FoodGrads Podcast Episode 69: Differences between Academia and Industry and transferring your graduate skills with Sripad Josei, PhD. Operations Manager at Arda Inc.

On episode 69 of the FoodGrads we interviewed Sripad Josei, Ph.D, Operations Manager at Ardra Inc. Arda Inc is harnessing the power of engineering biology to solve pressing problems in the sustainable supply of natural ingredients. They use designer biochemical pathways to produce high-value ingredients for cosmetics, beverage and pharmaceuticals industries using renewable sugars.

On this episode Sripad shared with Veronica what he does at Arda Inc. and how they use fermentation to create tailored molecules. Sripad shared with us his PhD journey coming from India to Canada and completing his PhD at McGill University and finding a job after his internship after his PhD. They spent a lot of time focusing on what it is like doing a PhD and how just because you are at “school” it doesn’t mean that it is just like school no it’s actually a lot closer to the working world. Sripad explained to us how you take those skills market yourself and show that your PhD is an asset. As well, that finding a job is sometimes about going back to the basics – networking and cold-emailing!

If you are a student who is graduating soon with a post-graduate degree such as a master’s or PhD then you need to listen to this episode. Sripad speaks so eloquently about how a PhD is more “then” school but a job so if you want to learn more about what a PhD is like, how you can market yourself, or ways to break free from academia then you need to check out this episode!

Show Notes

Arda Inc.

Sripad Josei, Ph.D LinkedIn

Ivey Business School


[2:31] Sripad introduces himself and what he does at Arda Inc.

[3:55] What precision fermentation is

[8:07] Sripad’s Ph.D. Dissertation and what it focused on

[10:36] Sripad’s experience with the Ivy Business School in Western Ontario

[14:02] The benefits of cold emailing

[18:19] Why your Ph.D. is more like “work” rather then “school”

[22:16] Skills you learn in your Ph.D. that are transferable to the workplace

[37:22] Should take an entry-level role out of your Ph.D.

[44:00] Differences in managing your time in academia vs industry

[48:17] Sripad’s advice for new graduates of graduate programs

Sripad Josei, Ph.D. Quotes

[On how he got his current position] That’s how I got there, just cold emailing and trying to see if there is any opportunity … It wasn’t really an opportunity advertised or something like that. It was fully emailing and I think that it’s something that helps sometimes. Maybe you don’t see an opportunity advertised somewhere but people can create one if they feel you are interested in something or to do a certain role.

Sripad Josei, Ph.D.

But a Ph.D., a lot of people consider this as education and not just work experience but in my opinion it is very close to working in a full-time shop especially with Ph.D. because you do a lot of things you can put up in you resume like managing students interns or managing new graduate students.

Sripad Josei, Ph.D.

But when you’re talking to someone in industry they would not understand the value of a publication in a sense. Some people may but across the board a lot of people who are trying to hire you may not really see the value as much as you do. So you have to offer them what they value the most and they value training. The value of supervising, managing people.

Sripad Josei, Ph.D.

It’s not just one project. It’s managing different aspects and trying to progress through trying to manage a lot of people – your collaborators, maybe your supervisor, your advisory committee and lots of different people. Lots of different variables. Lots of different projects.

Sripad Josei, Ph.D.

A holistic approach to a problem is very important when it comes to industry or solving problems in industry rather than academia. Academia we have lots of ways to work around it. We have time, we can try different things but that’s not how industry thinks. In industry the resources are limited and your time is limited and you money is limited. You have to think strategically and find one solution to a problem.

Sripad Josei, Ph.D.

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