Co-authored with Neha Bora; Edited by Dr. Karoline Pershell.

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(Image source: It’s Time We Bury The Idea Of A “Good Career Trajectory” (

This post is a collection of takeaways from a webinar on ‘ Normalizing Unconventional Careers’ by Dr. Karoline Pershell. Karoline holds a PhD in mathematics with expertise in theoretical systems, statistical modelling, and data analytics. She is presently the Chief Operating Officer at Service Robotics and Technologies (SRT).

With years of experience traversing academia, government, and commercial enterprises, Karoline enjoys sharing her story, insights and struggles to help students and professionals make their career transitions easier. In her own words:

We are raised and trained by our PhD or master’s advisors who are in a certain type of career position and unknowingly groom us to reach similar positions. This inherited value system of what matters in math had unjustifiably narrowed my perceived career paths and distorted my own measures of success. The result was that I consistently undervalued my worth and abilities outside of research mathematics early in my career. My own unconventional career emphasizes that careers don’t have to be trajectories, that there is no single “right” starting place, and that one can be a mathematician across academia, government, business, industry and the nonprofit sector. …

Kshiti Mishra

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