MS/IM student Seung Jun discusses his practicum experience at the AbbVie Innovation Center.
What is your area of interest at the iSchool?
I am focusing on knowledge management and information consulting, combining my interests in both technology and consulting.
Where did you work in Spring 2018, and what was your role?
I worked at the AbbVie Innovation Center at the University of Illinois Research Park. As a market research intern, my role was to research and deliver key findings on emerging technologies that could be leveraged to improve AbbVie’s pharmacovigilance efforts.
How did you find out about the practicum?
I checked the Research Park Job Board religiously when I began my journey at Illinois. I realized that this position would be a great opportunity for me to contribute my skills and abilities while simultaneously gaining hands-on experience in the biopharmaceutical industry.
What knowledge and skills did you acquire?
My time at AbbVie allowed me to grow professionally and refine both my soft and technical skills. One area that I initially struggled with and improved upon during my time there was building my self-confidence. At the start of my first project, I was intimidated by the idea of not being able to satisfy my clients' and managers' expectations. This anxiety was definitely prevalent during my midterm presentation, as I doubted my knowledge and expertise. However, by recognizing my potential and the trust that my managers instilled in me, I was able to overcome this internal conflict and be more confident about delivering the key findings that addressed the clients' needs.
What did you like best about working at the organization?
While I enjoyed having the opportunity to work on impactful projects and contribute to the overall mission of AbbVie, the people definitely crafted the unique experience I had at the Innovation Center. Even in the midst of midterms and projects, I always looked forward to going to work and collaborating with my team or just chatting with my coworkers. Engaging with the highly-motivated people at AbbVie has driven me to do my best.
What advice do you have for students who are interested in a practicum?
Don't be afraid! When applying to different practicum opportunities, you may notice that your skills and abilities do not align exactly with the job posting, but you can always tailor your resume with relevant keywords and talk about your applicable coursework and experiences during the interview. You can also attend the various career fairs that the University hosts to gain face time with recruiters and learn more about who and what they are looking for.
When you get an opportunity to do a practicum, don’t be afraid to take advantage of it. Throughout your assignment, you may run into challenges and obstacles, but by continuously asking questions and focusing on the task at hand, you will be able to tackle any problems you face while simultaneously improving your transferrable skills. Most importantly, by getting involved with the practicum, you can further understand your interests and determine the right career path for you.
What are your plans after you complete your degree?
After I graduate from the iSchool, I plan to start my career in New York City as a technology consultant with Ernst & Young (EY)!