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How I went from PHD to Entrepreneur

Primary Blog/PTO Coaching/How I went from PHD to Entrepreneur

PTO Coaching

From Passionate Researcher to Successful Entrepreneur: Unveiling My Journey from PhD to Building a Thriving Business


Academics: From 23 years of education to a PhD at Stanford.
Career Shift: Consulting firms bridge academia to real-world problem-solving.
Non-Linear Thinking: Clash in strategy consulting, pivot to data science success.
Impactful Transformation: Revamped marketing model, transformed product operations, now collaborates with small businesses.

Hello Everyone, welcome to the blog! Today, I'm excited to share my origin story and how I found my passion for solving real-world problems. Join me on this journey from academia to consulting and ultimately to making a meaningful impact in the business world.

1. The Academic Odyssey
Before we dive into the details, let me take you back to my 23 years of schooling. From primary school to earning a PhD from Stanford in Applied Physics, my academic journey was extensive. However, upon completing my education, I found myself at a crossroads, unsure of what lay ahead.

2. A New Perspective
In 2013, a pivotal moment occurred during a class on Building Innovative Brands at Stanford. The question of defining my brand sparked a journey of self-discovery. Through a questionnaire sent to my closest friends, I unearthed key attributes – Determined, Diligent, Committed, Confident, Honest, and a Sense of humor.

3. The Epiphany
Inspired by the class and the encouraging words of my friends, I realized my calling: to solve real-world problems. Two years before completing grad school, I set my sights on a job as a Problem Solver, applying scientific logic and technical skill to address global challenges.

4. Navigating the Business Landscape
Despite the epiphany, I faced a challenge – how to translate my desire into a tangible career. Consulting firms emerged as a solution, providing the opportunity to work on diverse projects for tech giants in Silicon Valley and later as a management consultant for a prestigious firm.

5. Confronting Obstacles
Amidst the highs of working on Fortune 500 projects, I encountered a hurdle. My non-linear thinking clashed with the fast-paced nature of strategy consulting. A particular analytics problem became a turning point, highlighting my unique approach and leading to my departure from the coveted case.

6. Overcoming Challenges
Embracing my non-linear thinking, I transitioned to a senior data scientist role. Leveraging lessons from consulting, experimental physics, and my love for elegant solutions, I revamped a marketing attribution model, generating $820K in the first months. This marked the beginning of transforming not just problems but entire business operations.

7. The Benefits of Non-Linear Thinking
My journey extended beyond fixing marketing attribution. I revolutionized product operations for a large tech company and now collaborate with small businesses, bringing top-tier strategy, operations, and analytics to their doorstep. Through it all, I attribute my success to the grace of God and a unique blend of skills.

I'm Crystal Bray, and I'm excited to continue this conversation with you. Stay tuned for more stories of transformation and problem-solving. See you soon!

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Hi, I Am Crystal Bray, PhD

CEO Of PTO Partners

We are thrilled to have you join our vibrant community of forward-thinking professionals in the fields of Operations and Analytics. At PTO Coaching, we believe in the power of knowledge, innovation, and collaboration, and we're excited to embark on a journey of growth and transformation with you!

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