It is my personal belief that a good scientist is more than just his own set of skills/proficiencies in laboratory techniques and applications. It is in fact, the amalgamation of several measures, both tangible and intangible traits that often define the “standard” of an outstanding scientist. With this brings me to one of the many such measures e.g. building professional network connections.
How do I go about doing this?
Well, my answer is to participate in social events. Imperial often hosts a whole list of events at its campuses throughout the academic year and one event that I had attended in the past week was the Imperial Postgraduate Open Evening held at the Hammersmith Campus.
Essentially, it was an evening where myself and peers from other courses were given the opportunity to mingle with prospective students who were interested in undertaking a MSc/MRes at the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial following brief sessions by academics involved in the degrees giving their take on their offered degree.
Personally speaking, it was both refreshing and interesting to participate in this since I was in their shoes last year round about this time as well, wondering if and how this postgraduate course would impact my subsequent career path and future. But more importantly, it was the interactions with other senior academics beyond my degree during the networking time that were truly inspiring and motivating. Of course, the benefits are not strictly tangible per se, since ideas/improvements on concepts can’t exactly be measured in monetary values in the current age. But who is to say that these academics may not be potential collaborators in the future, which may have a positive outcome on the academic future?
Again, I must disclaim that I am not a socialite but I do see the positive benefits of networking and building professional connections in the thriving and dynamic environment of research and I would most certainly do my best to attend such events in the future. (Besides, who can resist the temptations of catered food and drinks?!)
and if possible, may I urge more to do so to leave your comfort zone and see what the broader world has to offer!