The most renowned professional event specific to undergraduate Biomedical Engineering students at USC is the annual Corporate Dinner hosted by the Associated Students of Biomedical Engineering Students (ASBME). This is an ideal opportunity for students interested in the biomedical industry (regardless of major) to meet and network with ASBME’s industry partners in Southern California. Companies in attendance this year included Abbott, Edwards Lifesciences, Medtronic, Biotronik, and Applied Medical just to name a few. There were just over 100 students in attendance, ranging in class standing from freshmen to seniors, all eager to listen, learn, and network to make the most of a night filled with opportunity.
Each year, the event is hosted at the Radisson, a hotel adjacent to the University’s campus. The evening commenced with a keynote presented by two Edwards Lifesciences representatives – Steve Backer and Pooja Sharma, both proud USC alums. They shared their stories and career paths, justifying the reasoning behind the decisions they each made to get them to where they are today – in Senior Director positions for a biomedical company that strives to better the lives of others. Within the spacious ballroom, there were around 15 tables with 8 individuals at each table – 2 company representatives and 6 students. We had the privilege of asking questions such as:
“What’s the most challenging part of your job? What do you enjoy most about your company’s culture? How did you end up in your position? What do you aspire to accomplish in the next few years? What type of experience do I need in order to be a competitive candidate?”
After the dinner portion of the event ended, we were all able to mingle with the representatives in attendance in an open networking session. I had an opportunity to chat with Steve and I learned a lot from his experience. As someone who is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Engineering Management, I was curious to hear how he was able to guide his career towards a project management position and what methods he used to empower and motivate teams to reach their full potential. He made me aware of opportunities that I didn’t even know existed.
This was the second corporate dinner I’ve attended while at USC. After each one of these networking events, I have made meaningful connections with people who I may have the privilege of collaborating with in the near future. In addition, I have attained a better sense of the various that possibilities await me after graduation and I get excited to jump into the real world and have a big, positive impact on the lives of others!