Justin Miller interned with Cold Chain Technologies, a healthcare supply chain company, expanding his marketing and data management skills.
Why did you choose this internship?
I thought this experience in marketing would be a chance to expand my skills and knowledge base because this company serves the pharmaceutical industry and makes products I was not familiar with before my internship began. I also chose it because of the experience my brother had working there in engineering the summer before. He said the team environment was very strong and that the managers are very friendly and approachable. I also liked the fact that this company was instrumental in COVID vaccine delivery. Making a contribution at a global level inspired me to seek out this opportunity.
What kind of work did you do throughout your internship experience and what skills did you develop?
Every week I attended marketing meetings and meeting with mentors who explained their areas of expertise. In several of these meetings we discussed the company’s social media strategy, something I am very interested in. In this way, I learned about best practices in marketing.
Another more technical skill I developed was my Excel skills since we used the platform to handle all data. I had used it in some of my college classes, but I learned how powerful it is for informing decision-making. I don’t think I have even touched the depth of Excel but this internship has made me appreciate this skill in a big way. In fact, the most significant contribution I made was to organize, audit, and move thousands of files from one platform into Excel. The projects I was assigned seemed huge and intimidating at first, but after doing 10,000 files for my first project, everything became easier. It is funny how fear can make a person believe some things are too difficult to take on.
What was your favorite part of your internship?
My most favorite part was socializing with people who had many more years of experience than me and being accepted as an important part of the team. I came into this company only knowing what was on their website, but managers treated me as if I had a contribution to make which made me feel very good. Strong social skills are something I really value and this experience helped me expand them. I feel great that I have learned how to better engage in team meetings and how to present my work to leadership.
What did you find challenging about your internship?
The most challenging thing about the internship was learning how to manage time on the days I worked from home. I work best in an environment that is quiet with minimal distractions. Working from home was not my ideal environment, but it made me appreciate how hard it was for people to adjust to this environment at the beginning of the COVID pandemic. I prefer to go into the office in order to work alongside people. It felt isolating to be only communicating by email on those work from home days, but I did get to demonstrate my adaptability.
What advice do you have for other students as they begin their internship?
For someone who is just launching their career, it is all about mindset. I learned that it is not about how smart you are, it is your attitude toward learning. Go into your internship every day ready to learn as much as you can. Do that by being curious, asking questions, and looking for opportunities to engage. Finally, never let yourself think that you cannot do a project because it looks too intimidating at the outset. Dive into it, learn from your mistakes, and keep persisting!