Making the most of my Remote Internship 1

Making the most of my Remote Internship

Faced with all the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic, I wasn’t very optimistic about the internship opportunities I could get in the summer. However, I was still keen on exploring the different career prospects of a Biomedical Sciences degree and came across AcuBiz Consulting where I was fortunate to have the opportunity to gain a new perspective into Biotech and Pharma Consulting in an 8-week remote internship.

From the beginning, it was emphasized to me that understanding the industry is important – how the activities of the major players are shaping it and how it is progressing along the different stages of growth. During the internship, I was tasked to build profiles of companies with NGS activities in Japan. This helped me to develop insights into the business strategies of some of the key players in both the global and Japanese NGS market.

This process was quite a challenge in the beginning as I was often in a situation where I had found either too much information or too little. So, while I personally found it interesting to learn about new NGS applications from a technical standpoint, I had to always keep in mind to only extract and obtain reliable information that the clients or investors would appreciate and value. Additionally, it was a different style of writing compared to the technical science-based essays that I was more familiar with and practice was key.

Another project that I took up during the internship was to interview diagnostic companies on COVID-19 testing trends. My focus was on Singaporean diagnostic companies as Singapore was recognized to have the highest testing rate among the ASEAN countries. The objective was to assess how the COVID-19 testing market was evolving and how the local companies quickly rose to the challenge of meeting the testing demands in the domestic and international markets.

I conducted 3 insightful interviews with JN Medsys, Veredus Laboratories, and Camtech that were published as articles on AcuBiz’s blog page. Initially, I struggled to secure these interviews as many of my emails and LinkedIn messages were ignored. Nevertheless, I reminded myself to not be fazed by disappointment and to keep trying. The whole process was a great learning opportunity as I developed my communication skills in many aspects. These included how to lead engaging and wide-ranging discussions with senior professionals and how to convert the insights gained into concise and easy-to-read articles. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the inspiring individuals leading these companies and all the discussions I had with them.

One would think that a remote internship would feel very impersonal but mine was the complete opposite. Dr Syamala’s great mentorship and guidance really helped me to learn as much as I could during my 8 weeks with AcuBiz. She imparted her guidance and knowledge by sharing her experiences and I aspire to have the same level of sincerity and passion as her. As much as I appreciated her detailed feedback and constructive criticism of my work, I am most grateful for how she supported and challenged me to step out of my comfort zone – such as being more active in social media as I realized how useful LinkedIn and Twitter can be.

I’d definitely say that you only get as much of out of the opportunity as the effort you put in. Especially in a remote internship, more independence is given so more initiative needs to be taken. When I got distracted, I would keep telling myself that I now have flexible working hours but I came to realize how true it is that ‘work expands to fill the time available for its completion’. So, it was important to keep a healthy work schedule and to manage my time well to be productive.

Looking back over the two months, I enjoyed being able to conduct both primary and secondary research to better understand the NGS and diagnostic markets in the APAC region. I am glad that my remote internship experience was a very fulfilling one due to the nature of work at AcuBiz Consulting and have definitely developed my research and communication skills. I am eager to bring forward what I have learnt to my future experiences.

By Jia Jhing Sia, Market Research Analyst (Summer Remote Intern)

Undergraduate in Biomedical Sciences, University of Oxford, United Kingdom

October 15, 2020

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