Where in the World did you Spend your Summer–Olga Savintseva (OB)

Novartis Pharma AG

Basel, Switzerland

What did you do this summer?
I spent summer at Business Development & Licensing (BD&L) at a leading pharmaceutical company Novartis in its global headquarters in Basel, Switzerland. The function I worked in is important because about 70% of total company’s sales come from in-licensed products. My particular role was to select attractive molecules for in-licensing in Asia-Pacific, Middle East and African Countries, develop communication strategy and map stakeholders for Global Alliance Management, benchmark BD&L public performance, and support ophthalmology product pruning.

What was your background prior to HBS?
Prior to HBS I worked 5 years in management consulting (BCG, Accenture, and a local Russian company) in different countries, 1 year of scientific research in economics, and 1 year in Sales & Marketing at an offshore software company in Russia.

Why did you choose to spend your internship in Novartis
The key decision factor was to gain experience at headquarters of truly international and leading pharmaceutical company. It is a major shift in my career from management consulting to pharmaceuticals.

What advice do you have for RCs looking for summer internships?
Passion: Try to understand your passion and follow it, but don’t put it on hold and rely on herd instinct.

Participate in career teams; get advice from career coaches, HBS alums, professors, club mentors, and your friends.

Strategy: Think at least 20 years ahead to select the company and your initial function, don’t focus on short-term gains.
Tell a solid story in your cover letter and at the interview.

Networking: Do your homework and talk to company’s representatives before applying to it.

September 13, 2010
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