My Summer Internship Experience with Novartis by Aishwarya Singh

'Chase your dreams with absolute positivity and perseverance' - was my grandfather’s motto, and the mantra that I have always followed. I grew up under the influence of my grandfather, who was a highly successful self-made businessman, running a conglomerate of large businesses. He instilled in me the confidence and courage to persevere my passion towards law.

Motivated by how law could radically improve business, I graduated from NLIU - ranked as fourth best law school of India. Excelling at academics, representing NLIU at moot competitions and publishing articles in national and international journals, I emerged as an all-rounder. My key subjects were business and corporate law.

After graduation, I acquired about 5 years work-experience at law firms, where I led legal teams in representing companies in multi-million dollar supply chain, mergers and acquisition deals. I was also awarded ‘top performer’ at each law firm I worked. I made Junior Partner in a law firm, becoming the only women partner and the youngest law firm partner within that firm. I really enjoyed representing supply chains in legal matters. I was intrigued by how significantly they could impact business of a company. It is amazing how law and business could be so inter-related for supply chains. As partner, I was compelled to not only think from legal but also business perspective.

To further gain a 360-degree perspective on supply chains, I joined EMC Limited as Supply Chain Manager. I was able to implement strategies that improved profitability on vendor spend by 5%. This further provoked my interest in management propelling me towards Penn State University – one of the top business schools in the world for supply chain management.

I have to admit that I was slightly nervous about leaving India. Since I was going to living for the first time away from my home let alone home country, I was a bit overwhelmed. But the warm and friendly ambience of the business school soon made me feel comfortable. With more than 650,000 alumni and over 35% international students, the school offered excellent networking opportunities. The alumni is exceptionally helpful and the second years guided me every step of the way in my internship search. In the first semester itself, I got the opportunity to intern at Novartis. It is one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world and has an exceptional supply chain.

I kick-started my internship in the summer this year in Direct Procurement and Operations role at Novartis, New Jersey, United States. I chose this role because I am passionate about supply chains and want to learn more about them. My internship experience was phenomenal! The procurement summer interns at Novartis were asked to manage real-life cases and the managers were exceptionally supportive.

It was evident that the employees at Novartis were vested in the success of the interns. This was a great internship because the company offered good exposure to projects through which the interns could make substantial impact. We interns also got to connect with wonderful people. Learning from these people was transformational – both professionally and personally.

I ended up making many friends within Novartis and we are making plans to visit the Atlantic city as I type this! During the break-time, we would often play table tennis within Novartis campus – and let us keep this secret! While college resumed on 26th August, I continued to intern part-time at Novartis until 30th September because I really enjoyed the internship. By the end of the internship, I completed review of over 80 contracts Novartis had executed with its key suppliers. The value of these contracts is over $350M. I could also identify additional savings of over $12M in a project involving change in packaging of a drug called Entresto.

In my opinion, an ideal internship should enhance the skills and knowledge in areas of interest of the interns. It should offer networking opportunities with key executives. Such exposure should offer clarity to interns about how to crystalize their career paths. Another important factor is to to enjoy the internship experience. After all, as my grandfather used to say, people rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing!

Looking for more information about Aishwarya's experience with Novartis? Connect with her on Linkedin by clicking here.

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