As a junior, one of my primary goals this semester was to secure an internship opportunity within the medical device industry so I could personally experience what the day to day life of a biomedical engineer entails. And I’m fortunate to say that I was able to achieve it- I’ll be an Operations Intern at Abbott Laboratories, a global healthcare company that conducts innovative research and manufactures products for human health.
During my past summer, I was able to secure an opportunity to study abroad in Rome, Italy (I wrote about it! Check it out!). Therefore, I didn’t need to invest myself heavily in last year’s recruitment cycle. This year, I knew that landing an internship would require a lot of focus and determination.
I’ve got to be honest. The opportunity was not handed to me. I put in hours of work – going to info sessions, corporate dinners, and career fairs, as well as researching my companies of interest and talking to former interns. The beauty of it all is that USC has this plethora of resources in place to connect its talented student body to the best companies across the world. Here’s how I was able to utilize them.
- Viterbi Career Fair – It’s bigger than the campus wide Career Fair! It allows Viterbi undergrads who are interested in internships, co-ops, and full time positions to regularly network with employers. I visited my top 5 BME companies. I had my resume in hand, asked specific questions tailored towards each company, and tried to give my best elevator pitch! If you’re interested in what exactly an interaction with a recruiter entails, check out the video that Michael made here!
- VINE – This is an event exclusively for juniors and seniors who are looking for a summer job or internship. It brings together Viterbi students to meet employers and Viterbi Alumni the evening after the Career Fair. After talking to my top 5 companies at the Viterbi Career Fair, I singled out my favorite company and engaged in an hour long conversation with the recruiters at this event. Later that night, I received a call from them offering an interview, which I gladly accepted.
- Viterbi Student Alumni Mentoring Program (VSAMP) – This program offers undergraduate sophomores and juniors the opportunity to develop a mentoring relationship with an alumnus. Mentors share their educational and professional experiences to help students achieve greater academic and career pursuits. I was enrolled in the program last year and I’m currently enrolled once more this year. I was able to hear about their experience as USC students and their transition to the industry. I still keep in touch with my mentor from last year.
- Info Sessions – The Associated Students of Biomedical Engineering, a student organization I’m involved in hosts biomedical engineering company info sessions each semester. Past companies showcased include Edwards Lifesciences, Medtronic, Biotronik, and Abbott. This is a great opportunity to get to know employees and learn about the respective cultures of each company as well as the projects they are focused on building. By consistently attending info sessions, recruiters are more likely to remember your face at later stages in the recruitment process.
- Trojan Family – I’ve been fortunate enough to meet upperclassmen who ended up interning for some of the companies that I became interested in during my first two years at USC. I’ve learned from their experiences and have gotten a better understanding of what working at a BME company means. In addition, they’ve offered me guidance on how to be authentic and successful at career fairs and in interviews. Now I look to offer that same sort of wisdom to the freshman I mentor as part of the Engineering Freshman Academy (read about it here).
As a side note, USC also hosts career opportunities for those who are interested in entrepreneurship and working for startups. I was personally responsible for leading the team that coordinated the Startup Career Fair, an event that brings over 20 LA startups on campus each semester to give 1000+ attendees the opportunity to network with startup representatives and potentially secure interviews and jobs. Learn more about my experience by reading my blog here!