During my master's I had the opportunity to follow courses and participate in technical projects at the academic hospital of Maastricht. Applying my technical skills in a clinical setting made me very excited, because we can really make a difference for the doctor or a patient. I graduated in Cardiovascular Biomechanics from Eindhoven University of Technology, where I made a 3D model of the heart to investigate a leaking heart valve. This was a really interesting project that I learned a lot from, but it made me realize that I liked working on the application side of research and designing something that can actually be used in the hospital.
The EngD program ‘Qualified Medical Engineer’ was exactly the position I was looking for. Unfortunately, the positions are limited because the QME is relatively new in hospitals. I was lucky enough to have a position available a month after graduating and my enthusiasm and motivation really helped me get into the program.
In the QME program it is important that you have experience with (leading) projects and that you have an affinity with working in a hospital. You also have to be very committed to keep learning. The program is a real pressure cooker, with many interesting courses and projects in the hospital.
At the moment I have just started my first job after the QME program. The skills I have learned as a EngD give me a lot of confidence that I can lead my projects as an experienced project manager. Both the knowledge in different areas of the clinical workflow (e.g. ethics, management, regulation, security of technical applications, informatics) and personal development (e.g. presentation, project management) are in my opinion essential skills. My current position at Meditain also gives me the opportunity to apply this in projects in various hospitals throughout the Netherlands, how cool is that?!
Expand your personal network. By meeting the right people and talking about their experiences and motivation, you get to know yourself better and it can help you achieve your dream position. In addition, improving your personal development skills such as communication may seem unnecessary compared to domain/technical knowledge, but I recommend investing in these skills as well.
During my Master program Systems & Control, I learned a lot about control systems and gained some practical experience. For my graduation, I did my thesis in collaboration with ASML, Veldhoven. I felt I learned a lot on the theoretical side of control systems, but had too little industrial (design) experience from just my Master studies. This led me to think, I was not done learning yet at TU/e and found the Mechatronic Systems Design EngD program. Now, this program has given me relevant industrial experience and moreover, a good understanding of the opportunities for my future career in mechatronic systems.
To be honest, everything went rather smoothly. Of course, I considered starting a job in industry after my Master program, but when I saw the EngD position I quickly realized that that was exactly what suited me. Fortunately, the timing of my graduation and the application of the program coincided, and I could immediately apply for the vacancy. Fairly quickly after I applied, I heard I could go to the next application round which eventually led me to being accepted. I will not say it was easy to obtain this position, but the timing and motivation fell right into place.
The motivation to continue learning helped me a lot. I knew I wanted something more before going into industry which made me very motivated to apply for the EngD position. I see this EngD program as an investment in myself and my future career. The choice for taking this step was quite obvious to me.
In my position I can really practice everything that I learned so far. Furthermore, it also helps me to find out what I aspire to in my future career. I can explore several positions and roles during the projects we have in the EngD, which gives me a lot of insight into what I like to do and what options I have in the future.
I have met a lot of Master students who rushed into the first job they could find after graduating. But I think it is good to consider investing a bit more in yourself, if you can, by for example doing a EngD. It helps to really think about what you would like to do before you go to the next step of your career.