From Healthcare to Corporate Strategy (An Eventful Summer Internship Experience)

From Healthcare to Corporate Strategy (An Eventful Summer Internship Experience)

To do some justice to the title, I would like to begin by giving a brief introduction of my experience in healthcare. Prior to Booth I mostly worked in the healthcare space. First at Deloitte for a variety of payer, pharma and provider client and then at a teaching hospital in Nashville as an internal consultant where I worked directly with physicians and used data analytics to improve patient care and safety.

I came to Booth to attain a holistic business understanding and to strengthen my network in the US. Having worked in the healthcare space for four and a half years before coming to Booth, one of my major goals at business school was to explore a new industry. I recruited for consulting and corporate strategy roles simultaneously. While I was networking and considering different opportunities, the corporate strategy role at Cargill caught my attention because both the industry (food and agriculture) and the function (strategy) seemed new and interesting!

The food and agriculture space is witnessing rapid growth and with that growth new problems, such as catering to the needs of the growing population and doing so sustainably. This is exactly what Cargill focuses on. I chose to intern with them over the summer as I wanted to be part of their vision of creating value from the farm to fork!

I had been excited to be in Minneapolis over the summer, but a global pandemic occurred and transformed the way we live and work. My in-person internship was changed to a virtual one. I was extremely apprehensive about this change but, honestly, the experience was better than I envisaged then. Remote work implied increased flexibility. The only missing component was the organic conversations that happen in the hallways and cafeteria. Over the summer, I had a unique opportunity to work on two different projects. On the first one, I formulated a 5-year growth strategy for a $10B business unit where I looked at where to play (customers, geographies to target) and how to win (capability-gap analysis). On the second project, I wrote a white paper on “The Promise of Algae,” for which I analyzed the market and competitor landscape for different applications of algae (biofuel, alternative protein, dietary supplements, cosmetics etc.) and came up with short- and long-term implications for Cargill. Though these projects taught me a variety of skills and lessons, I found three of them very crucial – applying structure to problem solving, dealing with ambiguity, and managing stakeholders.

The learning curve was steep. Thankfully, a few courses that I had taken during my first year at Booth helped ease the learning process. I found myself frequently using concepts from my Competitive Strategy and Financial Accounting classes. Managing in Organizations helped me appreciate and empathize with the others’ points of view. The recruiting team at Cargill also planned a plethora of activities over the summer to keep us interns engaged and motivated. Some of these included mystery coffee chats (in which we were randomly paired with people across Cargill, sometimes from outside corporate strategy), virtual mystery room games, trivia nights, and intern connect sessions.

Overall, I learned a lot, gained new skills, felt valued, and had an eventful summer! Please reach out to me in case you have any questions about corporate strategy roles or the recruiting process.