A summer biotech consulting internship during under-graduate years can be beneficial in multiple ways.
My goals in doing a summer internship in Biotech Consultancy were to learn more about the fields of science I was so passionate about from a business rather than academic perspective for a change, and explore my possible future career options. I also wanted to be able to make informed decisions on the subjects choices in coming years, to give myself the best opportunities and position myself to become relevant in today’s rapidly changing biotech industries.
Going into the internship after my first year studying Natural Sciences at University, I had a very ‘sciencey’ background, with prior work placements I’d done being primarily in labs. When I applied to intern at AcuBiz, I knew I wanted to put myself out of my comfort zone, to challenge myself so that I could grow.
My experience at AcuBiz was absolutely ideal in helping me achieve my goals. Over the period of about two and a half months, I conducted market research on the food safety testing market in Europe and worked on producing the final report. In addition to this, I helped out with various other projects, including working at the annual Medi-Pharm Expo in Vietnam, helping write company blogs, and editing video recordings of talks.
1. Switching perspectives
Writing a market research report, I had to put myself in the shoes of buyers of the report. To consider what would be relevant to them to include, and strike a balance of information on various aspects for different stakeholders. My instinctive perspective in the past would have been to take a rather scientific stance, but I’ve learned that making things accessible to a wider audience can extend the reaches of effects so much further.
Another perspective that was elucidated was my own on the nature of accomplishing tasks. Rather than thinking there was a ‘correct’ answer that must be found, I saw how accomplishing things in consulting is much more about cooperating to come to your own decision on what’s best. When I wanted to clarify the scope, definitions or direction of the report, I would take my concerns and reasons to be discussed, largely expecting people more senior to me to be able to come up with a definitive answer. But I found myself explaining what I thought based on what I knew, and coming to decisions together by putting together what everyone had to contribute. This also made me feel that my work at AcuBiz was appreciated and impactful.
2. The Age of Information Overload, and navigating my way through it
Assessing the market becomes a mystery, not a puzzle when information is so readily available online. Much like a detective, I had to piece together information to create a picture of the food safety testing landscape. Yet, with time constraints and so much information, the skill comes in recognizing important clues, efficiently going through documents and ensuring key information is not overlooked. At AcuBiz, I was guided through this.
By logging my progress and sources in an organized way, I could ensure that what I learned was both stored and available for the rest of the team. By working on segments in parallel, I kept the bigger picture in mind and could take information as it came to sort into the relevant segments. By sharing my work with the rest of the team and paying attention to their updates, we avoided doubling up work and established good teamwork. These are skills that I believe will be indispensable in whatever future career I pursue.
3. Effective communication and people management
Conducting market research involved approaching and speaking to industry experts, scientists, company representatives and more. Through my own trial and error, and by seeking advice from colleagues, I learned how to appeal to people to establish connections and gather insights. My approach to each individual had to be uniquely tailored to their strengths, which required prior understanding of their expertise and role, in order to make them feel comfortable about opening up.
Representing AcuBiz at the Vietnam Medi-Pharm Expo was another enlightening and valuable experience. I spoke to both local company representatives looking to market their products, and international companies looking to expand into the region. I gathered insight into the trends of Vietnam’s growing healthcare market and helped establish a network of contacts in the region. Once again, I found friendly communication and the initiative to reach out the key to accomplishing this.
Finally, with respect to the importance of communication, it is perhaps within the team where it becomes truly invaluable. When more interns joined the team, about a month and a half after I did, I was given some responsibility to catch them up on the work done so far. Sharing my learning experience with them thus far, and working together, I saw how a positive atmosphere and camaraderie in the office place could help propel a project forward to a common goal.
All considered, my time at AcuBiz was an immensely useful, enlightening and enjoyable experience. 10/10 would recommend interning to anyone committed to goals like mine and willing to put in the work.