Experiencing the BUSINESS side of Biotechnology 2

As a student, after finishing my final year, it is a requirement to complete an internship at a biotech company. I was looking more towards laboratory-based internships initially. Then, I came across with the website of AcuBiz, a life-science, and biotechnology consultancy firm, which fascinated me. I have done business subjects in my course, but it was very much textbook-based and offered little practical experience. Since I was interested in experiencing the BUSINESS side of Biotechnology, I decided to apply for an internship at AcuBiz. The internship at AcuBiz has greatly helped me to pave the path towards understanding biotechnology from a business standpoint.

At first, it seemed like there was WAY too much information and that there was no possible way that I will remember everything that was being thrown to me. I was completely overwhelmed by the first week of my internship because it became apparent to me that I had learned too little about biotechnology industry during my university days. I assured myself everything was going to be fine and reminded myself internships are made for learning. I had to trust the process!

Internship at AcuBizThe first lesson I learned was that no one expects me to know everything about biotechnology, but it was a necessity to have clarity while doing any task for the project. When I realized there is no possible way you already know everything that is expected of your position, it became easier for me to do the internship. It may seem like there is a lot of instructions and technical terms that I was not familiar with, but I found that there are different ways to learn it all if I was putting the right amount of effort with commitment.

By nature, I am quite a relaxed and easy going person, but this experience has changed me completely. I was exposed to the whole process of market research and all of the work that goes into creating value through research. My three biggest takeaways from this internship are:
– No two projects can be the same
– You must be flexible throughout the process to be effective. What is needed for a project can vary – in terms of working hours, the type of content needed, the way of presentation, etc. etc.
– Always keep in mind what specific goals potential clients may have

There are many steps to the process that often take significant time to complete. One of the challenging tasks for me was talking and adapting to different languages during primary research. Attention to detail is key in every step of the market research process. I learned the importance of keeping the goal of the project in mind throughout the process to ensure that the information found can be used by clients to help their business problems or answer the question they may have.

My time management and communication skills quite strong. I have always been good at time management but during my internship days, I had trouble meeting my daily goals initially. I was new and had to learn my way around reaching the right person for getting a good primary research transcript. But as time went on, I got better at knowing how to speed up my tasks. During my primary research, I got the chance to interview different people, from different parts of the world. This way, I was able to increase the effectiveness of my communication and make myself more valuable, by getting a better insight into their culture and attitude. For example, when I interviewed a person from Japan, I found them to be very polite and comfortable to talk with. On the other hand, Europe was a bit difficult, maybe due to my accent, especially Germany and Italy. Primary research on India and the Middle East was easy for me, as I had the language advantage. Hindi, Urdu and Arabic speaking people clicked with me very fast, and I was able to add value to my project.

I found myself good at getting people open up to me. I got better at creating good communication channels and removing barriers so that people want to speak to me. I had to open up my mind to what others would want, how I could rephrase the information I wanted to convey and find ways to spice up my verbal skills. All these improve the quality of my primary research. Overall, the experience was extremely important for me to realize my strengths and taking advantage of them for adding value to my internship project.


By Rakin Mahmood, Market Research Analyst (Summer Intern)

Undergraduate student, final year, Malaysia University of Science and Technology,

December 27, 2018

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2 thoughts on “Experiencing the BUSINESS side of Biotechnology

    • Syamala Ariyanchira

      There are many career paths in the biotechnology industry.

      Even if you exclude technical jobs (R&D or production), many other options still exist. So before making a commitment to another course, both in terms of time and the finances required, it would be a smart move to develop awareness about various options.

      Suggest gaining experience in a consultancy company, for 6-12 months minimum, before you commit to a post-graduation course – Masters, MBA, law, finance, programming, etc. All these options can offer excellent career paths.

      Also, consider doing a market research project as a freelancer/intern/trainee while applying for jobs. That may give you access to a mentor. It can offer invaluable exposure to learn about the industry where you are planning your career life.

      Best wishes