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Seminar "From Academia to Industry: Smoother Transition" by Yashar Mehdad

Event date: 
Friday, 25 November, 2016 - 15:00 to 16:00
Aula 102, North Building, FBK
Yashar Mehdad - Lead NLP Scientist @ AirBnB

About the speaker:
Yashar Mehdad carried out his PhD research on Natural Language Processing in FBK’s HLT Unit, and got his PhD from the University of Trento in 2011. After a short period at FBK, he then moved overseas where he spent more than two years in the Computer Science Department of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Following this academic experience, he moved to the IT industry in Silicon Valley, first for a two-year experience as research manager at Yahoo, then for a senior machine learning and NLP scientist at Airbnb, where he currently works.


Being in graduate school, it seems likely that the most appealing option is to remain in the academic tower. It’s reasonable to see why — the environment you are surrounded with encourages you to follow this career path. However, taking a glance at the Ph.D. labor market proves that the number of PhD graduates annually highly exceeds the number of positions available. In this interactive talk, I first convince you that academia is not the only choice to pursue your career path and brief you on some very interesting research projects in the high-tech industry. Then, I discuss the skills (both hard and soft) that candidates need to gain and improve in order to have a smooth transition from academia to industry, followed by specific pieces of advice for those looking to move into the faster-paced world of Silicon Valley, from big companies to startups