Hi! I’m Ritu, a co-op student at LifeSci Communications. I’m currently pursuing my master’s degree in Project Management from Northeastern University and have prior education and work experience in the Digital Marketing and Advertising field. I have been working with LifeSci Communications for nearly six months now and am absolutely loving my time here. I wanted to share some of the key learnings of my experience in case they prove useful for future interns or others who are interested in a career in life science communications.
1. Enthusiasm is more important than expertise
Let me take this opportunity to clarify that to work in science communication, it is not strictly necessary to have a background in science. In my case, I have none but that has not stopped me from understanding what my clients do. What really matters is understanding what drives them to work relentlessly to create therapies and solutions for diseases, and bring their efforts, research and development, and business updates out into the world. More than a deep scientific background, working with drug development companies requires you to be aware of the people who their work will affect and (perhaps most importantly) tactics to reach investors who will support companies’ research and development. I have been amazed to learn how big this industry is and how quickly it’s expanding through collaborations including Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A), which combine technologies, devices, and research from multiple biotech/pharmaceutical companies to create novel solutions. It is phenomenal to gain exposure to these different approaches in biotech that are all geared toward the ultimate goal of improving patients’ lives.
2. A supportive network is key
Taking a leap from generic branding communications to science communications was something that pleasantly surprised me. I was really nervous when I started my co-op, but thanks to the team here at LifeSci, especially my mentor and supervisor Gwen Schanker (a fellow Husky and Northeastern alum) and my incredible buddy Rachel Meyer, I felt encouraged and supported to take a deep dive into the industry. The constant support and regular catch-ups to discuss what I want to explore have allowed me to fully take advantage of my time here.
3. Media is essential to a successful communications strategy
One of my key takeaways from my experience is the effort that goes into the media strategy to elevate the visibility and evolution of biotech companies. Building a media strategy is not just about bridging the gap between the media and the company–it’s so much more than that. I’ve seen teams put in a lot of thought into pitching, pitching the right reporters, and even going that extra mile to connect first and then pitch. I’ve also attended multiple client interviews and seen how intense, grueling and fun an interview can be. The efforts are all worth it when we find the right reporters who have the right questions for our clients and take part in an inquisitive, enthusiastic, and engaging conversation about the company, executives and their technology.
4. Storytelling above all
One of my greatest takeaways from this co-op is the incredible art and importance of strong storytelling and communication . Above all, that is what piques the interest of the media, investors and target audiences . While the types of updates that companies share–M&As, collaborations, clinical trial results, etc.–can be similar, what spurs excitement is the way the story is packaged. There are a million different ways to tell a single story, and clients rely on us to help communicate the right version of their story through the best media and story angles.
If it weren’t for LifeSci Communications, I’d have no idea how beautiful the intersection of communications and life science can be! As I write this, nearing the end of my co-op, I feel my learning curve has been massive, and there’s still so much more for me to learn. Being a part of multiple accounts, participating in internal projects and collaborating with different departments has been such a fun ride. To sum it up, I’d say being a co-op at LifeSci was a challenging yet nurturing journey that I’d love to relive.