2013-14 Wharton Entrepreneurship Advisory Board Intern Fellow
How did you find the position?
I met the CEO at a healthcare event at Wharton. The CEO was an alumnus and had come to the event and after chatting with him, came to realize he was looking for summer interns.
What was your motivation for working on a startup this summer?
If I wasn’t working on my own startup, I wanted to join a very early stage company (pre-Series A) to experience firsthand the problems and challenges they face. Due to the limited number of personnel, I knew I would be afforded the opportunity to work on a variety of projects and tasks. Additionally, I wanted to gain some exposure into a new industry. I wanted to stay in the health care industry, but wanted to move away from medical devices. Working at a healthcare IT (HCIT) startup provided me the opportunity to see the issues within the industry and how different startups were tackling the problem.
What advice would you give to students interested in working at a startup this summer?
Don’t be patient, if you know what you want. If there is startup that you are passionate about and know you want to work for, then reach out to them. Use the Wharton network and LinkedIn to make connections early and express interest. Offer your help during the year, as that shows true signs of commitment and dedication and you can use the period to vet the company, while they can see the value you bring. Though many startups come to Wharton to recruit, don’t wait if you know what you want. However, if you are unsure of the industry or field you want to go into, talk to second years, professors, and go to different talks to see what really motivates you. The more you are engaged with the mission and goal of the startup the more you will contribute and learn.
My experience at Allazo Health was very unique, as I got to work on a number of projects and see them to completion before the summer was out. Allazo Health uses data from hospitals or health plans and supplements it with other data feeds to predict which patients are most likely to adhere to their medication and how to best intervene to ensure they will continue taking their medication. Medication compliance is a huge problem in the healthcare industry and accounts for roughly $250 billion in avoidable health care costs.
The CEO gave me a lot of responsibility and autonomy to get the projects done. Apart from occasional guidance, he let me manage and make the decisions, as I saw fit. I thought this was extraordinarily valuable, as I was able to learn how to build a website with an international development team, and how to best brand and productize service offerings to create better marketing material. In addition, the CEO really valued my input and would bring me into discuss how to best price our services for customers and how to negotiate terms of the contract with our client. By bringing me into these critical discussions, I realized how important my impact was to the company and made me more vested in its success.