Monday, October 6, 2014

Manasa Parakala - Novartis Summer Internship

“Good things come to those who wait but better things come to those who are patient”.
When I chose Supply Chain Management as my primary specialization, I had to decide on my career path for the next 2 years, 5 years and 10 years. This goal needed to be very clear in my mind, my elevator speech and during my interviews. A good amalgam of improving skill set, perseverance to fare better each time, and passion for science and technology, brought me an offer from a Biopharmaceutical company.
In one word, Novartis found me. I received an offer within 24 hours of solving a case and after surviving an earnest scrutiny by a panel of three interviewers. The role was to be an integral and active part of the Brand Team. It was immensely excited to work for the General Medicines unit of Novartis on a product named TOBI Podhaler. Even more gratifying was the role that gave me opportunities to contribute in a small but significant way to the betterment of lives affected by Cystic Fibrosis. Soon I began learning more about Marketing as well, to gain the best out of my three month summer internship.

The Brand Director, Michael and Associate Director, Katherine trusted me with a lot of responsibility. During my time, I directly worked on five different projects and with 12 different agency partners. My background in science and technology and experience in research helped me identify the scientific and technical nuances vital to improve internal processes. I supported the Brand Team by framing strategies to increase ROI through spend and budget analysis and inventory management, managing and reducing risk by working with Legal, Regulatory and Compliance on crucial projects, and achieving consistency in Brand promotion by designing and promoting educational materials for physicians and patient use. The Team wanted “new eyes” to obtain a fresh perspective on the ongoing work and were glad to have recruited me.

So, what worked? Inherent curiosity to learn more, critical thinking abilities, achieving goals within specified deadlines and posing structured questions at the right time . This is the positive feedback that I received at the end of my final presentation at the cross-functional team meeting. I opine that these qualities also helped me to easily build my network with various teams, units and agency partners working for Novartis.
Amidst all the work, I did find time to enjoy Lunch & Learns organized by the company for all the summer interns. It was vital for each one of us to learn about drug development, drug product naming and also network well with senior professionals. The visit to Novartis’ Manufacturing site was educative too. We interacted with scientific, technical and management functions at the site. I have had the pleasure of knowing some talented individuals from different universities at these events. Together we enjoyed on and off campus meals, coffees, and short walks on the green vast Novartis space.
Overall, my Summer Internship at Novartis has been an enriching experience. Without an iota of doubt, I can say that this experience will help in the furtherance of my career. My ultimate goal is to work in Strategic Sourcing for a Biopharmaceutical company or to work as a Strategic Consultant for a Consulting firm. This semester, I am more confident and will strive further to make this goal achievable.
“The tallest oak in the forest was once just a little nut that held its ground”.


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