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Information for Students

The CEO Program at UW-Madison facilitates graduate students’ participation in internships in career environments outside of academic research. The aim is to help students make informed decisions about which of the many career paths to pursue post graduation. The program consists of two main components: the training component and the internship. Identifying the internship and the funding is the responsibility of the student, with assistance through the training component.

CEO Training Component

The CEO training component consists of a 2-credit course (Biomedical Engineering 601 [BME 601]). This course will prepare students for the internship interview process, orient students to their future internships and provide students career development skills that will also be useful for their eventual job searches post graduation. It is mandatory that CEO program students pass the course.

Course Modules

  1. Organizational Structure – Biotech/Venture/Startups
  2. Project Management – Intra- and Inter-organization management
  3. Intellectual Property, Licensing and Regulatory Policy
  4. Defining Value Proposition/Innovation
  5. Documentation and Notebook Best Practices

CEO Internship Component

The core of the CEO program is the internship. The goal of this internship is to provide students with hands-on experience outside of research academia.

Internship Structure

  • The internship is full-time and can be done during graduate school.
  • The internship can be 6 weeks to 6 months in length.
  • Internships typically are in the following areas:
  1. Biotech, pharma, or medical device research & development
  2. Science policy, regulatory affairs, or communication
  3. Business and entrepreneurship
  4. Intellectual property or regulatory law
  • While it is possible for a student to do an internship outside of these areas, it would require more effort on the part of the student to investigate and secure potential internship placements.

Eligibility for the Program

  • All graduate students with a research focus related to stem cells and regenerative medicine are eligible to participate.
  • Students must have passed their qualifying exams or equivalent and must be in good academic standing.
  • Students must have written approval from both their PI and Graduate Program Director to do an internship.
  • International students are eligible to participate in the CEO program, but should be aware that some internship sites may require US citizenship.

CEO Program Anticipated Timeline

  • Spring Semester: Training course (BME 601)
  • Summer: Internships begin
  • Students will be expected to participate in an Open House the Fall semester following their internship and in the evaluation of the CEO program during and after the program.

How to get started

Please enroll in BME 601 (offered in Spring 2018).


Find the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) here or contact Sue Gilbert.

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