What do you get when you combine a passion for business and a psychology major? A summer in Silicon Valley!
University of Chicago student Marianne Dolan is spending her summer as an Innovation Intern for Health2047, an offshoot of the American Medical Association. She shares what it’s like to look for a job tangential to her chosen major, her best advice for looking beyond the job posting, and how she’s making the most of her summer when there isn’t an opportunity for a return offer.
Name: Marianne Dolan
Job Title: Innovation Intern, Health 2047
Location: Menlo Park, CA
What are you doing this summer?
I’m working at Health 2047, which essentially functions as the innovation arm of the American Medical Association. I assist a team of incredible people coming up with new business ideas aimed at tackling the monolith that is our broken healthcare system.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Far off into the future, I would love to be a VC or angel investor. However, before entering the investment side, I hope to get experience on the other side of new ventures and work in operations or business development at a startup.
How did you get your internship?
During the school year, I took a class at Booth that focused on the intersection of the public and private sectors for for-profit ventures. It made me interested in looking for an internship with a similar mission. Looking on Handshake, UChicago’s online job board, I happened upon this internship and instantly felt like it was custom-created for my ideal summer. This internship really made me see firsthand how far the UChicago name and alumni network will get you, as our supervisor flat-out said that they had no true need for interns. Rather, we were there as means for him to pay back the university (where he got 3 degrees) so that he could invest in us and help us develop important business and practical skills that will hopefully mean I’m employable.
What do you wish you had known during your internship search?
For me, the hardest part was the waiting to hear back. At the end of the day, as frustrating as it is, there’s nothing I can do in between rounds of interviews other than wait, and no amount of stressing is going to change the outcome. Especially as a psych major, I was worried that I would be overlooked for this position, but I read between the lines and saw what they really wanted was an intern who could rapidly learn on the go and deal with lots of ambiguity. Thus, I tailored my cover letter and the narrative I told in the interviews to reflect those qualities of myself. Taking that extra step to think about the unwritten qualities they sought really helped me through the whole process.
What does a day in the life look like?
I walk in the office around 9:30 in a pair of dress slacks (and yes, we can wear jeans but my dress slacks are actually comfier), a cute top, and often a sweater because it gets quite chilly with the AC sometimes. I routinely go to the break room for some Keurig coffee and fill up my water bottle. I then check my email and collaborative interface where I see new tasks assigned to me. I spend part of the morning investigating various healthcare-related issues at the discretion of my supervisors. Day-to-day, my schedule can vary greatly. Often it’ll involve meetings with one of the supervisors who will give my co-intern, Greg, and I feedback on our work. Occasionally they’ll take us out to lunch and talk about their own incredible careers and life reflections.
One of the best parts of my day is when the others at Health2047 start talking about the incredible and often crazy things they did in the past as part of their career. On my first day of work, the company CFO told me about how when he worked for the UN he was helicoptered into a war zone with a briefcase of cash to pay soldiers for efforts to end a civil war. Then he later worked for a hedge fund, before joining Health2047.
This type of story and fascinating career path appears to be the norm from all my interactions. Currently, we are working on an on-going project with others while also working to develop our own venture in the healthcare space to eventually pitch at the end of the summer. It’s a lot of things going on at once, but an incredible experience.
How has this job changed what you see yourself doing in the future?
It has definitely opened my eyes to the world of health tech and made me far more interested in perhaps exploring that area in the future. It has also made me consider recruiting for a larger company in the future, as starting out in a big company could also teach me an entire different valuable perspective and (if I luck out) potentially pay for my grad school.