Week 1: Full of Firsts

19 January 2020

‘Firsts’ always fill me with anticipation. My first week of work for NCSG was no exception to that. Never had I even stepped foot into the office before my first day, so I truly had a blank canvas for expectations.

I was assigned to shadow the Clinical Manager, and work closely with her for all things related to clinical affairs. I only had a vague impression of what clinical affairs would entail, but I was excited to understand more about the responsibilities of this department. As part of my goals, I wanted to have a better understanding of the execution of clinical trials and to better understand a product development cycle in a start-up.

Right away, I sat in a meeting for the discussion of the timeline and tasks for clinical affairs and China business development. The COO, ran the meeting very systematically. I felt he was a very organized and meticulous man from the way he gave detailed comments to clarify each task that was presented, all down to the why, when, what, who and how. He gave comments at the appropriate breaks in the presentation, to avoid interrupting the speaker too many times. Lastly, he required that everyone standardize the way that the tasks were presented, such that we were all looking at a similar picture.

The tasks were organized in Gantt charts to illustrate the project schedule. I had never seen or used such a method before. Each main task had smaller specific tasks categorized under it, basically using decomposition, breaking down a complex problem into smaller problems– something I learnt in computational thinking. This way, tasks would not feel as overwhelming, could be completed in an organized manner.

My task for the week was to work on a clinical background presentation for a new area the company wished to expand into. Thankfully, my life science background had proven useful for my research. I gave the presentation at the end of our company retreat, which happened from Wednesday to Friday. I was glad to be able to get to know my entire team better through the retreat and the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) workshop. It had been a few years since I had last taken the test, but my reported type remained as an INFP.

To end off the week, I had received news that I was chosen as a winner in an essay competition to travel to Shanghai to meet with Jane Sun– CEO of China’s largest online hotel and travel agency group. I was exhilarated to be able to meet such an impressive woman in business.


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