Career Exploration Opportunities: Internship Program

Notice: the CEO is delayed until further notice; please follow our newsletter announcements for updates.

The CEO Internship Program provides a unique opportunity for trainees to gain meaningful and practical work experience in a broad range of sectors, where scientists make significant contributions to research, education, business, policy, philanthropy and more.

Due to popular demand, the CEO Program has been opened to both trainees seeking internships and those seeking full-time opportunities.

An internship experience can broaden a trainee’s understanding and perspective of their career options, and provide opportunities for professional growth, interpersonal skills development and networking.

What can you get from an internship?

An internship can help you:

  • Explore a variety of sectors and functions, or a new career path
  • Engage with interdisciplinary, cross-functional teams and professionals to build connections
  • Experience firsthand roles and functions in careers of choice, to understand the impact of — and gain skills needed to succeed in — particular fields


On a national level:

  • Employers retain more interns as full-time hires than those who didn’t go through their internship program (National Association of Colleges and Employers survey, 2012).
  • Employers also express higher rates of performance satisfaction with PhD students who had previous internship or co-op experience, compared to those without such experiences (National Postdoctoral Association inquiry, 2013).

Who can apply for the CEO program?

Stanford Graduate/Medical Students and Postdocs must

  • be in good academic standing
  • plan to return to academia to complete training
  • meet population-specific criteria


Population-specific eligibility:

  • Graduate students — after passing their qualifying exams
  • MS, MD students and postdocs — after at least one year of training

Why the CEO Program?

  • Structured curriculum, including career assessment, planning and exploration; application review by peers and field experts; and preparation for on-the-job success
  • Unique access to direct, formal internship postings from employers
  • Guidance in identifying the right career opportunities and employers for you, and tailoring applications and interview strategy to target them
  • Clear direction on paperwork and University policies that need to be followed before, during and after the internship


The CEO program offers the curriculum and support necessary for trainees to explore and define careers of their choice. It provides a framework to determine the best internship opportunities for them, and the resources to navigate specialized postings or tailor their own experiences.


“I was able to access industry experience and skills that my lab didn’t have and augment my training experience. If it weren’t for that opportunity, I would not be as effective in my thesis lab as I am today.”


—Nicholas Bayless, Immunology, on his short-term biotechnology industry experience at MedImmune