Interns: The Company You Keep

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Emory’s Office of Technology Transfer (OTT) offers internship opportunities for graduate students, postdocs, and others looking to gain experience in the technology transfer industry. An intern can expect to leave with skills like technology assessment, writing marketing materials, performing market analyses, IP searches and exposure to contract negotiations. However, former interns cite networking opportunities as one of the most useful component of their experience at OTT. Interns are able to socialize and connect with various employees throughout the office and also get the chance to meet important individuals in the local biotech, startup, IP, and technology transfer fields.Intern Group Photograph 2014

Dr. Sommer Zimmerman, a former intern and now a patent agent, advises future interns to meet as many people as possible, participate in as many events as they can handle, and to get involved in the OTT community. She describes the Atlanta IP Community as “a tight-knit group” and people remember you if they run into you enough. She advises interns, “Try to maintain and build on these relationships as much as you can,” and explains that those relationships have personal and professional benefits. “Networking should begin years, not weeks, before you need a job. Consider the internship an opportunity to build or expand your network, a network you should maintain even after you leave OTT,” asserted former intern Dr. Adam Raymond. Having a functional network and knowing the right people allows an individual to not only be a more attractive job candidate, but also learn from a diverse network of peers to better understand their field of interest. Raymond’s network and networking skills were especially important in starting his career with Pabst patent group, where a former colleague and classmate, who he reconnected with at a networking event, recruited him for his current job.

Out of eight former interns contacted, all eight emphasized the invaluable nature of networking that they learned through working at OTT. Dr. Patrick Reynolds describes how networking influenced his job search, “Through networking before my job hunt began, I got to know a good number of people in tech transfer throughout the southeast (including other Emory OTT internship alumni), and these relationships helped open doors for me.” Often there is hesitancy to utilize connections, but the majority of individuals enjoy helping one another and making opportunities possible. Dr. Rose Freel, a former intern, advises those pursuing a career in the field that: “Technology transfer is a small community…it is difficult to overstate the importance of using those connections. Networking and connections help you get an interview, but the rest is up to you.”

Learn more about the intern program on our website.