Winter Internship Experience at GlaxoSmithKline Pharamaceuticals Limited

Mon, Feb 29, 2016

Internship Experience

As a fresher who has never seen an office, I always dreamt of working for a big brand, attending meetings and taking valuable decisions. I used to think how great it must feel to take decisions for a much followed products like Horlicks, Maggi etc but with these thoughts the doubt of ever being associated with such a product also used to cross my mind, after all there are only hundreds of such products and the people who want to be associated with them are uncountable. Call it a good fortune or God’s grace I got my dream fulfilled in my very first stint. On my first day as I reached the office, my nervousness was taking a toll on me, I had no clue how next one month will turn out for me, what my manager will be like and how will I interact with the experienced people with whom I am going to work on project. As I reached the reception I saw a huge office, soft English music was being played and lot of people were entering the security gates, it all looked like the one I have always imagined. I was asked to wait and soon a young lady came to receive me, I was taken to the waiting room where my manager and his manager came to meet me, “Hi, Ishaan I am going to be your manager and he is my boss, Welcome to the Eltroxin team.” were the first few words of my manager, I was issued a one month gate pass, a temporary system login ID and a cubicle, I was given printed material to read about the brand Eltroxin at 11 am in the morning and I had time till 2 PM which was to be my lunch time for the next 1 month. As I started reading I realised that Eltroxin was the highest earning medicine brand of GSK with the tag of being the first even Indian Brand to generate 100 crore revenue in 1 financial year, I learned that it is the first choice of 90% doctors who prescribe for Hypothyroidism. Now I knew that I have got a big fish to catch and in all honesty I felt that the brand is so big that I am not going to get too much responsibility over the next one month. Guess what I was proved wrong on my very first day, I had just come back from the lunch with my manager and 3 other colleagues when my manager came up to me and said, “Ishaan, today we have a meeting with a PR agency who is going to officer us some proposals to implement for our brand in the upcoming year 2016 and since you are new please come to my cubicle so that I can explain you the positioning of our brand because you will be the only one attending the meeting today.” I was damn excited, this is what I always wanted, soon I had the meeting and for the next seven days I was critically analysing each and every proposal from cost and brand positioning point of view with almost no help from the seniors. Finally after 7 days I shortlisted 23 proposals out of the 55 suggested proposals to go forward with. I gave PPT to the Eltroxin team explaining them the ration behind short listing each and every proposal and with their feedback I finalised 21 of the 23 proposals initially shortlisted. Even today when I think about it, the feeling that all the marketing activities that are happening for a 100 crore yearly revenue generating brand are those that are suggested by me cannot just be expressed in words. One of the PR proposals that I shortlisted was a Hypothyriodism radio Awareness week in January, Implementation of this proposal became my 3 week project. To begin with I was asked to make a concept note whereby I had to mention the roles and responsibilities of Marketing Team, Finance team, Medical Team and Communication Team in conducting this radio initiative. I had to get the proposal approved by all the category heads and as easy as it sounds it took me 4 days to get everyone’s consent on each and every word written in the concept note, I remember tearing of 15 drafts before finalising the one that was signed by everyone. I realised that this method can be changed as it was unnecessarily painful for instance I got the 1st draft signed my marketing head but medical head found some issues with it, so I had to make a draft 2 and such changing and chopping of content after getting 1 or 2 signs kept happening till the final draft was signed by all. I gave a suggestion of e-draft editing and signing before printing the final draft to be carried out from next time, to my surprise my proposal was accepted and the next concept note for some other brand went through e-signing and editing before finally taking the shape and the process was completed in 3.5 hours. Next the task was to get in touch with 106 Area business managers (ABMs) all across the Indian and to explain them the Radio initiative concept, I was assigned the responsibility of convincing them to visit the top two Endocrinologist of their area and to get them on board to speak about congenital hypothyroidism over the radio, I made a first call and explained the concept, my manager kept listening to the conversation and as I finished I got a reply from the ABM that “the doctor you want me to visit just meets in 30th of the month as today is 9th I will not be able to meet him for next 20 days.” I said fine and hung up the phone. My manager started laughing and said “this is how you are going to conduct the biggest ever radio initiative this country has seen?” I was confused and I gave him the confused look, he sat down and told me that “As a manager the biggest quality you must have is not to take no for an answer unless you have searched all possibilities, That ABM thinks that visiting the doctor before 30th is beyond his capability but you have to make him believe that he can do it, you have to tell him why he can do it and how he can do it whenever he says that it can’t be done.” This was my first lesson and for the next 10 days I gave all convincing skills U had to get biggest doctors were on board and finally I was able to get 86 doctors out of 90 doctors assigned to me at the beginning. Mean while all the ABMS from across the country visited Mumbai for a 3 day yearly meet and in the presence of the president and Vice president of the company I was given the stage to address all the 106 ABMs I was interacting with over the phone, the aim was to give a motivating speech so that we can have all the doctors on board, the result of the speech was 86 out of 90 doctors on board as I have mentioned previously. Finally when the doctors was on board and only 7 days were remaining in my internship I was informed that the communication’s team manger who was responsible for getting the radio station on board has gone for an emergency leave and now I have to talk to 28 radio stations, negotiate for the rates and give them the details of the doctors to call and record their message, I also had to coordinate with them the time at which the doctors were to be called since the doctors like the AIMS director would give us very specific time and date to call, we got a time from 6 pm to 6.10 pm for AIMS doctors and if the radio people couldn’t call in those 10 minutes all the efforts for getting the doctor on board will go in vain and the company will lose the trust of big doctors, this was the most challenging task since Christmas and New year were approaching and thus Radio People were too busy during this period. My fear of this task being too complicated came true when on the first recording day radio jockeys who were supposed to call 33 doctors only called 11 doctors. I was getting calls from all the ABMs that doctor is very angry and they all wanted answers, It was not my fault but of radio jockey’s but it was my loss and companies’ loss not of the radio channel’s. I was losing hope when I remembered what my manager told me one day on the lunch table, he said ”problems are inevitable but there is no problem which doesn’t have a solution” I thought a lot and next day asked all ABMS to themselves go and record the message on their mobile phone and assured them that I will get the radio guys to edit the recording and turn it in to the one that can be played on radio, luckily it worked we got all the recording done ourselves and got them edited to be finally played on radio, my manager told me that from now on all radio initiatives will happen this way. All in all it was an amazing learning experience; I was taken for a lunch on the last day by my team, I built bonds with 106 AMs and with around 20 colleagues. To their credit they gave me too much responsibility for a one month intern and to my luck I was able to justify their decision.

By: Ishaan Singh

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