Industry Research Resources

Learning about industries takes time and research. To help you get started, we’ve compiled resources below on some industries that are relevant to many MIT students.

No matter what industry interests you, we can help you find resources and explore opportunities. Schedule an appointment with a career advisor to get started. You can also take advantage of the other resources we provide, including:

Industries

Aerospace and Defense
Biotechnology
Consulting
Consumer Products
Environment
Finance
Government
Medical Devices
Pharmaceuticals
Teaching

Aerospace and Defense

The aerospace and defense industry is engineering-focused and comprised of companies involved in the design and construction of aircraft as well as equipment used by the armed forces. While this is an industry with relatively few employers, those employers are generally very large due to both governmental regulation and the massive expanse of doing research in this area. Because this industry is closely linked to the U.S. Department of Defense and also works with technologies sensitive to national security, there are citizenship and security clearance requirements to be considered by people seeking jobs in this sector.

Related MIT Labs and Centers

CSAIL
Aerospace Controls Laboratory
Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems
Gas Turbine Laboratory

Additional Resources

Aerospace Industries Association (AIA)
Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI)
National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA)

Back to top

Biotechnology

Biotechnology uses the basic ingredients of life – living cells and materials produced by cells – to make new products: pharmaceutical, medical devices and therapeutics, diagnostic, agricultural, environmental, among others. Biotechnology also alters genetic information in animals and plants in order to improve them. Companies often vary significantly in size, with small companies tending to focus on research and development of biotech products while large companies also focus on producing and delivering commercial products to consumers.

Related MIT Labs and Centers

Center for Biomedical Engineering
Center for Environmental Health Sciences
Bio-Instrumentation Laboratory

Additional Resources

Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MassBio)
Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO)
American Society for Microbiology (ASM)

Back to top

Consulting

Companies and organizations hire consultants to strategize solutions to business, organizational, or industry-specific problems by offering a fresh perspective, objectivity, and/or a specific knowledge base or expertise. While the industry offers the opportunity for travel, work variety, high salaries, and bonuses, it can be greatly affected by the economy and consultants may experience highs and lows in their workload. Two types of consulting to know are management consulting, which is focused on helping organizations improve and achieve their goals, and strategy consulting, which happens at higher levels of management and is often focused on helping organizations expand or identify new goals.

Generally, the consulting industry looks for applicants with strong academic credentials, quantitative ability, problem-solving ability, an understanding of business, and leadership/teamwork experience. Interpersonal and communication skills are also important. The interview process often includes a case interview that is used to assess a candidate’s thought process and analytical skills. Recruiting for entry-level consultant positions typically begins in the fall.

Additional Resources

Association of Internal Management Consultants (AIMC)
Association of Management Consulting Firms (AMCF)
Institute of Management Consultants
Consulting Magazine

Back to top

Consumer Products

Consumer products is an industry that encompasses design, engineering, manufacturing, distribution, and marketing of products, usually within four main groups: beverages, food, toiletries and cosmetics, and small appliances. Consumer products firms tend to be very big companies, the majority of which are conglomerates with diverse subsidiaries. Interviews in the consumer product industry vary, and portfolios may be a common part of the application process for design-related positions. Many companies offer rotational programs, in which individuals work at various locations and/or positions within the company.

Related MIT Labs and Centers

Lemelson-MIT Program
Industrial Relations Program

Additional Resources

International Consumer Product Health & Safety Organization (ICPHSO)
Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA)
Journal of Consumer Affairs

Back to top

Environmental Careers

Professionals in environmental careers use scientific research and policy expertise to address global and local ecological issues. Environmental careers include not only science but also careers in government settings at all levels and in consulting firms and corporations, as well as at non-profit organizations. Writing, fundraising, program administration, education, community organization, and scientific research are all skills used in environmental careers. Some jobs require certifications, the most common being the OSHA 40-Hour Hazardous Material Technician certificate.

Additional Resources

American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
American Geophysical Union (AGU)
EnvironmentalCareer.com

Back to top

Finance

All business enterprises, no matter the industry or sector, perform a common function called ‘finance’ to some degree. Career options in finance could include working in financial markets, financial services, investment management, commercial banking, investment banking, insurance, actuarial, or real estate. Jobs in the finance industry involve analyzing financial data about organizations to evaluate and predict future performance. Necessary skills include business acumen, mathematical prowess, adaptability and problem-solving skills. An MBA, CPA or CFA is necessary if you aspire to senior budgeting, planning, or strategy positions.

Investment banks generally categorize staff as ‘front office’ for client-facing roles such as sales and trading, or ‘back office’ for operations such as I.T., compliance and risk. Investment banks hire in the largest numbers, but investment management firms (including hedge funds, mutual funds, and private equity firms) also recruit at MIT. Hires in finance are often offered to interns, and recruiting happens mostly in the fall.

Related MIT Labs and Centers

Laboratory for Financial Engineering
MIT Sloan Neuroeconomics Lab

Additional Resources

International Finance Corporation (IFC)
Association for Financial Professionals (AFP)
The American Finance Association (AFA)
Street of Walls Finance Trainings & Overview

Back to top

Government

Roles and fields within the government are diverse and span areas of science, technology, engineering, and policy. Defense is a large industry within government employing many MIT graduates. Federal, state, and local governments recruit throughout the year, with summer internships posted in the winter. Some student hiring programs, such as the Pathways program, have recruitment cycles more aligned with the academic calendar. There are often fellowships and scholarships available for students interested in working in government, so inquire with agencies and departments that interest you about what may be available. Applications should be made through formal portals like USAJOBS, and often require resumes in government-specific format.

MIT Collaborations with Government

Center for Energy & Environmental Policy Research (CEEPR)
MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI)
MIT Lincoln Labs
SENSEable City Laboratory
Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART)

Additional Resources

USAJOBS
Go Government
Public Service Careers

Back to top

Medical Devices

Companies in the medical device industry research, create, and manufacture products designed to diagnose, prevent, and treat both human and animal patients. Demand is driven by population demographics, advances in medical knowledge, and technology. Large companies have economies of scale in manufacturing and R&D, while small companies often specialize in particular market segments or through technical innovation. The industry is heavily regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and litigation over patents, licenses, and intellectual property rights are common in this industry where technology evolves rapidly.

Related MIT Labs and Centers

MIT Institute for Medical Engineering & Science
MIT Medical Device Innovation Center

Additional Resources

Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry (MDDI)
Massachusetts Medical Device Industry Council (MassMEDIC)
Medical Device Manufacturers Association (MDMA)
Fierce Biotech: Medical Devices

Back to top

Pharmaceuticals

Pharmaceutical manufacturers discover, test, and market plant or chemical-based products to treat or prevent illness in humans. Since the pharma industry is driven by the demand to cure illness, a company’s success depends on its ability to continue to develop new drugs. Research and development is the driving force behind the industry, but the R&D process can be lengthy and costly, with many drugs not making it to market due to highly regulated policies.

Related MIT Labs and Centers

MIT Age Lab
Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

Additional Resources

American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS)
Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA)
BioSpace

Back to top

Teaching

Teaching is a profession that requires a strong grasp of subject-area knowledge, fine-tuned communication skills, the ability to build relationships with students, and a substantial amount of persistence. The field of teaching is broad and the best way to gauge whether this is the career for you is to get in front of a classroom and experience it for yourself. Some great opportunities to develop skills for teaching involve going abroad, including MISTI Teaching Labs. A teaching license is required for public school teachers and requirements vary by state. MIT offers a teacher licensure program, the Scheller Teacher Education Program (STEP). Interviews for teaching positions often take place in group settings, and it is wise to be prepared to discuss your philosophy of education as well as teach a short lesson.

Related MIT Centers and Programs

MISTI Teaching Labs
MIT Scheller Teacher Education Program (STEP)
Amphibious Achievement
Edgerton Center Resources
Teaching and Learning Lab
MIT BLOSSOMS

Additional Resources

National Education Association
U.S. Department of Education
Breakthrough Cambridge