Leveraging the Scientific Mindset in the Business World
Business is a growing career path for many science PhDs, who are now presented with an array of opportunities to work in management, consulting, finance, venture capital, equity research, and entrepreneurship. The PhD is highly valued in the business world; nevertheless, it may not be entirely clear why a background in scientific research is suited for a career in the for-profit arena, the differences a PhD can expect to face in heading outside the academic environment, and how to break into the field without pursuing an additional advanced degree.
To assist PhDs thinking about a future in business, Paul Tumpowsky, chairman of the board of InSITE and CEO of Square Zero, spoke at the Academy on May 13, 2010, at the Science Alliance event "Leveraging the Scientific Mindset in the Business World". Paul discussed the challenges, risks, and blessings of having an academic research background when transitioning into business. He also covered ways scientists can leverage this perspective to successfully navigate this new environment and produce positive results.
Paul ended his talk by introducing InSITE, a NYC-based entrepreneurship fellowship program as a potential vehicle for a limited number of graduate students to gain hands-on business experience and training. Following the discussion several current members of InSITE's student leadership, alumni of the group, and Board members were in attendance to meet and network with Science Alliance participants.
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Paul Tumpowsky is the CEO of Square Zero, a development stage company building a platform designed to achieve real-time data processing and analytic capabilities for today's large-scale data challenges.
Prior to Square Zero, Tumpowsky was a principal with Metropolis Venture Partners in New York. Tumpowsky sourced deal flow, evaluated business plans, conducted due diligence and interviewed companies for early-stage venture fund focused on investing between $1–$10 million per transaction in the telecommunications, networking, wireless and enterprise software markets. As part of his responsibilities, Tumpowsky was the founding chief of staff of an optical networking hardware firm and operated a commodity metals trading software firm as CEO through multimillion-dollar Chapter 7 involuntary bankruptcy and wind down.
Prior to business school, Tumpowsky spent over four years at Andersen Consulting, where he specialized in acquisition advisory, custom database design and development, and logistics strategy. Tumpowsky is the chairman of the Board of the InSITE Fellowship program in New York and has led the early-stage selection committee for NYNMA's VentureDowntown conference.
Tumpowsky received his MBA from Columbia Business School, where he concentrated on finance and entrepreneurship, a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois and has studied at the Shibaura Institute of Technology in Tokyo.