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Peter Wierenga

How The A.C. Nielsen Center Prepared Me for a Summer with Eli Lilly

by Peter Wierenga Monday, June 22, 2015

Thanks to an early start date, I am already three weeks into my internship with Eli Lilly and Company. It feels both as if I have just arrived and as though I have had a full summer worth of experiences at the same time. In the past few weeks, I have had countless 1:1 meetings with people across the company from a variety of roles both for help on my summer project and just to learn about how marketing research works at Eli Lilly and relates to other roles in the company. My favorite part of this internship so far is the wide range of roles and opportunities to which I have had access. I’ve had the opportunity to sit in on qualitative research as it was happening, go to learning sessions on Lilly’s marketing research tools/resources, and interact with some of the market research suppliers and vendors that Lilly works with. I attribute the awesome experiences I have had so far both to the welcoming culture of Lilly and to education I have received as part of the A.C. Nielsen Center over the last year.

Let me explain why I give the Nielsen Center gets so much credit for this experience. First, the Nielsen Center helped me gain the hard and soft skills needed to get off to a successful start on my summer project. The first year of the program provided the quantitative knowledge I needed to be able to quickly outline the steps needed to complete the project. While the project is a large one, it is not overwhelming because I have received the quantitative knowledge I need to successfully complete it. From a soft skills perspective, I have learned so much this past year about how to work with people from a variety of roles. These experiences have allowed me to hit the ground running at Lilly. From day one I knew I needed to set up meetings to talk about the project and how to gain the support I will need to have a high quality project that will last beyond this summer. The biggest thing I have learned so far this summer is how to take those skills from a school setting and apply them in the "real world". In school, experiences are fairly structured and well organized (to allow for learning). However, things are much messier in the work setting. There are not mandated time lines or round numbers as the answer to questions. But having the confidence to know that the skills I've learned over the past year also apply in the "real world" has let me learn even more from my short time in my internship.

Being well prepared to tackle my project for the summer has allowed me to work efficiently which has given me the freedom to pursue additional experiences and opportunities within the company (as opposed to simply trying to keep my head above water). In addition to having the time to interact with many people across the company, my experience with the Nielsen Center and the companies that we visited/interacted with has shown me which roles and experiences I should be seeking out. Lilly (and all of the companies that offer internships to Nielsen students) is seeking to provide a valuable summer internship experience. For the most part, all you have to do is ask and you will have the opportunity to interact with that area or role. My experience this past year in the Nielsen Center provided me a road map of how to navigate through my internship and which experiences to seek out. With the amount I have already gotten out of this internship, I cannot wait to see what the rest of the summer has in store!