Huang Internship at Abbott Labs - Summer 2006

Alex HuangAlex Huang

Hometown: New York, NY

Year: junior

Major: biomedical engineering, economics

This summer I worked for the Quality organization in Abbott’s Global Pharmaceutical Operations (GPO) division in the Document Management Transformation Program team, which is a part of the Manufacturing Quality Assurance (MQA) service area. My projects included:

• Analyzing pilot data on a new change control process and creating a 20-slide presentation to support recommendations to senior management

• Developing and assembling a poster presentation about my contributions for an intern poster session

• Writing and editing macros to automate the sorting and filtering of desired data from spreadsheets with over 55,000 rows

• Creating and maintaining a spreadsheet to track requisitions for deployment expenditures totaling $450,000 at 26 global sites

• Developing and updating a networking matrix and process flow diagrams using Microsoft Visio

I was surprised at how much responsibility I was given as an intern. Although I was only at Abbott Labs for a few months, my managers and coworkers made me feel like I was a part of the team. My work individually contributed to the bigger picture of the team’s goals, and it was crucial that I completed my projects correctly.

I followed a training matrix similar to those of the full-time employees here. This included reading documents such as company policies and procedures, as well as more specific computer-based training on topics such as Good Manufacturing Practices, Class A, Six Sigma, and Lean. I also participated in a workshop on Lean Value Stream Mapping.

What I like most about this internship is the freedom I’ve been given to manage my own time and schedule. Abbott does a great job making interns feel like full-time employees: I was given my own desk, phone, computer, and Lotus account, all the tools needed to get my work done and organize my time. While I received my projects, deadlines, and frequent guidance and feedback from my managers, I was in charge of putting together my schedule and prioritizing my tasks. This allowed me to spend some time learning more about the company in addition to working on my main projects.

This internship was valuable to me because it gave me a glimpse of the working world and how it relates to academics. Although my internship was more related to business as opposed to purely technical engineering, I found that I did use my engineering background to understand the reasoning and logic behind the documentation, as well as the process flows and how they would be impacted by changes in documentation. The analytical thinking and problem solving skills I gained from engineering was very useful in this internship as I worked through my projects, and this has given me a new appreciation for my academic background.

For more information about Abbott’s Global Pharmaceutical Operations, visit their website at: