Cracking the code of success: How a physics PhD can boost your business career

Dr Ramin Rafiei

Written by Tabitha Carvan

When you ask Dr Ramin Rafiei where his home is, he laughs, and answers with something that looks like code:

0.1 SYD 0.4 TPE 0.2 STH 0.3 WW

Which seems perfectly appropriate for Ramin, who is both a data-loving physicist and a successful business executive with a global footprint.

“I’m based all over the world,” he explains. “So it’s the ratio of my time spent in Sydney, Taipei, Stockholm, and worldwide. They’re all home.”

Ramin is Director of Technology for Scandinavian Health, a global medical devices company. And as he travels around the world meeting healthcare executives, entrepreneurs and academics, he says, there’s always one constant.

“I always wear the ANU alumni pin on my suits.”

“The response to it is always wow. You went to ANU - wow! You did a PhD there in nuclear physics – wow wow wow!”

For Ramin, ANU is not just a way to make a great first impression on potential customers and partners, it is also where he spent what he calls “literally the best years of my life.”

“I have held academic positions at a number of universities, and visited many of the top universities all over the world, however I have never come across another research school that looks after its students with personalised learning like they do at the ANU Research School of Physics and Engineering.

“I’ve built lifelong friends and keep in touch with everyone there. Actually I was lucky to recently welcome a PhD colleague of mine from ANU to head up our Advanced Analytics programs at Scandinavian Health.”

Ramin describes his job as shaping global investment in the healthcare industry and across its entire value-chain, while ensuring the patient is squarely in the centre of that picture. While this might seem a long way from a PhD in nuclear physics, he says he couldn’t do his job without that educational experience.

“I understand the science, so I understand my industry at a deep level, and this allows me to make good decisions.

“From the laboratories to the boardrooms, this advanced technical knowledge combined with PhD-level execution is a winning combination.”

And his advice to anyone questioning the value of a PhD outside of an academic career: “Be a nerd!”

“I always knew that if I wanted to build a career which is both prosperous and fulfilling, I needed to have a solid education. I wasn’t a believer in business degrees, as business is best learnt by doing business, skills which can be developed at any stage in life.

“If you want to be a leader in today’s technology-driven world, you’re already ahead with an advanced science degree.”

Find out more about building your career with a PhD in physics at ANU.