For every science student, an internship is a crucial part of our undergraduate studies, as we can apply the knowledge and technical skills learned from our studies to real industrial work. Most biotechnology students tend to look for laboratory-based internships. However, I wanted to grab this opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and explore potential career prospects in the business sector. When I came across AcuBiz, I was intrigued by a business consulting job with a background in life sciences. Although the concept was completely foreign to me, it seemed to be a good platform to leverage my scientific knowledge while learning new things related to business. Thus I began my internship at AcuBiz – which in the end became one of the most rewarding learning experiences I ever had.
During this 3-month long internship, I was mainly involved in researching the NGS market in China. Initially, I felt overwhelmed by a large amount of information, on top of learning unfamiliar business technicalities in the biotech industry. Although it was challenging, I trusted my learning abilities and committed to picking up what was taught to me. One of the key lessons I learned was to maintain clarity in doing any research work. It was also emphasized to me to always think from a client’s perspective, and only extract valuable information that would benefit clients in the report. With that concept in mind, I was able to proceed smoothly with my work and manage information overload effectively.
Being involved in the NGS Market in China project has also exposed me to the process of conducting market research, as well as gain more insights regarding the NGS industry. I learned that the NGS market is made up of multiple segments, whereby one can know more by analysing the market size, market drivers and restraints, regulatory landscape, industry competitors, etc. These industry insights are essential for potential investors or scientists who want to place their products on the market, therefore being a business consultant with a biotech background is definitely a good choice, especially in the present era where science and technology are advancing at a very fast pace.
I was assigned to conduct both primary research and secondary research. While secondary research deals with knowledge related to the NGS industry, primary research involves connecting with business associates in China to acquire industry insider information. This is where social media comes into play, as a strong social media presence will have a higher chance of attracting good prospects. By reading scientific-based articles and posting them on Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter not only enhance the credibility of my social media profile for people networking but also greatly improved my reading and technical writing skills. Unexpectedly, the latest advancements happening in biotechnology has even deepened my interest in this field, making me rediscover my passion for science once again!
One of the unique aspects of my internship was working on a remote basis due to COVID-19 concerns. While it sounds ideal to every employee, remote work has its pros and cons. It saves the hassle of making myself presentable and commuting to the office, but it also results in absence of division between work and leisure. Hence, when I find myself easily distracted from work, I had to remind myself not to waste this valuable learning opportunity and make the most out of this internship.
Although I was unable to experience working in an office environment, my remote learning experience was no lesser compared to that of a physical internship, all thanks to Dr. Syamala’s dedicated guidance and support. Instead of being a workplace supervisor, Dr. Syamala is more like a personal mentor and gives insightful advice based on her real-life experiences. Her professional expertise plus comforting presence has certainly made me feel that learning and working at AcuBiz is a pleasant experience.
Neale Walsch once said, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone,”. It hadn’t occurred to me the true meaning of this quote until I ventured out of my familiar bubble, and I am now starting to discover new possibilities in an area that was previously so unknown to me. It was an extremely fulfilling internship experience at AcuBiz. Other than widening my perspective towards potential biotech careers, the nature of business consulting has helped immensely in developing my communication and interpersonal skills. I am glad to have braved myself to get out of my comfort zone and will apply this newfound knowledge to my future endeavors.
By Nicole Lim, Market Research Analyst (Remote Intern)
Undergraduate in Biotechnology, University Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR), Malaysia