In November, we traveled to Durham and Raleigh, North Carolina to connect with employers from the biotech, startup, and healthcare spaces in the region. These conversations focused on the value of connecting to these organizations even though they aren’t located in the NYC area. 

Check out what we learned! 

Exploring different cities

While many prestigious opportunities are located here in New York City, many thriving organizations are elsewhere and look forward to hearing from Columbia students. One of these organizations is WillowTree, a leading mobile design and development agency. They work with clients such as HBO, PepsiCo, and Fox Sports to consult on their web services and UX strategy.

WillowTree was recently voted a best workplace to work in tech. They are looking to hire 30-40 interns each summer to work on test engineering and design projects. They pride themselves on their commitment to having interns stay on with the company in full-time roles.  They have housing stipends that are provided for interns, weekly intern lunches, and each intern is paid based on their class year. 

Our conversation with WillowTree focused on their recruitment efforts for full-time and internship roles, and how many students outside of the region miss out on their opportunities due to failing to think outside of NYC and the west coast. They mentioned that while their salaries are still competitive, they are especially competitive when you factor in the lower cost of living in Durham and Raleigh.  Their office (pictured to the right) was thoughtfully built and designed around their mission of collaboration and creativity. There are nap pods for employees to take a quick rest, and the entire office is full of different lounges and spaces to be able to work in various areas. 

Another company called Hyperspace Ventures shared this feedback that their region is a perfect place to start a career due to the lively cities, interesting opportunities, and lower cost of living. Hyperspace Ventures builds digital products for startups and also partner with accelerators. As part of their interview process, they bring finalists to their offices in the Research Triangle Park, and show them around the cities of Durham and Raleigh with Duke University and the University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill nearby. 

impact and innovation

Several companies that we met with stressed the importance of impact students could have in the Raleigh and Durham region. YPrime provides innovative software and services that help support clinical trials.  They’re looking for students who are coming with experience in the laboratory space, but are interested in moving into roles in the technical side in an office setting.  YPrime focused on how their employees have the ability to work directly on projects that clients are working on to get to the next stage in drug development projects. 

Precision BioSciences relayed this similar message of how the region is making an impact on the future in healthcare and research. They’re a biotechnology company that has cell therapy and gene therapy programs. Through their clinical trials, they can help patients lead to cancer remission through drug development. 

Overall, the hiring managers and recruiters want to learn about your experiences in research and your goals for your career. If you decided to major in biology or chemistry with the goal of researching for the sake of helping people, you should share these values in an interview!

Insider Info: Get Behind the Scenes with Employers

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