not having a week to work on something, but being expected to have an answer by the afternoon.  The transition from one to the other is hard: it is a very structured profession with people often checking your work

3)  Imposter syndrome cuts both ways

Dealing with the imposter syndrome inherent in coming in to advise long-established business professionals can be challenging; Elinor talked about the internal feedback often being more searching than from the clients. Firms won’t let their consultants go out unless they are very well prepared. See here for an article about how management consultancy started. Nick talked about the advantage of arriving at a client company, as an outsider, and being able to draw together the right people to have the difficult conversations; often these conversations are enough to help the company move on.

4) Know your numbers

Firms like the ‘raw intellectual horsepower’ that PhDs bring, but don’t be surprised if you are hired on a graduate scheme along with undergraduates. While humanities and social science researchers are valued for their ability to be generalists rather than the specialists needed for, for example, healthcare consultancy (Georgie), you have to be aware that it is a numerate discipline (Elinor): practice your mental arithmetic before all interviews!

5) Try, try, and try again

Applications will be unlikely to be successful first time around. One of our panel applied to 30 firms and had one interview. Find a list of firms, come to events to meet with them, tailor your applications and get help from Careers & Employability.

If you would like to attend one of King’s Careers “Beyond Academia” panels, check out the list of future panels here.

The next event looks at moving beyond academia into Pharma Research and takes place on the 8th of November. To book this, or any other panel, click here. Continue reading

Study and research abroad with the Global Research Grant

The Centre for Doctoral Studies and King’s Worldwide are very pleased to announce a call for proposals for the 2017-2018 Global Research Grant.  

This opportunity will provide financial support of up to £2000 to postgraduate research students to undertake a short period of research that also helps to sustain and develop King’s partnerships with international university partners.

Click here to discover the latest events from King's Worldwide and Global Mobility

Click here to discover the latest events from King’s Worldwide and Global Mobility


Applications to this grant must demonstrate how the proposed visit and research aligns with one (or more) of the four global themes, as described in the fourth strand of the King’s International Strategy.

1. Defence and Security

2. Global Health

3. Sustainable Cities

4. Culture & Identity

Priority will be given to projects that help deliver the College’s interdisciplinary themes of global significance.

How to apply

To apply for the Global Research Grant, you will need to download and complete the application form at this link. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, but will be assessed at the following points in the year:

  • 17th November 2017
  • 26th January 2018
  • 20th April 2018

For full details on the Grant, the application process, and eligibility requirements, go to the King’s Worldwide webpages. All queries should be directed to the Global Mobility Team.

Please note, this funding is not available to support attendance at conferences, for which the Centre for Doctoral Studies offers a separate Conference Fund. Click here for full details on conference funding and how to apply.


Post-PhD Careers Case Study: Dr Enrico Fantoni

King’s PhD graduate, Dr Enrico Fantoni

Enrico was a PhD research at King’s 2013-16, working on nuclear brain imaging of inflammation. While at King’s, he undertook several different projects to help him find out more about possible career directions, including time spent in the King’s IP and Licensing team as well as a project with student-led Oxbridge Biotech Roundtable.

Enrico networked his way to a new role within GE Healthcare and was kind enough to tell us more about his role and his career journey below.

  1. Tell us about your new role and the company you are working for?

I work as a Medical Affairs Associate at GE Healthcare. I directly report to the medical director and am responsible for supporting the company marketing strategy with key clinical studies. One study I am working on is a meta-analysis; another a small observational clinical study; and a third is a large international multicentre clinical trial of which I am the lead project manager after only one year at the company.

  1. What do you do day to day?

Of course each day is fairly varied. I write publications and analyse data; I attend conferences where I liaise with ‘Key Opinion Leaders’ and advocacy. There is project management, and interdepartmental liaison. I support the commercial and health economics departments with medical and scientific queries.

  1.  What’s different or similar to your PhD?

Mainly it’s pretty similar. In addition to all the science I learned during my PhD, there’s data analysis, interdisciplinarity, personal management, independence, presentations, and perseverance.  I use my scientific acumen all the time.

  1. Do you have any tips for any other PhDs?

Use LinkedIn! Don’t be shy, keep contacting people whose roles you’re interested in. Exploit your network. Read emails from groups such as Cheeky Scientist. Join LinkedIn groups. Attend webinars. Understand the role you’re interested in well before going to interviews.

Find out more here about different career directions, and support available at King’s.

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