By Amanda Sulkosky,
Stillman News Writer
Lauren Gutowski is a junior, double majoring in finance and marketing. She is from Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey. On campus, she is a brother of the Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity. In her free time, she enjoys writing, going hiking, and boating. This past summer, she had the opportunity to intern at Novo Nordisk in compliance.
The Stillman Exchange team interviewed her to learn more about her internship experience at Novo Nordisk.
Q: What were your responsibilities as an intern?
A: I worked in the Compliance department on the Transparency & Federal Reporting team at the pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk. I audited expenses from our field employees to ensure we reported accurate numbers to the federal government. This is important because pharmaceutical companies must abide by the Sunshine Act and PhRMA Code standards to ensure a transparent financial relationship in the industry. I then coordinated necessary expense corrections with field employees in order to enhance accuracy within Novo Nordisk’s federal reporting process.
I also investigated healthcare provider licensing data to ensure all required data attributes were assigned in the customer master. I met my objectives using systems such as Concur Solutions, Aggregate Spend 360, SAP and MedPro. All the interns were divided into separate teams and were required to complete a project tackling a real life healthcare issue then provide a strong solution. I worked on a team where we developed an effective initiative to increase the consistency of obesity treatment practices and access to treatment options.
We created an interface program aimed towards healthcare physicians that calculates a patient’s numerical risk of developing diseases attributed to a body mass index above 25. We presented this project to company executives.
Q: Why did you choose to apply for an internship at Novo Nordisk?
A: Months before I applied for the internship, I was not 100% sure what industry I wanted to pursue a career in. Working in marketing for a professional sports team peaked my interest at first but then I did my research and found pharmaceuticals to be fascinating.
I applied specifically to Novo Nordisk because their internship program is absolutely fantastic. We participated in a lot of fun company trainings throughout the internship that taught me how to complete work more efficiently and “think outside the box”.
We were also placed into a mentorship program with an experienced employee at the company to further advance the interns as business professionals. Talent Acquisition (the department that ran the internship program) was a big fan of us networking with a variety of different departments to learn more about what they do.
I knew Novo Nordisk had a well-established internship program and I wanted to be a part of it to grow as a professional. Because of all the activities I could do aside from my desk work, I was never bored!
Q: How did you go about getting the internship?
A: When I knew I was interested in pharmaceuticals, I reached out to my cousin (who worked at the company) to see if Novo Nordisk offered summer internships to undergraduates. After I applied, human resources (HR) reached out to schedule a phone interview with me. Then I was invited to a second interview at the company’s headquarters for a face-to-face interview shortly after. I did not hear back about whether I’d receive an offer or not so I reached out to my initial HR contact about a week later. She kept me in the loop until I accepted the offer 3 weeks after my last interview.
Q: What was the most valuable skill that you learned while interning?
A: I learned how to network like crazy! Novo Nordisk taught me how to meet new people with careers that I may be interested in and remain in contact with them. This is one of my favorite skills because being able to make strong connections with professionals is important for gaining more knowledge about an area of work or for possible career opportunities sometime in your future.
Q: How was learning in a work environment different than learning in a classroom?
A: When you are struggling with a concept you did not understand in class, you could go to the professor for extra help in their office hours; this is not a luxury at most companies. My manager was always very busy and did not have extra time set aside to go over what she tried to teach me for a second time. This is why it is crucial to ask all the questions you have the first time you are learning something new.
Q: What was the company culture like?
A: It was absolutely amazing. Novo Nordisk is very attentive to their Triple Bottom Line where they view caring for society as a whole drives their success. They are always searching for ways to make their medicine more accessible to the rest of the world. Their business practices are always focused on bettering the patient’s life and these motivations were shown when I interacted with long-term employees. All goals were set towards helping the patients.
Q: What were some skills that you learned at Seton Hall that you used in your internship?
A: College made me into a better note taker, which was very helpful for meetings or collecting information I could use for my assignments. I took a persuasive speaking class the semester before my internship and it prepared me well for the presentation I gave to the company executives; I became a better public speaker at Seton Hall. All the Excel tricks I learned during my classes at school helped BIG TIME when it came to completing tasks. An important skill that students learn but gets overlooked often is time management. Juggling a couple projects at once during the internship was not stressful because Seton Hall taught me how to budget my time with class assignments.
Q: What advice would you give to students who are actively searching for internships?
A: I would say to really focus on the experience you want to gain from an internship and to make sure you give it your all when on the job. Every day should be a window of new growth and opportunities to make yourself better. Always be working on something and asking if other employees need help on a project. Employers love an intern who has a great attitude towards working hard. Never find yourself with little to do at work because there is always something you can help with.
Q: What is next for you in your career?
A: I plan to gain more experience at the company interning in an area of their marketing/sales department. This will help me get one step closer towards becoming a pharmaceutical sales representative when I graduate from Seton Hall University.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, January 24th print edition.
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