WEST Wisdom Blog

The STEM-Business Fusion: How to Turbo-Boost Your Career

Posted by Diana K. Anderson on Nov 22, 2019 1:49:44 PM
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lightbulb-lightening-israel-palacio-ImcUkZ72oUs-unsplashThe days of spending your entire career at one organization, or on a linear career path are long gone. We can’t all be doctor-astronaut-business leaders like Dr. Mae Jemison. But you can leverage your STEM and industry expertise to make the leap from a linear career. Hop the single-track and explore the multi-faceted web of STEM enterprise. You’ve probably already been building the net unconsciously. 

Considering transitioning from technical to business? Let's explore in terms of infographics from Harvard Business Review (HBR) and recent WEST blog posts.


The technical expertise that may have gotten you the role, may not translate.

5 Essential Management Skills www.hbr.org-mgmt-4-rookies-slide-deck-slide-33-VL160524_ADThe transition from a STEM/technical role to business is similar to, and often coupled with, the transition from individual contributor to manager. Software engineer Richard Laskey spoke to WEST about his insights on the transition from technical expert to manager. This isn’t just a STEM thing though. It’s an enterprise thing. Check out Harvard Business Review’s take on the most important skills for rookie managers. Whether moving from technical to business and/or individual contributor to manager, soft skills are universal requirements. 


The STEM-Business leap is often diagonal, but may also land you in a new industry. 

Recruiters often specialize in specific industries or types of roles. One of the most popular methods for identifying well-qualified talent is to seek experts from different industries. This is also why your network may be more important than your resume

You’re a technical expert, but just got into learning the business side on the side? Listen up. This is for you. And all the better if you’re ready to step up to your learning game via an MBA, e-learning and/or a mentor. 

Many successful business leaders cite lifelong learning that extends beyond their professional domain as a key factor in their success. There are crucial nuances to that statement: 

1—The journey is the lesson.

2—Be open, but don’t wander aimlessly. Focus your learning on a general direction, but not a fixed final destination.

3—Your direction is fluid, like your mindset. Treat the map-reading like dental cleanings. Don’t wait for a toothache, do it at least once every six months.

Read more here about ensuring that every decision, big and small, serves your vision, your values system, your now and your future.

Investment managers and venture capitalists evaluate opportunities based on in-depth analytics. As technology drives the evolution of most industries, investors increasingly rely on subject matter experts (SMEs) for comprehensive analytics that bridge the technical and economic dimensions. The combination of a STEM background and the ability to translate your evaluation into informative analytics and business speak is flipping the demand curve. And the peak of that skillset’s demand flipped demand curve, if there is one, is nowhere in sight.

This HBR infographic shows how many industries jumpstart innovation and R&D with fresh external perspectives. Furthermore, many STEM careers have universal applications. For example, statisticians—from astrophysicists to immunologists—can pretty much find work in any medium to large enterprise, regardless of industry. After all, who’s not using data science these days?Hunting for Expertise www.hbr.org-expertise-shifted-VL150620_AD


And, yes, we’re back onto EQ as the universal key to advancement

Surprise, surprise. Here we are again. WEST keeps coming at you about EQ for a reason. Emotional intelligence is the recognized indicator of leadership success—in any field that has leaders. Everywhere. From the boardroom to the soccer pitch to the Thanksgiving dinner table. Have EQ. Will advance. In life as well as profession. ‘Nuff said.EQ at Work www.hbr.org-eq-at-work-VL040101_AD

Want to learn more from people like you who have made the STEM-business leap? 

Join us at the next WESTevent, the third installment of WEST’s Career Possibilities Series. This panel discussion will explore opportunities for STEM folks in business development, alliance management, innovation, and licensing. 


Click here for more information about the third session of WEST’s Career Possibilities panel discussion and speed networking series: Business Development, Alliance Management, Innovation, and Licensing.


Click here to learn more about all the upcoming WESTevents. 

Topics: Transitions, Career, Women in STEM, Career Path, Emotional Intelligence, Career Possibilities, Speed Networking, New Opportunities, MBA, #WESTevent, Women in Business, Be Fearless, Be Brave, Venture Capital/VC, Business Development

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