My name is Amy Marks, and I am pursing a dual degree in the MBA/MA program with a specialization in Supply Chain Management. I was a Data Scientist Intern at Pfizer primarily responsible for improving the Supply Chain of pharmaceuticals through predictive analytics and machine learning algorithm improvement. During my time with Pfizer, I worked on a specific project in text mining through Latent Dirichlet Allocation and Natural Language Processing – in other words, I built models based on data in text format rather than numeric. In addition, I was responsible for building an interactive dashboard so that departments could interact with my findings independently based on their needs. My work allowed my team to quickly identify trends, patterns and areas in need of improvement and then communicate the results to the respective departments.
My internship directly supported my goal of improving access to medicine and vaccines in developing countries. Among its many global initiatives, Pfizer has a pledge to the Developing World under the Advance Market Commitment. Under the Gavi Vaccine Alliance, Pfizer has pledged to supply up to 740 million vaccinations to infants and young children in Gavi-eligible countries through 2025. This is only possible through sound supply chains, which are improved through data analytics.
My coursework equipped me with the basic skills and knowledge, but application in the real-life professional world can be challenging. Pfizer is an extremely fast paced, forward-thinking company; to keep up with everything going on around me was a big difficulty. However, I met the challenge by completing diligent research on topics before meetings, learning the big picture of specific projects, and, most importantly, identifying and improving on my personal strengths that could propel the company forward.
The most rewarding part of my internship was gaining exposure to a variety of business operations. I had the opportunity to tour research, manufacturing and quality assurance labs throughout the company’s various locations. I attended weekly learning sessions that provided information on the ongoing projects outside my field of study. I also attended multiple events that provided a variety of networking opportunities, including volunteering at a local park, meeting after-hours for team bonding, and attending various workshops. Furthermore, I was included on daily conference calls and meetings, which were extremely beneficial in experiencing how global operations are managed in a business setting.
My biggest takeaway from this experience was the importance of getting involved, taking initiative, and identifying the strengths that you can offer. It is much easier to remain in your comfort zone or to quickly be overwhelmed by the jobs’ expectations, or by all of the activity going on around you. However, every person working on a project contributes in one way or another, and it is imperative to be self-aware of what you have to offer, what you can learn and how you can apply it. This allows you to not only gain skills, but to increase your own confidence, network with professionals, and highlight your value as a potential future employee.
I recommend this internship for students interested in business as well as the unique position of pharmaceuticals to improve the world through the direct production and development of sustainable medicines and vaccinations. It was a truly unique experience.