Industry Resource Guide

If graduate or medical school isn’t for you, industry may be the way to go. The possibilities are endless! However, applying for your first internship or full-time position can be stressful. Luckily, we have some tips on how to get started as well as testimonials from current and former students detailing their experiences in industry.

Advice for Applying to Internships

1. Use Campus Resources! 

Start with visiting Engineering Career Services (ECS) here! ECS can help with resume and cover letter reviews, mock interviews and career advice. ECS can also help refine Handshake and Linkedin profiles. Applying for internships can seem a bit stressful, but narrowing your interests on Handshake and Linkedin profiles is useful. You may also find available jobs at Research Park! Visit their job board or reach out to employers directly. Sample job postings and other career resources can be found on the Department of Bioengineering Canvas page. Watch out for BMES resume review workshops as well!

2. Go to Career Fair

Career Fair happens twice a year, once in early fall and again in the spring, so mark the dates on your calendar! Use this BMES document as a quick crash course for career fair. Career fair is a great way to network with recruiters from companies that interest you. You should do a bit of research about the companies visiting and jobs you are looking for. Practice your elevator pitch, come with your resume and dress for success. If possible, always apply to positions in advance. It shows that you have a genuine interest in the company and allows you to ask questions that are specific to the role. Some companies also have interviews as soon as the next day so be prepared! Companies typically have a QR code or google form to sign in with at their booth as well. This is the main way students are expedited through the recruitment process.

3. Network

Talk to upperclassmen, alumni, professors and friends. Don’t be afraid to reach out to UIUC alumni or recruiters of companies you are interested in through sites like LinkedIn. Building connections early on can help get your foot in the door for a position later on. You can also consider working at a startup company developed by one of our Illinois Alumni! Check out this site to see what kinds of startups there are and filter your searches. The BMES mentorship program is also a great way to connect with UIUC BIOE alumni about their specific career experiences. They can help you narrow your career path and connect you to hiring managers and recruiters! You can talk to your mentors 2 to 3 times per semester or however often you want. It’s a low commitment program that is super useful!

4. Apply Apply Apply!

Start sending out applications, it never hurts to apply! Be sure to stay organized with applications. It’s a good idea to list out the companies, roles, location, and application deadlines. Don’t be afraid to inquire about application statuses after sending them as well, but be aware that companies may have varying recruiting seasons.

5. Interview

As mentioned previously, refine your interviewing skills by doing mock interviews with ECS, friends or family. Use YouTube or other online resources as interviewing prep. Doing a quick google search of “(insert company name) sample interview questions” may give you an idea of questions to prepare for. Review the STAR interviewing method as well or go to Glassdoor to read about people’s experience interviewing at your company. Lastly, remember to follow up post-interview to thank the recruiter in an email.

Where are Illinois Bioengineers Employed?

According to the Bioengineering Annual Highlights Reports from 2018 to 2021, top destinations for bioengineers in industry include:

  • Abbott
  • AbbVie
  • Eli Lilly & Co.
  • Epic Systems
  • Cook Medical
  • Boston Scientific
  • Baxter International
  • Catalent
  • Jump Simulation
  • Veeva Systems
  • Accenture
  • Genentech
  • Medline Industries
  • National Institutes of Health
  • Sequence, Inc.
  • Texas Instruments

A more extensive list of bioengineering related companies can be found here.

What to Expect at the End of an Internship

As your internship comes to a close you may be wondering, what now? Hopefully by then you will have a clearer sense of what you want your dream job to be. Even if you didn’t enjoy the role you held during your internship, you can still rule out something you aren’t interested in. In the final week of your internship, you should expect to have an intern closeout interview. This interview typically happens with someone from HR and only lasts 20-30 minutes. You will likely be asked how your experience was with the company, any areas of improvement you have for the intern program, any likes or dislikes, etc. This is also the time when a potential return offer may be made. It is important to note that NOT ALL COMPANIES GIVE RETURN OFFERS. Do not expect a return offer to be given regardless of your performance throughout your internship. Companies have various recruiting seasons and the timing of their yearly budget may not align with the end of your work period. If you end up loving the company you work for, be sure to express interest in staying at the company to HR and your managers. It is also common to have one last meeting with your boss and mentor to review your performance. If this meeting is not scheduled, take initiative to schedule it yourself! Feedback is the only way to learn and grow! Lastly, and most importantly, STAY IN TOUCH WITH YOUR MANAGERS. Staying connected to the people you met during your internship is crucial. Be sure to ask for their emails, LinkedIn profiles and phone numbers before you leave. You never know if you may need career advice, a letter of recommendation, or will work with them again!

Internship Testimonials from Current BioE Students

Internships build valuable experience to add to your resume. What internships are available for BIOE’s? How have students landed internships in the past? We’ve compiled testimonials from current students and alumni who describe their experiences surrounding internships–including how they got them, what the experience was like, and advice they have for current BIOE’s who want to be successful in their internship endeavors. If a specific testimonial catches your eye, feel free to reach out via LinkedIn or email to connect and ask more questions!

“I worked for PSYONIC as a Mechatronics Intern full time over the summer as a part of the electrical team working on the Ability Hand. I emailed the CEO, Aadeel, to learn more about the position and receive an offer. I also currently work part time at Abbott as a Logistics and Distribution Analysis Intern at Research Park and my current project is working on creating an excel-based dashboard to combine and analyze shipment transportation data. I got this position by applying on Handshake and went through a couple interviews before receiving an offer. Next summer I will be working for GE Healthcare as a Supply Chain Intern. I don’t have a project yet but I’m excited for the opportunity! I got an offer from GE after interviewing during career fair. In the future, I want to work with medical devices and hopefully go into product development. It can be really discouraging at times when applying to internships and not hearing back from anyone, but stick with it and keep reaching out to people! You never know where/when an opportunity will present itself!”

Anonymous ’23

“I worked at Neurolux as a general intern and I helped with the production side of things. Some of the bigger tasks I did were working with the CNC mill to help develop and refine the fabrication procedure for some of our devices. I also worked out the technical details and logistics behind a potential collaboration with another biotech company. I happened to land the internship by cold-emailing a Northwestern professor for a summer research position, but due to covid he suggested I reach out to one of his start ups. I want to go into medicine in the future, but hopefully I can also find a way to incorporate some engineering into it whatever I end up doing.”

Daniel Kaufman ’23

“Last summer I was a Manufacturing Engineering Intern at ZOLL Medical Corporation in Wisconsin. ZOLL is a medical device company that manufactures a number of products, but my facility primarily produced AEDs and ventilators. I landed the internship after talking with a recruiter at the virtual career fair in the spring. Throughout my internship I worked on 6 different projects focusing on making the AED manufacturing process more efficient. It was a great mix of learning industry documentation practices and getting hands-on experience on the manufacturing floor. I really enjoyed my internship with ZOLL and highly recommend applying. My best piece of advice is to go to career fair and talk to companies. Your chances of getting interviewed are much higher if you get your face in front of a recruiter early. If you are interested in Manufacturing and have more questions about what my internship entailed please feel free to reach out to me at!”

Jackie Hagel ’23

Advice for Applying to Full-Time Jobs

You may be thinking to yourself, ‘I have no clue what a bioengineer in industry actually does’. If this is you, don’t worry! It can be difficult to visualize what your dream job is without having any prior industry exposure. When searching for full time jobs, common entry level bioengineering job titles and roles include:

  • Quality Control/Assurance Engineer
  • Manufacturing Engineer
  • Research and Development Engineer
  • Test Engineer
  • Validation Engineer
  • Design Engineer
  • Entry Level Consultant
  • Scientist

Visit the BME Grad Podcast as another starting point when looking for a job! This is a helpful resource to gain insight and advice on various entry level positions as a Bioengineering graduate.

Having an internship experience prior to applying to full-time jobs is a great way to understand what kinds of roles you may be interested in. Talk to alumni, peers and friends to get a sense of what their day-to-day responsibilities are in their jobs. This will help you narrow your job search. Additionally, previous internship experience can definitely boost your chances of landing an interview. Try to aim for having at least one internship before your senior year.

Most of the advice discussed in the internship section above applies to full-time job searching as well. Be sure to check out the same resources linked above. In addition to attending career fair, my biggest piece of advice is GO TO INFORMATION SESSIONS!!! Most companies host informational sessions before and after career fair. Attending these events is CRUCIAL. Handshake and CampusGroups usually post about when these events are held. Be sure to ‘favorite’ the companies you are interested in on Handshake to be alerted about when events occur. Additionally, BMES frequently hosts company presentations, so look out for these events on their newsletter as well. Company info sessions may be hosted in-person, via Zoom, or held during virtual career fair.

At these sessions you can expect to meet hiring managers and current employees. There is almost always time to ask questions at info sessions. Come prepared with 1-3 questions. This is a great opportunity to get your face in front of an employer. Additionally, I have found that at some of these sessions there are logins to track attendance. Some companies use this as a way to flag your application and expedite your hiring process. Tracking participation at career fairs or info sessions can be a company’s version of a ‘phone screen’. Attending as many of these events as possible may help your chances of getting a first round interview. Most info sessions do not require formal attire unless stated otherwise. Check registration emails to confirm the company’s expectations. If you attend a group info sessions via the online career fair, however, be sure to dress in business formal attire.

It is also important to be prepared for multiple interviews when recruiting for full-time roles. Whereas internships may only entail 1 or 2 interviews, expect 2-4 interview rounds for full-time. The hiring process varies from company to company. However, typical full-time recruiting may include the following: an initial phone screen with a hiring manager or HR representative followed by two separate interviews talking with full-time employees. A phone screen is usually a brief (15-20 min) and more casual conversation with HR. The purpose is for the hiring manager to gauge your interest in the company and understand your career goals. This is your opportunity to express excitement about the role, show off what you know about the company and ask logistical questions about the recruiting process. For the later interviews typically, behavioral questions are asked for engineering positions so review your STAR format! However, some companies may conduct case interviews where you are prompted to solve a multi-step problem based on information presented to you. Case interviews are more common for consulting roles. For these interviews, it is important to listen carefully, take detailed notes, ask the interviewer clarifying questions and talk through your thought process. Usually the company will specify beforehand if there will be a case so you are not caught off guard about what type of interview will be conducted. Remember, the more practice interviews you do, the more comfortable you will become!

Lastly, if you don’t land your dream job right out of college, don’t sweat. It’s perfectly normal to want to explore other career paths once you graduate. Your entry level position doesn’t have to be your job forever!

Alumni Job Testimonials

At some point, we move on from UIUC! We have collected testimonials from alumni from various positions and companies so you can get a feel for what life looks like for BIOE’s who are working in industry. If a specific testimonial piques your interest, feel free to reach out via LinkedIn to connect with them and ask more questions!

Principal Engineer at Baxter

Asha Kirchhoff, ’15

What was your track in Bioengineering, and did you have any minors?

“I don’t remember what track I ended up getting! I took classes in Cell & Tissue as well as Therapeutics.”

Describe your job search. How did you end up in your current position?

“I spent my freshman & sophomore years doing research, but wasn’t feeling fully satisfied by the lab work. I ended up doing a co-op during the fall of junior year, and that showed me that industry was the right work environment for me. After that, I did a summer internship with GE Healthcare. During senior year I spent a significant amount of time looking for jobs. I attended every career fair, spoke with every medical company in attendance, and used Engineering Career Services for resume review and interview prep. If you can manage it with your schedule, I recommend setting aside a Friday or Monday with no classes. This will give you dedicated time to work on your resume, search for job postings, prep for interviews, and leave a free day for scheduling longer interviews or on-site visits.”

What is your job, company, and what responsibilities do you have?

“I work at Baxter as a Principal Engineer in their Medication Delivery group. I specifically work on IV sets used to deliver different solutions or blood products. “Principal Engineer” is the level of my position – it refers to someone with 5 to 10 years of experience. At this level, I both lead projects and serve as a team member. Half of my time is spent running smaller projects with the goal of sustaining our existing products on the market. The remainder of my time is spent supporting R&D projects to create new devices.”

What do you like about your job? Are there any drawbacks of the position?

“I really like working in the medical device industry because the devices I work on are mechanically simple and intuitive to understand, but deliver great results to patients and can constantly be improved with new manufacturing techniques or material selections. The thing I like the most about my job is also the part that is most challenging. Engineering is an inherently interdisciplinary field. I am constantly working with quality engineering, manufacturing engineering, regulatory affairs, clinical, marketing, statistics, and project management. To be a good engineer, you need to form strong working relationships with other functions and learn how to draw on their expertise and get their buy-in to advance your projects. It’s can be a challenge but it’s also a pleasure – I am constantly learning new things from these talented coworkers!”

Any other comments or advice for students interested in industry?

“When you choose a career in life sciences or healthcare your daily work contributes to the health and wellbeing of patients across the globe. It’s an honor and a privilege to serve patients!”

Quality Engineer at Medline Industries

Lauren Pritz, ’20

What was your track in Bioengineering, and did you have any minors?

“I pursued the Therapeutics track because it is one of the broadest and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I liked the electives I took through this track. I minored in Technology and Management (T&M), which helped me understand more of the business side of industry and really developed my leadership skills.”

Describe your job search. How did you end up in your current position?

“In my experience, Medical Device companies have the following groups available to bioengineering graduates- Manufacturing (where the rubber hits the road), Research and Development (creating new products), Regulatory (interpret and apply regulations from the FDA), and Quality (collaborates with every group to ensure that the product works as it should). I chose to go into a Quality position because I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do and did not want to narrow myself. My actual job search consisted of a lot of networking with alumni of both T&M and BioE to get their input as to what they liked about their companies, jobs, etc. I also made as many connections with recruiters as possible that I could call upon once it came time to job search. All of this helped me both figure out what I was looking for and stand out in the application process, and I ultimately accepted a job offer as a Quality Engineer for Medline.”

What is your job, company, and what responsibilities do you have?

“I’m a Quality Engineer for Medline. Medline has over half a million products, and the way we work is that Quality Engineers are responsible for specific product lines and all of the technical and regulatory aspects that are associated with those products. I work with infection prevention products and antiseptics, which has been especially relevant in the era of COVID.  My job responsibilities are broad and my day to day has a lot of variation. Some of my areas of expertise include manufacturing processes, new product development, regulatory requirements, product logistics and operations, and post-market surveillance.”

What do you like about your job? Are there any drawbacks of the position?

“The same thing I like about my job is its drawback: there is a huge amount of variety in what I do. This keeps my day to day interesting and I am constantly problem solving and learning something new. I have a lot of ownership over my products and have become the go-to for many things at Medline. At the same time, I now know what parts of my job I dislike, but have to do those anyway. Ultimately, the variety has helped me focus in more on where I want to go in my career.”

Any other comments or advice for students interested in industry?

“NETWORK! I seriously can’t overstate how important and valuable it is to find mentors and listen to their advice. My mentors in college helped me so much to find things that interested me and help me kick-start my career. At the same time: Computers Network, but people make friends. Do not be that person that reaches out completely randomly and is just looking for a job interview. Network with people because you legitimately want to talk with them. It’s a hard line to balance, but ultimately has huge payoff.

In my opinion, it is extremely hard to know if you like something until you actually do it. Make sure you try out different experiences in college just to see how you feel about it! Try a new class outside of BioE, study abroad, join a research group to see what it’s like, go to a club that has nothing to do with engineering… the more experiences you have, the better prepared you will be in your career. I was the kind of person who liked almost everything I did, and that obviously influenced me majorly in my career choices. It’s about finding what will make you happy. If you hate something, don’t compromise. If you love it, DO IT! Best of luck!”

Clinical Associate in Cardiac Rhythm Management at Abbott
Vicky Krummick, ’21

What was your track in Bioengineering, and did you have any minors?

“Within Bioengineering, I chose to do the Imaging and Sensing track because I had minimal Electrical Engineering experience, wanted a challenge, and found signal processing interesting. I was able to learn not only more about signal processing, but fields & waves and analyzing / building circuits as well! With the Imaging and Sensing track, I minored in ECE. Additionally, I minored in Spanish as well because I love the language and the culture surrounding it in many different countries.”

Describe your job search. How did you end up in your current position?

“The job search was definitely grueling, but you need to stay positive and keep working hard to perfect your interview skills and resume. I attended multiple information sessions with Engineering Career Services along with utilizing their many tools to improve my career profile. What I learned throughout the recruitment process is to network and utilize your connections! Attend as many events with the company you want to work for as you can, become a familiar face. If you know someone who works for a company, ask them about their experiences to know from a firsthand experience the company’s atmosphere.”

What is your job, company, and what responsibilities do you have?

“Currently, I work for Abbott as a Clinical Associate in their Cardiac Rhythm Management division. I serve as a clinical interface between the patients and doctors with implantable cardiac rhythm management devices including pacemakers, implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs), and implantable cardiac monitors (ICMs). This entails working in the hospital with doctors, nurses, and techs in the Cath / Electrophysiology Lab during the implant of CRM devices and programming them appropriately. I also follow up with the patients in doctor clinics as well to ensure the devices are operating correctly—make changes if they are not—and if there were any episodes where the patient had an arrhythmia to notify the doctor. Sometimes we also have urgent checks in the hospitals in the ER or ICU. Altogether, I travel around all of Las Vegas from different hospitals to different clinics within the same day which is pretty exciting!”

What do you like about your job? Are there any drawbacks of the position?

“My favorite part of my position is that I get to work firsthand with patients! Some close second favorites are that I get to wear scrubs and that each day has something different in store. Some days are certainly longer than others, but at the end of the day when I look back I think of all the people I was able to help and improve their lives in some way.”

Any other comments or advice for students interested in industry?

“For any BIOEs interested in industry, the interview process may be tough especially since Bioengineering is a newer field compared to electrical, mechanical, and chemical engineering. My biggest advice is to try to get an internship or participate in projects such as at Engineering Open House (EOH) to have concrete topics to talk about in interviews to show your involvement outside the classroom in a leadership role along with your technical capabilities! Also, projects are a great way to get hands on experience to not only choose a track, but to know what type of work in industry you actually enjoy! Try new things, you never know what you may actually like doing until you try it!”