Marie Rippen, PhD ’15, is the CEO of Lab Launch Inc. While at USC, Marie realized she wanted to work in a company where her efforts produced tangible results more often than experiments. She also knew she wanted to work in a setting that allowed her to interact with a variety of people. At Lab Launch Inc., Marie assists start-up companies by providing access to lab facilities, equipment and the connections needed to develop their technologies into successful drugs, products and treatments. Marie’s day-to-day schedule varies, but typically consists of meetings with the board of directors or representatives from local research institutes, resolving facility issues and developing partnerships with potential clients.
Her advice to students nearing graduation is: “Learn how to network properly, don’t appear desperate or naïve. Ask many questions to learn more about the company, what they do, if they enjoy their job and how they got into the field. It might come up that you are looking for a job, it might not. The goal of networking is to get other people to like you enough that they might want to help you in the future.” She also recommends that graduate students decide on a career path early on to begin the process of developing a network of people who may be able to help them find a job more easily — especially if they have specific career goals in mind. Determining a career path is also helpful when drafting a LinkedIn profile, resume and other social media to show enthusiasm for the job.
Marie believes the PIBBS program is great and encourages each student to take advantage of the various opportunities that may come their way. She recommends that first and second-year students make an effort to meet more senior graduate students in the program and ask for their advice on choosing a lab and preparing for future classes. Also, it is important to cultivate relationships with principle investigators outside of their research lab. Marie enjoyed the comradery she experienced while being a part of the PIBBS program. The social activities offered by PIBBS ensured that students had plenty of opportunities to network and develop stronger ties with other researchers in their own fields of study and beyond.