Classes started the other week and I am settling into the busy hum of case studies, student club events and catching up with classmates. Each conversation is a new opportunity to reflect upon my summer experience. Looking back, my time at Danaher was an intense period of learning, action and self-discovery. I got a glimpse of how Danaher operated through the lens of Beckman Coulter, an operating company. I scratched the surface of the healthcare and diagnostics industry and put theory to practice with lots of customer interactions.
The second year at HBS is a wonderful time because we can choose classes of interest. I discovered a newfound curiosity in healthcare this summer and decided to change my course selection to include Healthcare IT. Since my project at Danaher brought me in close working relations with the marketing and sales team, I’ve become very interested in B2B marketing and sales operations. I plan to audit Business Marketing & Sales, one of the classes that focus on exactly that. In the Winter term, I will be taking Building and Sustaining a Successful Enterprise (BSSE) and General Management: Action and Processes to further my understanding of general management.
As I embark on this next stage of learning and discovery, I am certain that my summer experience at Danaher will provide a valuable benchmark and perspective.
-Gong Ke, MBA 2015
Today is the last day of my summer internship. My work is done – all the i’s are dotted and all the t’s are crossed, and my desk shows little sign that I have used it for the past 11 weeks. I have always hated endings. That isn’t to say that it doesn’t feel great to have finally stopped revising my PowerPoint deck and to have presented my work to the project leaders – the sense of completion and accomplishment is very real and gratifying. But it’s hard to say goodbye, to the project and the people. I have spent so much time with both this summer that they’ve become a part of my story and I a part of theirs, and it’s surreal to know that I won’t have a voice during the next phases of OPENPediatrics or at the next department happy hour.
Endings have gotten easier as I have gotten older, as I’ve figured out how to keep in touch and how to let go, but they are still something I dislike. To make today palatable, I am focusing on the positives: I have made a meaningful contribution to an ambitious and righteous project, I have deepened my connection to the Boston healthcare scene, I have made good and true friends, and I have applied skills learned at HBS to the real world. All in all, I’d have to say I couldn’t have asked for much more from a summer vacation.
– Julie Whorton, MBA 2014
As my internship winds down, this is a question I find myself being asked with increasing frequency. It’s an innocent enough question and is usually asked with genuine interest and thoughtfulness. It’s also a perfectly fair question. It’s not as though I haven’t given this thought – I came to HBS with a career plan that I have regularly reexamined and reconsidered as I discussed cases, talked with my peers and professors, and broadened my healthcare worldview. But despite all this, I feel my blood pressure rise whenever I get ‘The Question.’ What if I answer “wrong”? Should I be broad or narrow in my response? Am I closing myself out of an opportunity here if I don’t automatically reply that I’d like to explore full-time opportunities at the hospital? Am I sure I want to go back to California next May, or am I just homesick today? How can I appear strong and decisive, yet still give an indecisive response?
After panicking the first few times, I sat down and thought through a response that is open-ended but that also highlights my thought-process on the subject and learnings to-date. Only time will tell whether this response is the “right” answer to give, but I can say this with certainty: the response is entirely genuine and true to who I am, both as a budding professional and as an individual. And really, what more can I ask of myself than that
– Julie Whorton, MBA 2014
In my sixth week on the job, I finally got my first voicemail: “Hey Julie, it’s Erik. I just got out of a meeting and I’ve got a little side project for you, if you’re interested. Shouldn’t be more than a couple of days – would be a great learning opportunity. I’m heading back up to the office now, will stop by to tell you about it.” [Click]
Pretty cryptic, all things considered, but one thing was certain: if your boss calls and says there’s a side project he’d like you to work on, your involvement is not contingent upon your level of interest regardless of whether he used the word “if.” Armed with a thumb drive laden with PowerPoint decks and Excel files, I will take a new morning commute tomorrow to a new office with a new boss and begin a two-day stint lending a hand on this side project.
Who knew I’d get two internships for the price of one?
– Julie Whorton, MBA 2014
This summer I am developing a business plan for an online learning community. Last week, the software company that is developing the architecture for the platform came to discuss V1 with the powers that be. I got to sit-in at the meetings, both the mostly closed-door meeting and the broad audience road-show. I understood that while my presence was requested, I was not the target audience – I was there to listen and absorb. I preformed my role admirably. I listened attentively and unobtrusively, introduced myself to those around me, and meticulously detailed out my questions and concerns the next day for my boss.
Today I met with a particular senior executive for the first time. When he learned I had been at the two software meetings, he mentioned that he hadn’t realized I was there. I smiled in spite of myself. I smiled because I had certainly noticed him – I was quite jealous of his proximity to the cheese plate and the several trips he made there during one two-hour meeting – and because I had just finished Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, in which she spends the better part of a chapter imploring young women to take a seat at the table. I had sat in a chair against the side wall. So this afternoon when my department held its biweekly in-house training session, I – a lowly summer intern – took a seat at the table, relegating full-fledged staff members to the side chairs. Did it matter that I sat at the table during a fairly casual training for the department? Who knows. But I’ll bet you a batch of cookies my boss noticed I was there.
– Julie Whorton, MBA 2014
Walking into the lobby to complete all the necessary pre-employment paperwork, etc., I felt an unexpected sense of homecoming. I’d forgotten how much I liked hospitals. Go ahead, baulk. Call me crazy, say it’s not normal. I’m used to that. I know that to many, hospitals are scary, filled with disease and sickness – but to me, hospitals are powerfully human and fascinatingly complex. I loved that the cases in the first-year forced me into different industries, from retail to insurance, from tech to mining, from Pixar to the Greek debt crisis – but man, it felt good to be home. Imagine my surprise, then, when throughout my first week on the job all I could think was, “This is just like we talked about in [insert the name of any first-year course].” I am not being hyperbolic. Class discussions regularly come to mind as I sit in meetings, talk with colleagues and try to build the business model that will be my final work product. It’s both comforting and intimidating to realize I’ve been given the tools I need to be successful in my assignment – I just hope I do them justice. I guess I shouldn’t have put my cases in storage for the summer.
-Julie Whorton, MBA 2014