Luc Van Nerom
Luc Van Nerom
Technical Director, PSI Metals

Obvious relationship with doctors

“PSI Metals is a software company that develops applications which support the global metal industry. In Brussels, PSI Metals employs 30 people and another 220 overseas. About 20% of our R&D staff have a PhD. As a company we have a very obvious and natural relationship with doctoral students. Because we employ many, and they are often involved in scientific research, we have a lot of good contacts with the universities. The researchers and research leaders of the projects we are involved in are often PhD students or post-doctoral researchers. The universities form our main source of recruitment, especially students with Master’s and PhD degrees.

“At PSI Metals we develop our own products. This requires research, and that research requires guidance. The doctors we employ usually grow into leadership roles, positions at the management level of the company. But not immediately. We recruit young people and everyone starts at the same level. We teach new employees about the company so they know all of its branches. Doctors often naturally have a better feeling for the scientific world.

Enlarge your horizon

We have had very good experiences with doctoral students, but: not everything that glitters is gold... PhD holders sometimes have a limited field of vision. I would recommend doctoral students to look beyond the limited horizon of their own specialisation. For example, there are few places in the business world for people who refuse to turn their hand to tasks other than pure research. An interest in the organisation, and also in marketing and sales, is a necessity. So feel free to go deeply into your specialisation and academic development during your doctoral project. But make sure you keep an open mind, and don’t just look for a job within the field of your specialisation, be open to other things.”