employee stories

Life as an Client Services Intern

Fishawack Health run an annual summer internship in the US from July to August. Grace Farley and Natalie Seilus joined our Client Services team this summer. Here, they share what drove them to apply for the internship, and what makes work in client services so interesting.

Grace Farley and Natalie Seilus

Client Services InternEast Coast, US

Why did you decide to pursue an internship?

Grace Farley: Before coming to Fishawack Health as a summer intern, I was a full-time student at American University in Washington, DC majoring in strategic communication with a double major in history, and a minor in entrepreneurship, working two part-time jobs. After working the summer of 2020 in the health sphere, I knew that I wanted to expand my understanding of healthcare communication. The company I was previously at was an insurance start-up, so I knew I wanted to explore a new side of healthcare communication that would help me garner a wider and more compressive understanding of healthcare commercialization.

Natalie Seilus: I am a rising senior at Temple University in Philadelphia, majoring in marketing and minoring in public health. I initially chose to major in public health because I wanted to improve the lives of others, but soon realized that it wasn’t the right career path for me. While I felt passionate about the subject matter because I wanted to improve the health status of a population, I had a deep curiosity to understand how successful brands are created. This led me to pursue an internship in the healthcare space that was versatile enough to include marketing, insurance, or pharmaceuticals so I could learn how healthcare and marketing can marry to actively improve patients’ lives.

How did you find out about, and secure, the internship?

GF: When looking for internships for the summer, I really wanted to find one that was in Washington, DC, where I am currently based, but soon realized most of the positions were all virtual. So, I expanded my search to include companies that were offering virtual positions that would allow me to remain at home. This was when I came across Fishawack Health. The option for remote working, along with the organization’s sole focus on healthcare commercialization, drove me to apply for the internship.

NS: Once I set my sights on pursuing an internship in an industry related to healthcare and had begun to narrow down my search to marketing within the field, I found Fishawack Health. It seemed like an immediate perfect match. I knew that my heart would not be in my work if I was marketing just any product—I wanted to work at a company that is actively improving lives through their work. Certainly, this is an indirect route to improve lives, but it is vital to getting information out to stakeholders who need it.

What did you know about Fishawack Health before joining, and how has it changed at the end of your internship?

GF: Prior to my first day at Fishawack Health, I understood that the organization works with a variety of life science companies, from large pharmaceuticals, biotechs and healthcare start-ups, to medical devices and rare diseases. Throughout my internship, I have been exposed to many different accounts and thus different types of companies, products, and therapy areas. The variety has not only made every day different and interesting, but I’ve also been able to see all the different aspects of successfully bringing a product or service to market and helping to maintain that growth post-launch.

NS: Before working at Fishawack Health, I knew that it was a very reputable organization that emphasized the notion of working together in a “pack”. After nearly two months, I can confidently say that this is completely true. Everyone is supportive and has offered a helping hand in every way possible. Prior to this experience, I didn’t know about all the different teams that collaborate to deliver a project to completion, and the dedication needed to take a project from concept to reality. Because so many people contribute to a project, it can take several months to complete it which was eye-opening to see.

What have been your major highlights from your time at Fishawack Health?

GF: My key highlights are different every week. While I do have regular recurring meetings such as daily calls with my cohort of interns to work on the Intern project, every week looks wildly different from the last. Not only do I get to work with great people—I get to expand my scope of work and learn about what goes into a project and pitch. My favorite part is that our cohort of interns have made genuine deep connections, even sharing book recommendations and recipes with each other!

NS: A major highlight of working at Fishawack Health would have to be working on the Intern Project with three other summer interns in our cohort. We aimed to expand the target audience for a well-established redness-relieving eyedrop brand. The project has expanded my understanding of several different skills, including how to lead, stay organized, effectively manage time, and communicate and ask questions effectively.  I wouldn’t have honed these skills as much as I did in this internship without working on this project. In addition, the internship has also given me a tangible deck of slides to add to my portfolio of work to utilize in the future!

What are the key learnings from your experience?

GF: One big takeaway is that no matter how much you sit in a classroom and listen to someone explain how things are done, you learn the most just by doing—especially when it comes to healthcare marketing. I’m pleasantly surprised with the different acronyms and medical jargon that I have become familiar with in the past two months. I truly feel like Fishawack Health has provided a great introduction to the professional realm and has reaffirmed my desire to follow a career in healthcare commercialization.

NS: I learned on my first day that it is so important to ask questions, as clarifying your understanding is key within the learning process. I have heard this at every job and college class that I have taken. However, it really stuck with me in this internship because I have never worked in advertising or with pharmaceutical clients prior to this, so I had plenty of questions to ask, and my colleagues were always happy to help and provide an answer to me.

What is it like doing an internship virtually?

GF: I think that being able to work virtually has emphasized the importance of clear communication and speaking up during opportune moments. My experience with online-only lectures in my last semester at university helped to prepare me for independent work. The biggest downside of working virtually is that outside of meetings, I am alone for most of the day, but I am grateful for the connections I have made with various teams I have worked together with this summer.

NS: The online internship has a learning curve to it. It is challenging to connect with people virtually, so I found that spending time to connect with people has been valuable in building relationships.

What makes the work interesting in client services?

GF: The nature of Fishawack Health’s clients makes the role fascinating. I hadn’t worked in the life sciences industry, particularly with pharmaceutical companies, biotechs, and healthcare start-ups prior to the internship—so grasping the complexity of the industry has been both challenging, and interesting.

NS: A key component to working on an account is advocating for our client’s opinions and ideas. From shadowing account management, I learned that it’s all about being a liaison between the client’s demands, and effectively communicating them to the internal team. Working in the client services team at Fishawack Health has shown me the collaborative effort required when working with external vendors to capture their vision and deliver on projects successfully. As an account intern, I find it interesting to see the mechanisms of translating clients’ opinions, ideas, and feedback into the projects. The day-to-day is almost always unique, but that is what keeps it interesting!

Do you have any advice for future interns?

GF: My advice for future interns is to really jump into your role—and echoing Natalie—ask questions! Healthcare commercialization is a complex space, and the only way to learn is to get down in the weeds and do it. Fishawack Health offers unique experiences that offers a glimpse of the industry. 

NS: To future interns: don’t be afraid to ask questions, express ideas, or concerns. Summer flies by in a blink of an eye so, start planning your ideas early.

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