Industry experts share career paths and expand opportunities for students

Giving a presentation about Merck, the oldest pharmaceutical company in the world, Shou Wong took a group of graduate students through his career journey and the most recent developments in his industry.

Wong, the head of technology scouting at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, was the latest speaker for the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering (PME) Industry Seminar Series. The seminars aim to give students exposure to different companies, career paths, corporate environments, and useful skillsets. They also provide students with the opportunity to network with speakers.

“I hope that by putting these speakers in front of students and encouraging them to ask questions and talk about all sorts of topics, they will be more comfortable speaking to new people,” said Felix Lu, director of corporate management at Pritzker Molecular Engineering and organizer of this series. “Networking is an important skill to develop, which is often not directly taught at schools.”

Lu added that he searches for speakers that have unique stories to tell, in order to highlight the many possible career paths available to students.

This was the case for Wong, whose work takes place primarily in Merck KGaA’s Silicon Valley Innovation Hub. His journey from getting a PhD in molecular biology to technology scouting was not always straightforward, but he said it did make him appreciate the skills and knowledge he had accumulated at earlier points in his career.

“I can guarantee you that someday all this experience and knowledge will show up in places and times that you least expect,” Wong said.

Wong and the student attendees also discussed opportunities for internships at his company, and a competition in which graduate students are invited to Germany to network and generate innovative ideas for shared prizes.

Upcoming speakers come from broad areas of the professional world including graphic processing units, computational biology, materials science, and more.

The PME will continue its Industry Seminar Series every Thursday at 1:30 p.m. through the end of May. You can explore and register for future events here.