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Life in the Day of our Summer Interns

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Gemma Nash : Project Co-ordinator Gemma Nash
Project Co-ordinator
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Gemma Sophia
gemma 6:30am sophia
Get the train 7:30am
9:00am
11:00am
skype
1:00pm
2:00pm
locating
4:00pm
4:30pm
6:00pm
6:20pm
sophia-bike
7:15pm
trains

gemma_sophie
Gemma and Sophia are interning at Coulter Partners for 8 weeks this summer. They present a typical day in the life of an intern and talk about their background and experience at Coulter Partners.

G: So, why did you decide to do an internship this summer?

S: I’m still at university at the moment and going into my third year and I wanted to do an internship to experience what it’s like to work full time. I hope that it will also help with my module choices for next year and with deciding what to do after university. I’m studying Arts and Sciences, which is a broad course, where I can choose most of my modules. My university UCL is very close to the office so the location is also very convenient for me as I live quite close by.

G: That’s quite similar to me. I have just finished university, having studied English, and I graduated not knowing what career path I wanted to pursue. I decided that I should get some short-term work, particularly office-based work because I thought it was an important environment to experience. As there’s not a straightforward career path with an English degree, I also wanted to do an internship in order to get a taster of different possible professions so that I could learn a variety of new skills without committing to anything permanent.

Why did you decide on Arts and Sciences?

S: I realised that I wanted to study more than just one thing and combine the different things I was interested in. Initially I wanted to study Psychology and Computer Science, so I mainly took Psychology modules and modules that involved working with data and computers. The course has only been running at UCL for a few years and is based on the idea that it is rarely enough to look at things from one perspective. Often when working on a project or solving a specific problem, it is necessary to consider different disciplines, for example an ‘art’ and a ‘science’.

I was glad to see a connection between the arts and sciences throughout the work at Coulter Partners. In addition to scientific expertise, there are many other skills such as communication and language skills that are really important when, for example, communicating with clients, and candidates or when writing job descriptions and reports.

How are you finding the work as it’s so different from what you studied?

G: I’m enjoying doing something that’s completely new to me but am also pleased many of the skills I developed at university have been put to good use at Coulter Partners. You wouldn’t automatically assume that an arts degree would have much use in a life sciences executive search company but the significant emphasis on research in my degree translated very easily to this internship. I’ve found that scientific knowledge is just one part of the job; interpersonal abilities, problem solving, and creativity are equally as important. I was initially worried that I wouldn’t understand the ins-and-outs of the industry but the training we were given at the beginning of the internship was really useful in helping me get to grips with both recruitment and life sciences. You learn the key terminology and protocol very quickly after a few days immersed in the database.

S: Yes, that’s true. I thought it was interesting to hear how the recruitment process works and what the researchers and consultants have to consider when finding candidates for a position. Another thing that I found interesting was to see how the company uses technology to communicate more effectively. As Coulter Partners is a global organisation and has offices in Europe and the US, the use of Skype for Business, Yammer, and the Outlook calendar greatly facilitates the team work. In my first week I, for example, met the people from the office in Frankfurt over Skype to work on a mapping project which I mentioned on the timeline. This was great as I could use my knowledge in German when researching the companies.

G: I’ve been working mostly with the London office but it’s great to know that everyone’s in reach. I think it’s really good that we can play to our strengths: your language skills have come in really useful and I’ve been able to use my editing and research abilities as well. In the last couple of weeks of the internship, I’ve had the chance to learn about the marketing side of the business, having a look at the interviews conducted for the online Coulter:Pulse digital health feature and feeding back my thoughts. I enjoyed the variety of the tasks given to us; from data input to research to marketing, it was great to experience lots of different job responsibilities.

S: I also found learning and experiencing new things really great about the internship such as getting used to sending emails, working independently, and asking for help or feedback. My favourite thing that I got to do was the data visualization project because I learned about a new data visualisation software which I think will also be really useful for any future projects. I also loved the park opposite of the office which is great to have lunch in.

G: I agree. I really liked the fact that Coulter Partners gave us the freedom to work independently but were also always there when we needed assistance or just someone to talk things over with. You get the feeling that you are a part of the team and I really appreciated it when people took the time to teach us about aspects of the business I had never considered before. By learning about things like the executive search process, psychometric assessments, and what new life science trends are emerging, I was able to understand an industry I knew nothing about a lot more clearly.

What are your plans for the future?

S: I haven’t decided what I want to do after university but I’m still interested in working with data. Since my degree is so broad, I think I would like to do a Master’s degree to specialize a bit more in one area. I think it would also be great to do more internships after university, to get to know different companies and jobs and get a greater insight into different career paths. I would also love to travel for a while after finishing university.

G: Likewise, I’m still unsure of what career path I want to take. I would ideally like to do something related to literature such as working in the publishing industry as it feels like a natural fit with my degree but this internship experience has taught me that I don’t need to be so narrow in my job search. Coulter Partners has been very generous to me in asking me to stay on and work at the company whilst I figure out my next move. I will be taking on some project administration responsibilities in addition to database work and am excited to try something new.

Zubair’s Feedback

Business today is an ever changing environment and we need to make sure we are at the cutting edge of technology for the benefit of both candidates and our valued clients. Sophia and Gemma have brought a fresh pair of eyes to our internal database, new perspectives on how we can improve our systems and have also helped refresh our ever growing networks. They have added value and quality to our mapping strategies for talent internationally.

As I live outside of London, I tend to wake up at around 6:30am in order to catch a train into Kings Cross station which takes about half an hour. From there, it’s a quick 20 minute walk down Gray’s Inn Road to reach the Coulter Partners offices for about 8:45.
I usually wake up at around 7:30, have breakfast and get ready. I then ride my bike to work, which only takes about 15 minutes.
Because I have a bit of time before the 9am start, I usually get a cup of tea from the kitchen and check my emails as well as the Coulter Partners Yammer feed to catch up on anything I missed from the previous day.
When I arrive I lock my bike outside the office and take the elevator to the 4th floor.
We have both been given the job of adding speakers to the database from any conference that Coulter Partners have been invited to. We first check to see if they are already on the database and update any information not already on each person’s profile. Then we input any new names onto the system. We usually search for relevant information on LinkedIn, or on the speaker’s company website. Often the conference agenda also gives some information on the speakers. The most important part of the job is to log the people as speakers, creating a unique search phrase for each conference (such as ‘Biotech Conference 2016’) so that, when this phrase is later searched on the database, a complete list of speakers comes up.
We have both been given the job of adding speakers to the database from any conference that Coulter Partners have been invited to. We first check to see if they are already on the database and update any information not already on each person’s profile. Then we input any new names onto the system. We usually search for relevant information on LinkedIn, or on the speaker’s company website. Often the conference agenda also gives some information on the speakers. The most important part of the job is to log the people as speakers, creating a unique search phrase for each conference (such as ‘Biotech Conference 2016’) so that, when this phrase is later searched on the database, a complete list of speakers comes up.
While Boston is known as the US’ biotech hub, New Jersey is recognized as the capital of the country’s pharmaceutical industry and this is why Coulter Partners’ US offices are located in these two locations. One of our tasks is therefore to focus on this key area of New Jersey, expanding the company’s coverage by checking that the pharma and biotech companies are mapped on the database and adding any new information such as new locations or recent changes to the management teams. We also concentrate on locating any new companies in the state and coding them correctly and comprehensively along with their executive teams.
One of my projects is to help the team in Germany map some companies in the DACH region. I communicated with them over Skype which worked really well and I could also speak German with them. I have been given a list of companies for which my task is to check if the company is on the system, add the correct locations, and create a log so it is easy to find the list of companies afterwards.
Gemma and I usually go for lunch together at around 1 and sit in the park opposite the office if it’s nice weather. If we haven’t made our own lunch we sometimes get it from one of the nearby shops or the market on Leather Lane which is close by and has amazing food. We also now have a loyalty card from the bakery around the corner in case we ever fancy a sweet treat.
One of the first things that needs to be done when a job search is started is to create a longlist of potential candidates for the role. I was asked to contribute to the longlist for a Chief Financial Officer search by going through a list of public companies and locating their CFO or Finance Director. After locating them, I either add them to the database or update any existing information about them already there and then add them to the assignment longlist. Once this longlist has been formed, the next step is for the researchers to make contact with anyone on there who fits the job description.
As the market is constantly changing due to people changing jobs, companies merging, or new companies being established, there is a constant need to replenish existing data. We work extensively on the database to ensure that any new information is recorded and existing data is coded so that it is easily searchable and can be used to identify possible candidates.
We were offered the chance to sit in on the researchers’ monthly update meeting where the researchers from all of the Coulter Partners offices fill everyone in on the projects they are currently working on. As well as keeping all the researchers up-to-date, it is a chance for anyone to ask if they need any support on any job searches or if there is any new business coming in. It was a great opportunity for us to see the variety of searches that they are working on and also how they are always willing to work together and offer suggestions when needed.
We were offered the chance to sit in on the researchers’ monthly update meeting where the researchers from all of the Coulter Partners offices fill everyone in on the projects they are currently working on. As well as keeping all the researchers up-to-date, it is a chance for anyone to ask if they need any support on any job searches or if there is any new business coming in. It was a great opportunity for us to see the variety of searches that they are working on and also how they are always willing to work together and offer suggestions when needed.
Because I have just finished up a degree in English, I was offered the chance to help out with the marketing side of the business. The Coulter Partners website has a section called Coulter:Pulse where the company writes about exciting areas of the life sciences such as immuno-oncology or medical technology and talks to experts, as well as members of the CP team, to gain insight into the field. The most recent edition is on the theme of digital health where I am looking over and proofing an interview with a digital health company executive and going over my notes with the PR and Marketing Manager, Alison James. It is a great opportunity to use my writing and editing skills as well as learn about emerging innovations in the life sciences.
For the data visualisation project that I’m working on, I am analysing some of the data in the database by making different types of graphs with a data visualisation program. The program can connect to the database directly, and by joining different database tables, you can then create the data source for further analysis. I mainly focus on the assignment statistics and the location of the companies that are on the database. I, for example, created a map showing the location of companies that Coulter Partners has worked with to show the global distribution. Additionally, it was interesting to analyse what type of people are on the database, for example, by analysing the distribution across different industries and qualifications.
After leaving work at around 6pm I arrive home at 6:20pm and, after changing, usually make my dinner.
I leave work at around 6pm and walk to Kings Cross to catch a train out of London, usually getting home for around 7:15pm.

 
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