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employee stories

Life as a Commercial Strategy Intern

Shivaani | Commercial Strategy Intern | London, UK | 9/15/2023

Shivaani joined our Consulting team as a UK Commercial Strategy summer intern. Here, she shares her experience working at Avalere Health and offers advice to future interns.

What led you to this opportunity?

When I began my first year of studies at UCL, I was excited to dive into the interdisciplinary world of biomedical sciences. Through the years, the passion I developed towards fields such as neuroscience and immunology confirmed my desire to remain within the life sciences industry beyond my degree. I was looking for an opportunity to apply my scientific knowledge in a client-facing role—one in which the topics I studied could be translated to a tangible impact on patients and healthcare at large.

During a LinkedIn deep dive, I came across a post for the commercial strategy role within the summer internship program at Avalere Health. In researching the company’s mission, the value of this opportunity became quickly apparent: the chance to work at the forefront of the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and wellness industries and kick-start a commercial outlook, prior to my Master’s degree in International Health Management at Imperial College London. I wasted no time in preparing an application and was thrilled to find out I was accepted into the program.

What did you know about commercial strategy before joining Avalere Health and how has that changed because of your internship?

Before joining Avalere Health, my perception of this industry was limited to market research and the promotion of pharmaceutical products post-launch. I quickly realized that this was only the tip of the iceberg. In contributing to various projects within consulting and engaging with other capabilities in the company, it became evident that Avalere Health’s offering covers all the stages across a product lifecycle. I learned that a successful project involves looking beyond the pharmaceutical company, to include stakeholders such as healthcare professionals and patients that our clients serve—and this allows us to maintain a critical patient-centric perspective.

What does a typical day as a Commercial Strategy intern look like?

Each day of my internship has been different from the one before. I typically start my day by sending or following up on any messages from the previous day—this is especially important when working with teams in different time zones. My schedule tends to be determined by the meetings booked for the day, of which there are usually quite a few! Based on this schedule, I will dedicate any remaining time to my ongoing projects, which may involve collaborative discussions or independent work.

What have been the highlights of your internship?

Reflecting on my journey with Avalere Health, there have been numerous highlights as well as learning points. The first highlight that comes to mind was attending my first professional workshop—meeting clients and having meaningful, open discussions enabled me to think critically about different aspects of healthcare delivery.

Another highlight was my first time in the London office. Being a remote internship, it was amazing to be able to experience an office environment, where the company culture really shines. Thursday socials on the office terrace were an added bonus, especially on sunny days!

How has this journey helped build your career aspirations, and what have you learned along the way?

This internship has confirmed my desire to work in the healthcare sector and highlighted the roles a science graduate can pursue outside of academia and a lab. As a strategic consultant, a scientific background is not compulsory but proves to be a useful foundation in understanding a disease and its treatment. Following this experience, I have an invaluable perspective on the ins and outs of life sciences consulting and am excited to pursue a career in this field.

What advice do you have for future interns?

I would advise any future interns to make the most of this opportunity. Avalere Health has so much to offer both in providing hands-on experience in the role and the industry and progressing your overarching career development including dedicated platforms through which you can explore and develop a career path, study specific courses, and request a mentor.

Another tip is to stay up-to-date with the biopharmaceutical industry by reading the latest news and opinion pieces. Finally, listen and speak to as many people as possible—learning about why people have made certain career choices is possibly the best way to inspire your own.

Learn more

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