Internship Experience At AstraZeneca Pharma – Abhay Kakde – IIM Ranchi

I had always been in one city, Bangalore. I was always a home-boy. When I got admission to IIM Ranchi, it was my first time away from home, my first time outside Karnataka. I had spent the entire first year at Ranchi. When my internship at AstraZeneca Pharma was confirmed, I was told that I would be posted at headquarters in Bangalore. It was to be my first visit back home. My parents’ joy knew no bounds! Their son was going to be back!

As I sat at the airport waiting for my flight, I wondered what lay ahead. I was amongst four other interns from top B-schools across India that would be interning there. I was with Strategy and Commercial Excellence. I reached home at 10 in the night. I was to report the very next day.

The next morning, I was nervous as I set foot in the office. Everyone seemed prim and proper. I was warmly welcomed by the HR and introduced to the other interns and my team. I liked the place from the first instant. I had two months to survive!

My first week here consisted of various kinds of training, right from the brand and product knowledge to ethics and compliance. I was then introduced to my project. I had to devise a strategy to enter the institutional business.

I was tasked with making a pan-India hospital database right from scratch. It was going to benefit the entire company. It took me two weeks to make it comprehensive. That was when I was told that I had to go visit doctors in major hospitals across the country. This hit me like lightening! I was given the flexibility to decide on my calls. I was to visit 31 hospitals over 4 weeks across 5 cities – Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Chennai. It would be my first time in the last four. I was super excited!

Then started my fieldwork. I was taken good care of by the company and was provided with the best of hotels and food. I was, however, given a sheet of contact details of the area managers in these cities, and then left to fend for myself.

My fieldwork consisted of me toiling hard during the days. I would have some free time in the evenings to explore these cities. It was an amazing experience in the field. It required a great deal of street-smartness. Some doctors were cooperative in giving me their time. There were some hospitals that would cold-shoulder me. There was also an experience in which I was evicted from a hospital. My heart thump could be heard a kilometre away when this happened.

Coming back to headquarters after my fieldwork, I was welcomed to great raves of my work which made me feel elated. Yes, this internship had been a once in a lifetime experience. Right from the first time when I saw both the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, to feel proud to be an Indian as I saluted India Gate. It was all an amazing learning experience.

IIM Ranchi

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