Thursday, June 26, 2014

Leverage Point Media - Nicholas Papoutsis '17

During my week at LeveragePoint Media, located in East Dundee, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, I became completely immersed into the world of pharmaceutical advertising. I was graciously hosted by Gettysburg College alumnus and CEO of LeveragePoint Media Jim O’Dea 80’. My externship experience was conducted with RxEDGE Networks, one of the two business sub-units that comprise Mr. O’Dea’s company. RxEDGE provides in-store advertisements for large drug companies such as Pfizer or Astra Zeneca in the form of “Solutions at the Shelf” information dispensers.

The basic scenario of this marketing strategy typically goes as follows: a consumer suffering from some health issue attempts to self-treat the problem and enters a pharmacy to find an over-the-counter product that will help relieve his or her ailment. Leveragepoint directly engages the customers and simultaneously provides exposure for prescription drug companies through their custom information dispensers. The dispensers provide general information and possible special offers for a certain prescription drug that the customer can then pursue and obtain. A prime example of this marketing strategy can be seen in one of the photos below, in which a dispenser for the EpiPen injection device is located next to antihistamines such as Benadryl within the pharmacy.

After familiarizing myself with the basics of the service that LeveragePoint Media provides, I became deeply engaged with the intricacies and logistics of what it takes to run the company and produce the final product. Kathleen Bonetti, Vice President of Marketing at LeveragePoint, was gracious enough to set up an itinerary for my externship week that would enable me to view each aspect of the company. From operations to finance and analytics, I was able to get a glimpse of the behind the scenes work that is so critical to providing a successful marketing campaign.

Other highlights of my week at LeveragePoint Media included some notable, engaging experiences. On the morning of my first day at LeveragePoint, I was assigned two small projects that would help me delve deeper into the world of pharma-marketing and even allow me to provide my own perspective on the information I researched. My first task was to complete a set of industry knowledge questions that I would slowly be able to answer each day as I learned more and more about the world of pharmaceutical advertising. The second project was also ongoing and necessitated thorough research on the topic of pharmaceutical gamification, which is nothing more than employing the characteristics of a video game to help patients monitor their adherence to prescription medications in a fun and engaging manner. I was to research the current state of gamification in the industry and compile a list of the games being developed by the large drug companies. As a culminating activity, I presented both projects to Mr. O’Dea and Kathleen in private and discussed the key takeaways from my week at LeveragePoint Media.

 My personal favorite highlight from the externship was a professional photo shoot at a Walgreen’s pharmacy, which allowed me to see some of LeveragePoint’s products first-hand in a real world setting. Pictures were taken with models posing in front of some of LeveragePoint’s dispenser boxes advertising different prescription drugs. This experience helped bring to life everything I had learned during the week. Finally, I was able to take a tour of downtown Chicago during my stay, which was an absolutely incredible experience. In just a few hours with Mr. O’Dea, I toured sights such as Wrigley Field, The Navy Pier, and Buckingham Fountain. Overall, I am incredibly grateful to the O’Dea family, the employees at LeveragePoint Media, and Gettysburg College for making this externship experience possible.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Reinvigorating a job search that’s gone cold

Is anybody out there?
Does anyone know that I exist?

Feels sort of cold and barren out there, doesn’t it? This is exactly the kind of feeling that many job seekers experience when waiting for something to happen in their search process. But this describes a more passive way of looking for jobs, and as alluded to, is also a fairly ineffective way of landing a job. Better to take a much more active approach, one that will yield faster and more positive results.

Many job seekers get started by perusing multiple job search websites, creating their online profiles, and applying to those online opportunities they see. They may get a lot of applications out there at first, but there is rarely any way they can follow up on those applications. They start to feel like all their effort has gone down a black hole, and they lose momentum and eventually their job search activities slow down to a trickle. Think of the psychology experiments with rats who occasionally get rewarded for their activity with a bit of food. They keep going and going because they learn that they get some kind of reward. But a job seeker who never gets any kind of feedback or reward will stop that seeking activity without some kind of reward or interaction with the outside world. So there is your key to reinvigorating a slow or non-existent job search – find some new ways of looking and reward yourself with some fun activities to re-energize yourself. You will be a much happier person, as well as learning about some new opportunities that may come to fruition as a result. Try these techniques:

• Informational interviewing – one way to learn more about various career opportunities is to talk with people who are doing work that you think you might enjoy. This helps you clarify your interests, and also helps you to develop a network of people who can send you job leads and ideas. It’s also a good way help you practice talking about yourself – a key skill in interviewing. There is no down side to this activity if you do it right and respectfully. And it’s a lot more fun than the typical job search activity that gets most people down!
• Talk to everyone – along with informational interviewing, just get in the habit of talking to everyone you meet about your job search and the ideas you have. Surprising connections can be made in this way. Try it – you’ll see.
• “Plan” for serendipity – some job seekers can be so rigid in their job search activities that they miss out on some fun, and potentially productive, “detours.” Try volunteering with something that is new to you. Help with a local campaign. Go to a rally for some kind of cause that you are interested in. Join a cycling club. Go to a local meeting of a professional association in the field that you are pursuing. These seemingly unproductive activities can help you meet more people. And people help people get jobs.

See a theme in the above mentioned activities? Connect with others to get yourself away from your computer and those “black-hole” job applications. It’s a much better use of your time and effort. And it’s a proven job search strategy that works.

Dr. Kathy Williams

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Extern Amanda Loehr '17 @ Turtle Rescue Center - NC State College of Veterinary Medicine

My externship with the Turtle Rescue Team at NC State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine taught me a lot about veterinary medicine in aquatic animals and about the process of veterinary school and the lifestyle of veterinary students. I was able to interact with veterinary students that are in their fourth year to students who will start their first year in the fall. I was also able to learn a lot from my host, Dr. Gregory Lewbart, even though I spent only a day with him. I was also even able to hear about sea turtle navigation research from a research scientist at UNC Chapel Hill.

 Most of the time that I was in Raleigh and in the Turtle Rescue Team’s lab. Here, veterinary students, undergrads and even some high school students take care of multiple different species of turtles with various injuries and sicknesses. Most of the turtles are Box Turtles, Common Snappers, Cooters, Sliders and Painted Turtles. Some of the most common injuries are shell fractures and bone fractures as a result of getting hit by a car or bitten by a dog. Turtles also commonly develop ear abscesses, oral abscesses and respiratory infections. In the mornings I was able to do treatments on the turtles—cleaning and flushing wounds, giving injections of antibiotics and pain medications, and various other treatments. In the afternoons I watched surgeries or helped with new turtles that were brought in.

My favorite day of my externship was Wednesday. I was able to go to UNC with Dr. Lewbart, his technician, and some of his 4th year vet students to do physical exams on 15 1-year-old Loggerhead Sea Turtles prior to being released. Here, I learned a lot about the research that is being done on these sea turtles. Dr. Ken Lohmann at UNC is researching to see how sea turtles are able to navigate the world to be able to return to the same location they were hatched in, in order to lay eggs after traveling thousands of miles in the ocean. He discovered that sea turtles are able to detect Earth’s magnetic field in order to navigate the world. After hearing about the research, I was able to do a physical exam on one of the sea turtles and draw blood from it. It was really incredible being able to work with a sea turtle, given that it is not an opportunity I will likely get again.

Overall, this was a really incredible week in which I was able to learn a lot of new things in a field of veterinary medicine that I had previously had no experience in. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity and all of the guidance I received from Dr. Lewbart and the vet students.

Amanda Loehr '17

Monday, June 9, 2014

Extern Dayna DeLuca ' 16 @ Cornerstone

This week I have learned so much about myself as a person and what I would like to pursue in the business world in the future and this is all thanks to what Cornerstone has taught me throughout the week. We began the day on Monday (and each day), at 9am sharp. Me and Uyen, one of the other externs, arrived at the office and met the two other externs there for the week, Joey and Nate. We then saw Tom Scalici, the Chief Executive Officer of Cornerstone and he spoke to us about what he does within the company as well as what will be expected for the week. We learned that Cornerstone is a private company which manages assets for wealthy individuals and organizations, as well as works with retirement accounts for their clients, etc. They truly put the client first and stress total transparency between the client and cornerstone when managing their funds, a trait I believe is very important and impressive. From there we spoke to four other employees that day, including Parag Joshi, the accountant who gave us an accounting problem to solve which really allowed me to jump right in to his position and what he does, since I have yet to take an accounting class and had little experience with the subject. We had a full day from nine to five, and I must admit by the end of the day I was exhausted and wondering how people in the real world work these full days! Tuesday we met with five other employees. Brian Bobeck, a Senior Consultant spoke to us about the importance of insurance (particularly life), and played out some comical scenarios between the externs and I to portray different situations that life insurance would be helpful. I definitely found this presentation interesting because I never really thought about all of the different ways life insurance can be crucial to an individual—and it is something we barely discuss while we are in school which amazed me. My favorite presentation of the day; however, was Ryan Wood’s, one of the Investment Analysts. He gave us a little project to do which basically outlined the importance of looking at multiple variables when choosing a money manager. I never thought I would be interested in this type of analytical work, but after Ryan spoke I realized that I really enjoyed interpreting the numbers and coming up with a conclusion. I obviously need to take a formal finance class and learn more about this type of field, but it definitely opened my mind up to what I would be interested in in the future. As the week went on, we met with many other interesting individuals. One that made a pretty large impact on my in particular was Mike Straubel, a Consultant who gave us some great advice on job interviews and how to deal with the transition from college to the real world. I found him very relatable to talk to (he was a Gettysburg Grad!), and his career path in the past was very interesting to hear as well, since he traveled internationally for work and is now at a smaller company and enjoyed both working for a large and a small organization.
Overall, I met some great people this week who taught us a lot about what Cornerstone stands for as well as what advice they would give us for the future. The overarching theme that many employees were preaching throughout the week was that Cornerstone was truly a family, and I definitely saw that as I watched the employees interact, whether they were joking around (we had an extern “competition” at the end of the week involving a tiny basketball hoop game ;)) or helping each other out with different projects and taking on tasks within many different sectors of the organization. Cornerstone employees definitely wear “different hats,” since they are a small company, and once you are in a position Tom and Skip (the President of Cornerstone) encourage their employees to continue their education and move around within the company. I think that is definitely a huge benefit working in a small company such as this. Moving forward, I plan on looking into taking some more in depth Finance courses at Gettysburg to see if I am interested in working as a financial analyst in the future.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Making the most out or your Internship

When I started working in a US senator’s office personal office in DC, it was my responsibility to supervise the summer college interns. This was not hard work. The interns’ responsibilities were generally to sort mail, collate articles about the Senator, answer constituent phone calls when the receptionists were out of the office and attend and summarize hearings. The second floor of the office was full of interns coming and going and I was often surprised that many were not as present as I would have expected. There certainly were a number of students who were so excited to be there that their energy became contagious, but just as many simply came in, did what was asked and put the experience on their resume or asked if the Senator would write them a letter of recommendation. I often wondered what an interview with that student would be like later in life – “so tell me what you did on the Hill.” “Well…I opened mail and this one time got yelled at by a constituent about an amendment…” I didn’t understand why when they had access to such interesting topics and career histories many did not take advantage of the opportunity. Even when duties are dull there’s something to be learned.

So here are some things I learned over those years that could make your summer career related experience more relevant to your career development:

1. When you finish your tasks, look for other projects. If you can’t find them on your own, ask someone.

2. Be open to getting to know your co-workers and supervisors. Learn about their career paths and their connections. You’re developing your network.

3. Think about what you have to offer in this setting – are you a good writer, communicator, networker, or researcher? This will help you further develop your skill set, make you an asset to the office, and help you decide if this is something you might want to do for a job.

4. Go above and beyond – before you finish or even start a task, think about what else you could do…How can you turn in a better product?

5. Take advantage of every opportunity. If someone asks if you’re interested in attending a meeting, taking a stab at a bigger project, or meeting someone new, always try to participate. It will show your interest and you’ll probably learn something.

When I began working on the Hill, I was the office’s first graduate fellow. My supervisor wasn’t completely sure what to do with me. So when I had my weekly meeting, I created an agenda to guide the discussion. I was once given a research project to determine a senator’s voting record, but many of the votes were held in secret. Rather than say the information didn’t exist, I found a librarian at the Library of Congress and interviewed him for an hour. I included the details he game me in my report to the Senator.

On my last day of my fellowship, I had a small amount of time to speak with the Senator and get my picture taken. He was a member of the Foreign Relations Committee so I spent time talking to him about a project I was working on at the UN agencies in town. After our conversation the Senator asked the Legislative Director about me and suggested she offer me a job. So as you can see, every minute – even the last minute of your experience can count. It’s up to you to make it add up.

By Katy Mattson