Monday, November 26, 2018

My Express Summers of '18

For past few months I was thinking to pen down my experience during this year's summers at Express Scripts as a Data Science intern in the Clinical Research and New Solutions division. After 3 months savoring the memories, I finally found some time to reflect back on what I learned and what I achieved in those 3 months.

The internship experience as a whole was really rewarding especially since I got to work on the flagship clinical product named Advance Quality Management (AQM) to be launched in 2019 with an estimated $20 million in revenue. The predictive models I was building as part of the clinical solution had a potential to impact 400,000 patient lives suffering from diabetes and lipids conditions. The sheer impact of my work made me feel worthwhile and empowered at the same time responsible and accountable. It was the most rewarding experience as I was solely responsible for 4 of the 12 models for the clinical solution.

Coming from a Chemistry and Scientific Computing background, I did have the skill set to get the job done but I still learned a ton during the internship. Previously I had the experience with predictive modeling in my research here at University of Michigan but the problem statement and context were completely different during the internship. The intern project made me familiarize with different aspects and intricacies of predictive modeling in clinical domain, different techniques of doing things and how the model would be put into production.

The other major highlight of the internship was the 1-1 with leadership in different departments of the company. It helped me gain an insider perspective on the business model of a PBM (Pharmaceutical Benefit Manager) and the functions the different departments perform within the company from sales, logistics, accounting, finance, HR and distribution. It also helped me understand the day-to-day workings and responsibilities of a director, VP, Senior VPs, COO, CTO and CEO of a fortune 25 company. I also got some great pieces of advise from all the people I met within the company and few of them which I will always remember are following:
  • You are your own boss of your career. No one can or should decide your career except you! 
  • Surround yourself with people smarter than you and when you think you are equal or surpassed them, it's time for a change! 
  • Be a sponge and absorb as much around you as possible! (Which I always try to do!) 
  • Build your own brand! 
  • Know your strengths and weaknesses! And never be scared to say No. 
  • Use fewer exclamation marks in professional emails as possible! (That's a hard one to follow!!) 
This intern was my first interaction with Corporate America and would always hold a special place in my heart. As for me it's always about the people around, so I would like to give a shout out to my awesome supervisor, my team, my HR, my intern peers for making my summers a memorable experience. I am sure it will help shape my career in more ways than I can imagine.

Written by Sahil Chhabra
Country of Origin: India
Ph.D. Student in Chemistry

Monday, November 19, 2018

November 20 – Vietnamese Teacher’s Day

“When you eat a fruit, think of the man who planted the tree”

This is one of many common sayings about teachers passed from generation to generation in Vietnam. Vietnamese have had a long history of paying respect and gratitude to educators since a very long time ago. Every year on November 20, millions of people celebrate the National Teacher’s day to show their appreciation for the teachers, from current students, to alumni and parents.

On this day, students and teachers are allowed to have a day-off. Instead of preparing for a day of class, they prepare and organize activities for the celebration. Types of activities vary depending on students’ interest and the annual theme. Most schools have performances, including singing, acting, traditional/contemporary dancing carried out by either teachers, students or famous performers who are former students of the schools. Some schools grant special rewards to teachers in respect of their contribution to education.

Besides those activities, students also give gifts to their teachers. They can be flowers or handmade gifts. Parents usually offer more practical gift, such as clothing, cosmetics, and fruits. Alumni often wait for this day to visit their former teachers and together recall the memories from the school years. 

These photos were taken at the Vietnamese Teacher’s Day at my high school in 2017.

This blog post was written by Van Ngoc Thuy Nguyen, a 2018-2019 ICSC Member.