Industry – Career Development Path

The objective of this path is to prepare for a career as a leader in pharmaceutical or medical device industry. As a PhD, there are many intellectually stimulating and rewarding career opportunities beyond traditional academia. These include but are not limited to technical leadership, engineering management, entrepreneurship, strategy and technology consulting, as well as government and private research laboratory positions. Students in this path will learn about various career paths, useful skills, networking opportunities, and placement assistance available through the Weldon School. Students will learn to identify useful skillsets in team management, recognize relationship between engineering design and marketing, understand important aspects of intellectual property and regulatory affairs, and develop opportunities beyond traditional technical and analytical abilities.

Career Development (understanding career options, self-reflections, making use of Individual Development Plans (IDP), networking and job search skills)

  • Complete an initial individual strengths and interest assessment
  • Establish an Individual Development Plan (IDP) – based on strengths, skills, and interest assessments
  • Attend Purdue Career Fairs to identify appropriate industry (pharma, devices, etc.)
  • Learn about various career opportunities in industry (technical path vs. managerial, startup vs. large cap, technical consulting, government/private laboratories, etc.)
  • Discuss with research advisor about potential entrepreneurial (startup) opportunity associated with dissertation or other research topics
  • Identify several companies and industries (pharma, orthopedic, cardiac, neurological, diagnostic) of interest and find ways to interact with these companies
  • Work with faculty advisor or professional development specialist to make a plan / create a timeline to identify unique marketable technical/managerial/leadership skills for various career opportunities.
  • Attend industry networking events hosted by Weldon School or others
  • Take advantage of opportunities to visit industry sites to learn about culture, mission and career possibilities.

Professional Development Skills (teambuilding, time management, oral and written communication, networking, leadership training, and cognitive assessment of leadership, conflict and negotiation skills)

  • Review IDP / Skills Assessment to help focus skills development and leadership training
  • Complete additional coursework that expands the breadth of technical expertise
  • Learn more about FDA regulatory systems with respect to pharmaceutical and device development (e.g., design control, device classification, FDA approval process, etc.)
  • Enroll in at least one of the three courses in the regulatory science series through BME and at least one course for improving communication, leadership and/or negotiation skills
  • Learn more about intellectual properties and patents
  • Participate in Summer Seminar to improve presentation skills (required)
  • Enroll in Krannert’s tech startup course and learn about Lean Launch Pad (NSF I-Corps) or Biomedship course
  • Visit Purdue Foundry to learn more about entrepreneurship opportunities
  • Identify a Foundry mentor and shadow them in discussions with entrepreneurs, small business, etc.
  • Participate in business development plan competitions to learn how to analyze potential market, develop commercialization and reimbursement plans, and perfect elevator pitch to investors
  • Attend local and national conferences and career fairs to network, meet recruiters, and to learn more about individual companies/opportunities.
  • Attend the BME senior design presentations at the end of the semester in the Weldon School
  • Condense CV into 2-page resume highlighting marketable skills and accomplishments
  • Establish a path record of disclosure submission related to your doctoral research
  • Establish and maintain LinkedIn profile and other social media profiles pertinent to an industry career
  • Understand the applied and practical need for research
  • Have a working knowledge of sales
  • Learn to put more emphasis on results as industry is result-driven
  • Find opportunities to interact with customers be it a patient, surgeon etc.  Industry is customer focused and having experience with customer is helpful.
  • Start thinking of ways to transfer your skill set from one area of research potentially to another area of research

Experiential Learning (brief intensive experiences with partners either inside or outside of the University.  Seminar Series, Entrepreneurial workshops)

  • Travel to at least 4 conferences during years 2-4 of doctoral training to present your research, connect with industry sponsors, and identify trends in the industry
  • Utilize opportunities for professional development by participating in events planned by Grad Programs staff to visit various companies, research laboratories, and to hear guest presenters brought in for workshops
  • Attend seminars related to non-academic industry careers
  • Consult with academic advisors to give a presentation for  industry collaborators if opportunity is available
  • Identify and connect with Purdue alums at various companies, institution, and laboratories of interest
  • Consider participating in an internship if time allows


  • Become a project lead so that you can mentor other students and demonstrate leadership skills either in your lab or other area of interest.
  • Connect with alumni and distinguished guests at Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering for mentors into fields you are interested in.

Placement Assistance

  • Consult with your academic advisor to identify potential industry contacts related to your research area for potential opportunities
  • Consult with faculty mentors and Graduate Programs Office staff for review of resume/CV
  • Utilize the placement services of national societies through conferences and online searching
  • Practice interview with career development resources
  • Connect with Purdue alumni for potential career opportunities

Career Resources