Every year, Independence Blue Cross (Independence) offers college interns the opportunity to work on a project that focuses on a current business need. This year, the project focused on telemedicine registration and utilization.
At the end of the summer, every group presented their ideas in the “Knock-out Round” to three Independence employees who judged the presentations based on creativity, methodology, economic feasibility, and overall presentation. Three groups were picked to move on to the final round and had the opportunity to present their ideas to multiple senior vice presidents, who chose the winner of the challenge.
Independence recognizes the importance of millennial voices and ideas and created this project to offer college students, like me, the chance to apply the skills we learn in college to a real business problem in an established and innovative company. While our team was not the winner, we didn’t walk away empty-handed — we gained the tools for lifelong success.
Summer of Learning
At the beginning of the summer, we were broken up into seven teams of six to begin working on the project. The groups were deliberately diverse in the colleges we attended, the departments we worked in, and by major, so that there was diversity of opinion and knowledge throughout each group. After we were split up into groups, we learned more about the benefits of telemedicine and how it utilizes technology for the remote diagnosis and treatment of patients.
In further preparation for the final presentation, all interns participated in a workshop that highlighted group dynamics and helped us figure out our role in a team setting. It also allowed group members to become more acquainted with one another. For a team building exercise, each group had to create a bridge that could hold a full water bottle with newspaper, rubber bands, and cardboard paper. The exercise allowed me to see who was an innate leader, who focused more on organization and planning, and who worked best with execution. After the workshop, the group understood the role we would each play in developing our final project.
Preparing for the Big Event
Throughout our ten-week internship experience, my group met once a week to work on our ideas and create our presentation Our first meeting was a brainstorming session that allowed us to get all our thoughts on the table before deciding to move on with our idea related to mental health.
One of my favorite parts of creating our final presentation was getting the chance to work with our group liaison — a mentor from the company that helped us work through our ideas and presentations for the final project. Our group liaison helped me expand my network within Independence; he also served as our sounding board for ideas and guidance throughout the project. By the day of the presentation, my group felt extremely prepared because our ideas were thoroughly thought out and we had practiced in front of our group liaison multiple times. The preparation helped reduce our nerves as we gave our presentation in front of the judges and worked as a fluid team.
A Winning Attitude
Although my team did not make it past the “Knock-out Round,” we got a notable mention for our perspective on millennial mental health. As we watched the final round, we were able to see how the other three teams approached the project and their presentation style. The winning group received VIP tickets to a Phillies baseball game and, more importantly, visibility with the top executives in the company.
As I look back at the summer, the intern project was definitely one of the highlights of my internship experience because I really felt like I was a part of the company. I appreciated that Independence gave us a real problem to solve, and plans to use the winning group’s solution in the future. It boosted our motivation as groups to create a feasible and creative solution, which is what employees do for the company every day. I also got to improve my presentation skills and really understand the time management it takes to create a thorough project.
My friend, Alexa Green, who also participated in the intern project, captured the overall experience best when she said, “It is a challenging learning opportunity that gives you lifelong friends and solid professional experience.”