Biotech Career Development Program

Program Description

The Biotech Career Development Program (BCDP) is a structured, cohort-based career development program for STEM graduate students and postdocs interested in careers outside of the traditional academic tenure-track faculty position. The program guides participants through self-reflection, skill-building, and career exploration strategies in advance of seeking full-time employment or an internship/externship.

Throughout the program, participants engage in a series of workshops, seminars, panel discussions, and self-guided research opportunities to explore career options and prepare for an experiential learning opportunity with an on-campus unit, small business startup, large corporation, non-profit organization, governmental agency, law firm, or any additional non-academic entity. We also host an in-person networking event to put into practice many of the topics addressed in the sessions in a fun, low-stakes environment.   

Participants will attend one session every week (each 1.5 hours in length, generally) during the 12-week program. The weekly sessions will include a mix of panel discussions focused on different career sectors and skill building seminars and workshops. All of the sessions will run Thursdays 3:30-5pm EST in a fully virtual setting.

Participation is by application only. We are accepting applications from graduate students (M.S. and Ph.D.), postdoctoral fellows, and early-career researchers in STEM disciplines at the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor campus.


Program Overview

Phase I: Career Exploration and Skill Building

Themed career panels, workshops, and seminars will help participants gain a better understanding of non-academic career options and core skills required to be successful.  In addition, participants will meet regularly as a cohort to conduct additional career research and share their experiences.

Skill Building Seminars

Bi-weekly seminars are broken into two main focuses: career exploration skills and career launching skills. Career exploration skills include self-reflection, goal setting, and understanding the career landscape. Career launching skills consist of written and verbal communication skills, networking, and professional branding.

Career Exploration Panels

Examples below of career sectors that have been represented in the past.

University Administration, Staff, and Support

  • Innovation Partnerships
  • Research Administration
  • FFMI Business Development
  • Research Commercialization
  • Clinical Trial Management
  • Research Analyst

Consultant /Nonprofit and Government/Other

  • Management
  • FDA Regulatory
  • IP Law
  • Science Policy

Small Biotech Startups

  • Research & Development
  • Business Development

Large Corporations

  • Research and Development
  • Medical Science liaison
  • Product Manager
  • Application Scientist
  • Clinical Trial Management

Phase II: Experiential Learning

Phase II is a self-driven, practical application of the skills and knowledge developed in Phase I. The BCDP Steering Committee will provide guidance and curated resources to help participants prepare for experiential learning opportunities (internships, externships, immersion) and job applications. Resources will include on-campus workshops, internship funding, individual career coaching, and other learning opportunities.

Additional Information

Program Expectations

  • Participants are required to attend all of Phase I – career exploration panels and skill building seminars – totaling four events per month.
  • As a result, Phase II is strongly encouraged, but not required for successful completion of the program.  Participants are required to write a reflection document and deliver a presentation on their participation in the program.
  • As a result, Phase II is encouraged, but not required for successful completion of the program.  Participants are required to write a reflection document and deliver a presentation on their participation in the program.
  • Participants will receive a certificate of completion.

Cost – There is no cost to participate in the program

Applications for 2023 are now closed

Seminar Schedule:*


  • May 4: Kickoff (in-person)
  • May 11: myIDP and online career exploration tools
  • May 25: Designing Your Life – 90 min
  • June 1: Career Landscape of Commercializing Research
  • June 15: LinkedIn for Networking and Informational Interviews 
  • June 21: Social activity (in-person) Wednesday, June 21 from 4-6pm
  • June 22: Communicating your strengths and value (CV/resume/cover letter) 
  • July 6: Job Search – Navigating Posting Boards, Understanding Terminology, Aligning Skills with a /Job Description Alignment (reading a job, aligning CV/resume/cover letter)
  • July 13: Branding and Self-Promotion on LinkedIn
  • July 27: Finale Celebration (in-person) – share self-reflection and goals

*All meetings are held from 3:30 – 5:00 pm EST on Zoom unless otherwise indicated. Career panels will be scheduled during the intervening weeks of the seminar schedule. Panel dates and times TBD.


Learn how the Biotech Career Development Program provided Jackee Sanchez, Ph.D., a graduate of the U-M pharmacology program, with professional skills training and guided career exploration beyond the traditional academic tenure-track faculty route.

“I got an idea of the top three or four careers that I wanted to explore further by hearing from other professionals through the program,” said Sanchez. “I then forged connections with people in those positions and it led to the next steps in my career, landing me where I am today at AstraZeneca.” READ FULL ARTICLE.

Alumni Experiences

170+ Alumni Participants from 40 programs/departments, including…

  • 5 masters students
  • 111 doctoral students
  • 50 postdocs
  • 7 early career research scientists

Professional Activities of Participants

  • miLEAD Consulting Group
  • Michigan Graduate Consulting Club
  • Wolverine Venture Fund
  • Zell Lurie Commercialization Fund
  • FFMI Fellows Program

Job Titles of Past Participants

  • Clinical Data Analyst (industry)
  • Research Specialist (academic)
  • Research Scientist (industry)
  • 2 Engineers (industry)
  • Sales Associate (industry)
  • Technical Specialist (law firm)
  • Senior Program Manager (foundation)
  • Clinical Marketing Specialist (industry)

I didn’t know what careers were out there! And the ones I did know about, I didn’t know what they looked like. I am really excited to have taken this course because it helped me identify what I want in a career and how to pursue it.”

“Assignments created accountability and certainly helped my progress, the structured access to relevant information is hard to find elsewhere.”

“The program provided me with goals and deadlines for my career development.”

“All the resources I learned about. Even if it is not what I am interested in I can share this information with a friend or colleague. All the information I gathered I think will help me be a more competitive candidate when I am applying for a job or at least I will know where to reach out to ask for help and feedback during that process.”

Biotech Career Development Program Steering Committee

Maggie Gardner, Ph.D.
Program Lead for STEM Professional Development
Rackham Graduate School

Jon Servoss, Ed.D.
FFMI Director of Commercialization Education
Fast Forward Medical Innovation

Kaylee Steen, Ph.D.
Associate Director of Professional Development and Trainee Support
Office of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies

Carolyn Walsh
Career and Professional Development Program Coordinator
Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

Katherine Mercieca
Commercialization Education Program Coordinator
Fast Forward Medical Innovation

BCDP 2023 Alumni Planning Committee

Corrine Din
Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Graduate Student

“I always knew I wanted to pursue a career in the biotechnology industry after graduate school, but BCDP helped me realize that there are a lot of opportunities beyond research scientists. I’m also grateful for all of the seminars that gave us time to reflect on personal development to get us ready for finding and interviewing for jobs.”


The Biotech Career Development Program is provided by FFMI, Rackham Graduate School, and the UMMS Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. For questions, please contact Jon Servoss at


Fast Forward Medical Innovation                                                                   

April 17, 2023