The most important and value adding sixty days of my life at Merck Pharmaceuticals, says Priyanka Hadawale from Welingkar, Mumbai

Internship experience at Merck Pharmaceuticals by Priyanka Hadawale, Welingkar Institute of Management Development & Research, Mumbai

I did my Summer Internship with Merck Sharp and Dohme (Known as MSD). MSD is the trade name for Merck & Co. Inc., headquartered in Whitehouse Station, N.J, U.S.A. Merck has a diversified portfolio of offerings like prescription medicines, vaccines and animal and consumer health products. It presently has approximately 106,000 employees and operates in more than 140 countries around the world.

My internship journey started with an e-mail from MSD asking for resumes of students who were interested in HR internship. Out of all the students who had applied, they shortlisted 14 of them. This was followed by an interview at their Head Office in Mumbai.  All the students were given different time slots for the interview process and it was conducted quite smoothly. My interview was taken by the HR-Business Partner at MSD. The questions revolved around my past work experience, areas of interest in Human Resource, projects undertaken, extra-curricular, and so on. The interview lasted for about 25-30 minutes and it went extremely well for me. I was expecting a positive response from MSD and it did turn out to be in my favour. The results were declared after a month and I was the only student who got selected from Welingkar Institute of Management Development and Research. I was ecstatic and excited to take this opportunity.

The internship commenced on 2nd May 2014 at their Head Office in Bandra Kurla Complex. I was informed couple of days earlier that my Project Guide would not be available on the first day as he was on a business trip so there would be another Guide (from the HR Team ) who would assist me  on day 1. After reporting to the office, followed by a small introduction with my guide, she took me on a company tour and showed me all the departments, the cafeteria and other important details that may be useful in the two months of internship. I was also assigned a cubicle to sit. My guide explained to me the organization structure, gave an overview of the HR team and informed me regarding the projects I would be doing during these two months.

She then took me to the cafeteria and had lunch with me so that I could feel comfortable on my first day at work. This made me really happy. Post Lunch, I was told to read about MSD and the pharmacy industry in general. As I belonged to an IT background, understanding their business was a bit challenging on Day-1 but I was confident that things would fall in place in the coming days. Day one ended with a lot of excitement and curiosity.
I met my Project guide on day-2. He again gave me an overview of the organization and informed me about the projects I would be doing and their importance to MSD. Since he was from an engineering background, he also shared some of his experiences which were quite interesting. This was the start of a Mentor – Mentee relationship between us. Apart from the projects, my guide would often advise me on the books to read and other important things I should learn as a future Human Resource Professional. I also went through a formal induction program where I was briefed about company’s vision, mission, history, core values, different products and also the do’s and don’ts in the company premises.

I was fortunate to work on three live projects at MSD. All the three projects were for the Medical Affairs Team of MSD. The Medical Affairs Team is a vital sector at MSD in providing hospital consultants, Key Opinion Leaders (KOL’s), regulatory agencies and healthcare professionals with scientific and medical information relating to the value and correct usage of the products.

The following were the three Projects which I undertook
Training and Development
The project scope included:
-Identifying the soft skills and behavioural skills needed by the Medical Specialists
-Identifying the virtual resources available at MSD for Training on “Soft Skills”.
-Recommending a “Development Curriculum” for Soft Skills training of the Medical Specialists within 0-3 years of their tenure at MSD.
Performance Management of the Medical Specialists and Lead Medical Specialists
The project scope included:
-Understanding the performance objectives of the Medical Specialists across the therapy areas.
-Identifying the common link between these objectives.
-Recommending a standard feedback assessment form for Medical Specialists across all therapy areas by studying their job descriptions, interacting with the therapy heads.
Employee Engagement initiative for the Medical Affairs Team.
The project scope included:
-Understanding the employee engagement activity for medical affairs Team.
-Interacting with the Medical Affairs Team to know their expectations.
-Providing recommendations for the event on how to improve it further.
-Developing a Standard Operating Process(SOP) Manual to standardize the planning process.
Apart from these three major projects, I also worked on few additional minor projects for the HR-Team. In addition to this, I was provided with an overview of the Recruitment and Selection Process at MSD. One particular incident which was really heart touching and very special was when I had my Final Presentation with the Head of the Medical Affairs Team and the Human Resource Head of MSD. They were extremely happy with my work and complimented me for the contribution I had made for their organization.

The entire HR team at MSD was very helpful and encouraging and made me feel part of the organization right from day-1. Since I had an IT background, this internship provided me an overview of the Pharmacy Industry. I could note the differences in their work culture, business philosophy etc. At the end of two months I have an experience of these two major sectors of our economy which has added value to my knowledge and understanding.

My advice for the MBA aspirants would be
-Develop important job skills such as leadership, decision making, team player, and critical reasoning.
-Pursuing an MBA degree requires more understanding about the particular subject for which you must read different books and study materials. It is important that you work on your communication skills.
-Always use the right approach to maintain work-life balance.
-On completion of the course, choose your job wisely. For instance, if you are not interested in much travelling, check the job description before accepting the offer.
Always remember, graduating from a business school is the creation of a future manager who contributes towards the development of the society in one form or the other.

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The most important and value adding sixty days of my life at Merck Pharmaceuticals, says Priyanka Hadawale from Welingkar, Mumbai

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