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Cornell University

Flexible. Experiential. Empowering.

Our Vision is to help you fall in love with your future career

Our Mission is to give PhD students and postdocs the chance to test-drive specific aspects of various careers through flexible, experiential, empowering opportunities.

Pictured above: Experienced BESTies are invited to participate on an Advisory Board to plan activities and events and to help guide the program.

Cornell BEST helps PhD students and postdoctoral scholars make the most informed decisions possible about their career paths after Cornell.  For some, this means being even more confident that a career in academia is for them.  Others will decide to use their expertise in careers outside of academic research settings.  All PhD students and postdocs can benefit from becoming BESTies, as program trainees are called.

The BEST program is facilitative in nature rather than being prescriptive about what participants must do to complete it.  Our vision is to help PhD students and postdocs fall in love with their future careers.  It achieves this vision through flexibility, empowerment, and individualized service.  Successful participation results in BESTies who are more confident about and better prepared to pursue a career path of their choice.


JOIN :  Fill out our BEST Fellowship form to participate in unique mentorship opportunities and join our email list to learn more about events relevant to you.

EXPLORE : Check out our resource pages for more information on careers in policy, industry, communication, or governance.

LEARN MORE : Learn more about us by visiting our FAQ pages. Faculty may be especially interested in reading our faculty FAQ.


Looking for more? BEST collaborates with many existing services on campus: Career Services, the Graduate School, the Office of Postdoctoral Studies, the Office of Inclusion and Professional Development, Entrepreneurship@Cornell, Center for Materials Research Industrial Partnerships, and more…

Program elements: see program and FAQ pages

Participate on two levels: to learn about career pathways, or with a more in-depth experience

  • opportunity pathways
  • tangible skills
  • experiences to add to your resume
  • a flexible program
  • mentoring
  • metrics for success
  • a nationwide consortium sharing best practices, funded by the National Institutes of Health

Continuing in academic research? Many of the skills you will acquire in the BEST program will also help you in an academic career of your choice. 

Interested in teaching? Cornell has excellent resources for supporting your goals through the CU-CIRTL (Cornell's Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning), and the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE).


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