"The corporate world is a battlefield that does not care where you came from; if you win, you are rewarded"
Summer Internships are perhaps the most hyped activity that every student at any b-school keeps hearing and planning about right from the first day he/she enters into a campus. I was no different and had a lot of dreams and visions to get into an FMCG major and become a Sales God in just a two-month-long stint in some part of India.
Now, every MBA candidate who gets a Sales and Marketing internship would hope to be in the FMCG sector rather than hardcore healthcare. Well, to say the least, I was no different and had similar hopes. You would have guessed the role of fate in this as well by now. As a wise man once said, “Man proposes and God, in his own way, disposes”. All said and done, I was successful in bagging a Sales and Marketing role with Becton Dickinson, a B2B Healthcare giant, in their Medical Delivery Solutions Business Unit at Gurgaon. These two months were an eye-opener in various aspects, be it the actual, real-time functioning of organizations, the corporate lifestyle, or the on-ground sale realities.
BD is a global medical technology company that is advancing the world of health by improving medical discovery, diagnostics and the delivery of care. BD leads in patient and health care worker safety and the technologies that enable medical research and clinical laboratories. The company provides innovative solutions that help advance medical research and genomics, enhance the diagnosis of infectious disease and cancer, improve medication management, promote infection prevention, equip surgical and interventional procedures and support the management of diabetes. As a Fortune 500 company and a global leader in the medical technology industry, BD is committed to hiring summer talent who believe in its core values and who will perform successfully after graduating from the summer internship programs. Becton Dickinson recognizes the importance of attracting MBA talent to drive its innovation and performance and to build its leadership pipeline. It provides MBA recruits with the opportunity to work on critical projects that address some of the world's most compelling problems and strive to improve human health.
Becton Dickinson truly lived up to its reputation of being a progressive organization. My internship was pretty well structured with the first week concentrating on me getting to know the Business Unit I was working on and also each and every detail of our product offerings. This, I believe, is a crucial step for any marketer. Also to my surprise, Medical Delivery Solutions came out to be BD's largest Business Unit with 3.8B in annual revenue.
My project had two major phases which were sequenced so as to produce a scientific approach towards evaluating and providing solutions and recommendations for marketing and positioning our new product.
The first phase was of Market Research wherein I travelled across the length and breadth of Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Chennai to meet and interview more than 50 different stakeholders.
Before delving into the phases, you guys should know a little about my product as well. My deliverable was to provide a solution and a business plan for a new product, BD Radix, as I and my mentor named it, that could solve the problems that arise during documentation and paperwork in any hospital – a new product offering that too directly a case of disruptive innovation!
The research phase gave me a lot of insights regarding the stakeholder’s expectations and the various nuances that differentiated our idea of the product with respect to existing competitors. It was at this point that I understood the relevance of knowing all the Business Research Methods and applications of statistics to derive more accurate results and inferences. My manager assessed my work every two weeks. The positive feedback and suggestion seeded bolts of energy that made me work harder. The work on the field was challenging. Few doctors responded exceptionally well while a few others said a straight ‘no’. It involved waiting for hours until all the patients were treated. The sun watched it all and that made it worse! But the support of the sales team made it all feel like a cakewalk!
The second phase of my project was to evaluate our financial model, a product blueprint and the planning and execution of our first pilot project. This was quite a complicated task as it required identification of relevant parameters on which to evaluate ourselves and our competitors. The positioning of various competitors in this segment was derived on the basis of the stakeholder feedback gathered in the Market Research Phase. In order to better understand the parameter set required, I visited each of the competitors ex-clientele and interacted with the ground sales force to better understand the purchase behaviour.
As my project progressed, I could see patterns emerging from my data on consumer feedbacks and purchase behaviour. It is at this point that I truly understood the importance of a structured approach to market research.
The saga wouldn’t be complete without an insight into the work culture at Becton Dickinson. I can personally vouch for the helpful nature of each colleague I met, be it from any level in the hierarchy. This work culture increases motivation levels and energy in the office to very high levels even when it’s not the month-end and there are no major deals to close.
By the end of my internship, I had conceptualized the product, submitted the concept note for formal approval, created a business plan and drawn the process flow for the pilot run. Accomplished would be a big word, but I was happy with the experience I had gained. One thing I missed was executing the pilot run myself. We cannot stretch time, can we?
For every experience shared, bonds made and the good times I have had while working at BD, it’s now that time when I can say that yes, it’s not over yet - Hashtag PPOed!
Varun Narayanan, Sr.Maketing Manager, MDS, BD
Vishal Taneja, Director, MDS, BD
Saranjit Saluja, Associate Director, MDS, BD