An engineer by education, consulting naturally appealed to me – breaking down problems and coming up with actionable/practical solutions. After receiving my bachelor’s degree in engineering back home in India, I worked with a top life sciences consulting firm for five years. My experiences there were focused on helping pharma companies in the commercial operations and analytics space. I wanted to expand my horizons and work on more strategic projects, which is why I decided to go back to business school and get an MBA to enhance my skillsets in strategy, pricing, and finance. Given my passion for life sciences consulting, I was looking for an internship that would provide me with an opportunity to work on strategy consulting in the life sciences industry. CRA was a natural choice because it is well known for market access and commercial strategy projects in the life sciences consulting industry, and I learned that it also does a broad array of litigation, strategy, and policy work.
My main goal coming into the internship was to build upon my previous consulting experience and gain exposure to different kinds of strategy projects. I wanted to broaden my understanding of the US healthcare ecosystem as well. The internship helped achieve this goal in three ways:
First, I had the opportunity to work on two pricing and market access engagements. From the get-go, I was involved in creating research materials, designing analysis, and brainstorming with senior members of the team. Two weeks into my internship, I was presenting analysis to a vice president! This hands-on approach helped me onboard very quickly and understand various nuances of the projects. Being closely involved in the work, I understood how projects were structured and – more importantly – how and when to engage with clients.
Second, CRA provided me with an intellectual and collaborative ecosystem. I was able to learn quickly and put my previous experience to use. CRA is especially unique in that senior members of the team, ranging from associate principals to vice presidents, are hands-on. They are closely involved in the problem-framing and approach-design aspects of projects. Given the close association with project execution, all senior members are very accessible, and I had the opportunity to learn from them directly.
Third, CRA’s internship was very well structured in that onboarding programs, bi-weekly intern cohort meetings, and professional development manager connections were extremely organized. The onboarding program clearly detailed various projects typically run by CRA’s Life Sciences team and various resources available for learning. I found CRA’s internal “iConnect” portal to be very helpful too. Lastly, my professional development manager meetings were beneficial in that I received continuous, actionable feedback on my performance.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my internship at CRA, and it gave me a chance to explore multiple projects in a short time span.
“Try & Hire” internship experience at CRA Zurich amid the COVID-19 pandemic
José Bila is an associate in the Life Sciences Practice based in Zurich. He joined CRA in June 2020 as part of the Swiss “Try & Hire” program, where...