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Internship Spotlight: Huihui Huang, MPH ’24 (Health Policy, Public Health Modeling Concentration)

October 02, 2023

Summer Intern, Strategy and Project Management Office, AstraZeneca, Shanghai, China; Funding: paid internship by AstraZeneca

What is your career goal?

I am passionate about pursuing a career as a health care consultant, helping clients navigate the complex health care landscape, improve operations, and make informed, data-driven strategic decisions. My ultimate goal is to leverage my expertise to drive and catalyze meaningful scientific and commercial innovation in order to benefit more patients and expand access to treatments.

What were your duties/responsibilities during your internship?

My primary responsibilities were to support the team’s strategic planning, manage corporate strategic projects, and coordinate key management meetings. I was able to contribute to high-level corporate strategy development by conducting research, analyzing data, and preparing research reports and corporate presentations.

What did you take away from your experience as an intern? What was the value of the internship to you?

Transitioning from the academic and research realm to the pharmaceutical industry was a transformative experience. It provided me with invaluable insights into how this dynamic sector addresses complex strategic challenges and sets its direction and goals. In the commercial world, I discovered a landscape filled with uncertainties, where the ability to navigate these uncertainties becomes pivotal for success.

One of the most intriguing aspects of my journey was realizing that the perspective and responses of a biopharmaceutical company often significantly differ from those of other stakeholders, such as hospitals, doctors, and patients. In this multifaceted ecosystem, corporations must be acutely aware of the diverse needs and priorities of these stakeholders to make well-informed and impactful decisions. On one project, I was tasked with strategizing ways to expand the coverage of commercial channels, aiming to enhance patient accessibility and convenience. On another project, I was researching a newly issued and implemented policy to gauge its potential impact on our business. The purposes of the strategic initiatives and programs taken by a pharma company reflect the intersection of science and business.

What was the most rewarding aspect of your internship? What was the most challenging aspect? The most surprising aspect?

I was exposed to a wide array of industry-leading business model innovations and high-level strategic topics that can influence the lives of millions of patients. I was involved in diverse projects associated with health policy, competitor analysis, and hospital market expansion, among other things. I also built great mentorships and relationships with all the members in my team, learning from their career paths and previous experience in consulting.

The most challenging aspect was probably getting familiar with AstraZeneca’s broad therapeutic/product portfolio. I needed to gain a comprehensive understanding of its deep strategic investment in China – manifested through the numerous partnerships it has forged – its extensive local connections, and the activities of its regional headquarters. Navigating this complex landscape required me to not only understand the strategic objectives but also the cultural nuances and regulatory intricacies of the Chinese health care market. As I overcame these challenges, I also gained a deeper appreciation for AstraZeneca’s commitment to advancing health care in China and its dedication to addressing the unique health care needs of this region.

How did your first year at YSPH prepare you for this internship?

My first year at YSPH gave me a solid foundation in understanding the complexities of health care systems, honed my analytical and research skills, and instilled a strong stakeholder-centered approach and global public health perspective to decision-making.

What would you say to a student who’s considering a similar internship?

I would say to be ready to always learn something new, grow, and challenge yourself every day. But at the same time, you will feel meaningful and proud of your work, because it will directly impact corporate operations and strategies, resulting in better health outcomes for countless lives.

Submitted by Sabrina Lacerda Naia dos Santos on October 02, 2023