By Nick Ferraro, M.Ed - Career and Industry Specialist, Career and Professional Development Services
I had the opportunity to meet with Jake Snyder who is an Associate with CXO Advisors & Management. CXO Advisors & Management is an organization that provides governance, leadership, management, and workforce for investment funds and early-stage ventures on a mission to make a global impact through health innovation. Jake is a 2014 graduate from the Bachelors of Biomedical Engineering program at ASU. Upon graduating from ASU, he went to work for a few organizations in the biotech industry. After a few years, Jake decided to return to Arizona where he started his own investment organization and then started working for CXO Advisors & Management. As an Associate with CXO, Jake holds a variety of roles, but his main focus is on venture creation. Following are the questions and summarized responses from my informational interview with Jake.
Q: What type of role did you look for after graduation?
“I thought I wanted to work for a Fortune 500 company with a corner office. After working for Zimmer Biomet, Johnson & Johnson, and now CXO Advisors & Management, I realized that working for a Fortune 500 company was the opposite of what I was looking for.” He then mentioned how working for smaller organizations helped him grow a more diverse set of technical and transferable skills.
Q: Why is it important to do an Internship?
“There are two valuable reasons to do an internship. The first one is that you are learning and growing the skill sets that employers are willing to pay for. The second is that the employer gets to know you and that you are willing to make an early investment in the company and their goals.” Jake also highlighted that when looking at job and internship descriptions, it's important to pay close attention to the job responsibilities section. “ The responsibilities section is the experience employers are going to be looking for on your resume, and they are going to expect that you have some of those skills when starting the job. The preferred qualifications are going to be a bonus when looking to bring you in for an interview.”
Q: What piece of advice would you offer to a student looking to get involved in the STEM or Entrepreneurship Industry?
“Learn on someone else’s dime by doing internships and volunteering your time because you are still gaining contacts, skill sets, and getting to observe the way an organization operates.” Jake said that he learned the hard way when he was trying to grow his skill sets and get experience. His other advice was in reference to technical skills. “Read job descriptions and find the technical skills you will need to do that job. Look into future roles as well because those are the skills that you are going to need to be successful. You may also have to do some learning outside of the classroom because your program may not have room to teach you everything you need to know.” Jake mentioned that in the biotech industry, building and designing sensors is a sought after skill and indicated that some of the college programs don’t teach you how to do that.