ProSky, Training Courses, Projectships, Career Advancement, Internships
SKILLS DEVELOPMENT / 14 December 2016
A ProSky Success Story: With Elodie Gazave
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Stefano Ganddini

Last week we shared an interview with Ivy Au, a student at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and former ProSky student. Ivy went through ProSky’s Social Media Marketing training and subsequently completed one of our Social Media Marketing projectships. You can read all about her experience here

This week, I’m excited to share the story of Elodie Gazave, a postdoctoral researcher at Cornell University who went through ProSky’s Market Research training and projectship. Coming from a background in academia, Elodie went into the training with some skepticism, but came out of it with more than she ever could have imagined. Check out the full interview below!

1. Tell me a little bit about yourself (name, age/grade, school, major).

My name is Elodie Gazave. I got my Ph.D. in Montpellier, France in 2003, working on genetics. More precisely, I was interested in understanding how changes in the DNA sequence affect animals and human (the individual variations in the physical aspect, health, disease risk etc). 

After I graduated, I went to do a postdoc in Scotland for a little more than a year, and then I went to Spain where I was a postdoctoral researcher for 6 years. Then I moved to Cornell, for another postdoc on human genetics and disease risk. Most of my work involves analyzing very large dataset of DNA sequences with a computer. Using programming and statistic tools, I process raw data and extract meaningful patterns from them. Sometimes, 10 Terabytes of data will end up in one little graph… that says it all! 

In non-academic terms, I am a data scientist specialized in genetics.

2. Before signing up for ProSky, what were some of the challenges you were facing trying to learn about market research/market strategy on your own?

Before ProSky, I was not especially trying to learn market research or market strategy. Mainly because I thought I could never do that! I knew I enjoyed strategic thinking, I knew I had good intuitions for marketing ideas and products (based on small summer job I had). I wanted to try ProSky just as a side experience, thinking that “at the very least, I will get something out of the experience”. It turned out that the learning experience went above and beyond all my expectations!

3. Why did you decide to sign up for ProSky?

I signed up for ProSky because I wanted to make a serious career change, but I felt the expertise I have acquired in my academic experience was disconnected from the skills needed on the non-academic job market. I wanted to see if I could acquire new, marketable skills with ProSky.

4. In what ways did ProSky help you and what did you enjoy the most?

ProSky was amazing in so many ways. ProSky gave me: 

1) real-life skills 

2) a leadership experience outside the lab

3) contacts and connections

4) hope and self-confidence that I could find a really cool job. 

After the training, I got job interviews for positions where I could really see myself. I chose not to take these offers for personal reasons, but I had really good and serious offers. One of these companies contacted me again 6 months after the interview to ask me if I had changed my mind and would like to reconsider my decision and come work for them. In all cases, people valued my business acumen. This is something that would NEVER have happened before ProSky. What I enjoyed the most during my ProSky training was that I could follow the training in parallel to keeping my full-time job and my everyday life at home. I enjoyed the flexibility. I enjoyed the fact that I did not have to travel 6 weeks to the other side of the country to get this experience (something I could not have done otherwise).

5. How does it feel to have gained hands-on experience working on a real project?

It was very stimulating to know that you are doing something real, it’s neither theoretical nor hypothetical. I could imagine what it would be to have the job and evaluate whether I would like it. Sometimes you have wrong expectations about a particular kind of job, and you never know how it is before you really try. So the hands-on part is really nice. 

Most importantly, hands-on training is also what gave me a lot of confidence. If you think of it, there are very few professional opportunities to try something completely different, knowing it’s not completely for real so there is less stress to fail, but real enough so you can see if you would actually be able to do the job. I’ve seen a lot of talks and seminars about how to make a successful career change. But theory is not as valuable as practice. It’s one thing when you want to try something new and people tell you: “you can do it”. It’s quite another thing when you actually have the opportunity --through ProSky, for example-- to try it and be able to say: “Oh, I did it.” That’s an amazing feeling.

6. Would you participate in another ProSky training/project? Why or why not?

I may. It really depends on the training offered, the partner company and the particular skill set the training focuses on. I may apply for a program that really talks to me. 

7. Would you recommend your peers or others to participate in ProSky training/projects?

I recommend ProSky all the time! They have an amazing, dynamic and very dedicated team, perfectly aligned to both the trainees’ needs and the job market. What else can people ask for?

Ready for your own ProSky experience? Check out our professional training programs or create a free profile to get started on one of our projectships!