I am a first year PhD student in an interdisciplinary STEM subfield, in a UK-style program (so 3 or 4 years long). I have been offered a 12-week internship in a biotech startup working in a similar subfield as me. My university allows graduate students to pause their PhD in order to take internships in industry (with the support of the PhD supervisors, the Degree Committee, etc). I am not sure if I should take this offer, I list below some of my main considerations/thoughts.
I understand that this choice depends on personal reasons and is only mine, but I would like advice of the form "you shouldn't be worried about X point because of Y" or "have you considered the impact this would have on Z?".
- My supervisor said to assume that the internship wouldn't be directly helpful for my PhD (and I agree, it would however give me a good general background of the relevant subfield of biology, which I currently lack because my background is in maths/physics), but that is as much info as advice as I could get -my PhD supervisor seems to be exceptionally busy recently.
- I want to stay in academia
- I have done an industry in the past and I didn't enjoy it, but it was in finance
- I am enjoying my PhD
- I would potentially be "out-of-phase" with respect to the other grad students, and this might be a problem when applying to postdocs if they start with the academic year (I would be three months behind)
- I can still think about my PhD research questions while on the internship and do some reading, so I'd be buying a bit of extra time before my PhD submission deadline
- I don't do experiments so no problem with leaving them halfway
- I might lose momentum in my PhD
- It might look negatively in my CV that I did this when applying to postdocs (since most academics seem to look down on industry)
- The startup is based in the same city as my university, so I wouldn't have to move temporarilly, and could potentially interact with my research group