Prescription for Success: 3 Lessons I Learned as an Express Scripts Intern

December 1, 2017 | Express Scripts

Mary Jane R. is an intern on the Home Delivery and Member Services team, working to analyze data and identify problems.

As an undergraduate student majoring in engineering management at Missouri University of Science & Technology, I’m still unsure about what I want to do post-graduation. Thankfully, internships are a great way to help me decide what I want my career path to look like, and this summer I received an internship offer from the largest pharmacy benefit management organization in the United States: Express Scripts.

Throughout the interview process, the University Relations team worked to find a position that matched my education and career goals. Because of my experience with quality and data analytics, I became a Home Delivery & Member Services Intern.

In early May, each of the 23 interns in my department received a list of potential projects to work on over the course of our internship. We were then asked to pick our top three preferences before being assigned a project and a mentor. I was assigned to the ‘Memorable 1st Experience’ project where I collected and analyzed data on new members who sign up for our home delivery services. Here’s a sneak peek into what I learned:

Diversity & Inclusion aren’t just words on the wall.

During the Intern Summit – a 3-day event in which interns from across the country come together in the St. Louis headquarters – I got the opportunity to hear from members of Express Scripts’ executive team, including Susan Stith, Vice President, Diversity, Inclusion and  Corporate Giving. Susan stressed that diversity by itself doesn’t always lead to success.  The goal is to have a combination of diversity and inclusion and companies should strive to recruit a wide range of talented employees and ensure they are active and engaged.

The Intern Summit was a great example of the engagement and inclusion Susan discussed. Through a series of networking activities, including an intern-wide trip to the City Museum, I befriended other interns of different ages, genders, ethnicities and religions. This experience helped me learn a great deal about other cultures and understand the backgrounds of my peers that were different, yet also similar, from my own.

Success lies in being a self-starter. 

Although Express Scripts calls it an “internship program,” I would argue that you could change the name to a “summer employee program,” as this is not your typical internship program. During your time here, no one is going to tell you exactly what to do or give you busy work to fill up your 40 hour work week. Instead, you will be treated like a real employee and given an actual project that needs to be completed in 12 weeks. While your boss will give you direction, he or she will not be there to check on you at every moment. While this can be a little scary at first, the responsibility you are given is actually pretty liberating.

I quickly learned that answers and solutions were not going to be handed to me. I had to become confident and willing to schedule meetings with directors and their teams to ask questions and advance my project. The healthcare industry and the work Express Scripts does to serve clients and patients is very complex. There are no simple problems or solutions, and my project required the collaborative effort of many different teams in order to be successful.

All work and no play makes for a dull internship experience.

Many people, myself included, tend to take life too seriously and forget to laugh sometimes. At Express Scripts, I was reminded by my coworkers every day that work should be fun. My department made certain we were not caged in our cubicles for a full 8-hour work day, under the strict supervision of our bosses. Instead, they encouraged us to try out different workspaces in the building, and our managers worked to ensure they developed strong relationships with us.

From trying to fit through the child-sized tunnels of the City Museum to going to going to lunch together, we were able to make better connections with our mentors and colleagues, resulting in a more comfortable and fun work environment. By the end of my internship, I had formed some strong relationships and friendships that I value.

While my summer internship has come to a close, I already have begun to apply my learnings not only inside the office, but outside as well. I am thankful for my experience thus far and I cannot wait for what is yet to come.

Want to find out what opportunities an internship with Express Scripts can offer you? Check out our career site for more information.  

 

 

 

 

« Recognition for How We Recognize One Another|

Recognition for How We Recognize One Another

November 15, 2017 | Express Scripts

Recently, our team was honored with a WorkHappier Award for our employee engagement and recognition program, Recognition Rx.

BI Worldwide (BIW) hosted the WorkHappier awards, which publicly recognize exceptional commitment to employee engagement and recognition. BIW nominated more than 90 companies, and we were selected as one of 15 finalists. Ultimately, we were honored with a WorkHappier Award in the Awesome Outcome category, which specifically honors companies with employee engagement programs that are proven to be effective as evidenced by quantifiable metrics.

Over the past year, overall recognition through Recognition Rx has experienced a 92% increase, and peer-to-peer recognition has nearly doubled.

Recognition RX, which was implemented in 2010, allows employees to recognize each other by sending a Thank You or Celebrate You e-card, submitting a ‘Spotlight’ recognition for a job well done (which includes Award Points), or nominating a colleague for Employee of the Quarter.  Since recognizing someone doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all approach, we also developed approximately 200 custom departmental recognition programs to ensure our employees feel motivated and engaged in meeting their departmental goals in a fun and positive way.

Part of Recognition Rx’s success has to do with new ways employees have been able to share recognition. Launch of a new mobile app in 2016 made the platform more accessible and allowed the ability to host contests with prizes to reward our employees for using the system. Additionally, in 2017 we implemented ‘Thank You Thursdays,’ which fall on the third Thursday of every month, and is set aside as a day to appreciate colleagues for the great work they do, their passion and commitment.

Our Senior Director of Compensation, Jane Loe, who accepted the award on our behalf, believes that, “More than ever, expressing appreciation is part of who we are and how we work together ― making us a stronger organization and a happier workplace.”

While Recognition Rx has seen tremendous success since its launch, our Total Rewards team is hard at work to keep the program momentum going and develop new and exciting ways to recognize and say ‘thank you’ to one another.

Sound like a workplace you’d like to be part of? Learn more and visit our career site for a full list of our open jobs.

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The Intern Files: 3 Takeaways from a Presentation with the SVP of Supply Chain Management

November 8, 2017 | Express Scripts

Annie worked as an intern in the Retail Channel Management department working with retail pharmacies on their networks.

As I think about my time as an intern in the Retail Channel Management Department at Express Scripts, one word comes to mind: opportunity.

While I was given many opportunities during my internship, the one that stands out most is the Executive Speaker Series. During this series, interns gain exposure to the highest levels of the organization and hear directly from company leaders about their career journey and teachable moments along the way. A handful of interns even had the chance to interview an executive prior to his, or her, presentation and introduce them the day of the session.

I had the honor of interviewing and introducing Express Scripts’ Senior Vice President of Supply Chain and Specialty, Everett Neville. This allowed me to get to know him on a personal level, while also learning about his perspective on the future of supply chain, healthcare, and Express Scripts. Here are my favorite takeaways:

He has a favorite project.

During Everett’s many years at Express Scripts, his favorite project has been the SafeguardRx program. This is a specialty drug program that helps patients spend less and find a medication that works for them. When patients try a new specialty medication, there is a 1 in 3 chance it will be unsuccessful. Patients must take the medication for at least three months to see if it’s effective in improving their condition. If the medication is unsuccessful, an immense amount of money is wasted. That’s where Express Scripts is taking action. Assisting patients in receiving money back from the manufacturer allows them to try different medication that may be a better fit. This is one of Everett’s favorite projects because it improves patient care and enables cross-functional collaboration between the clinical and supply chain departments.

Drug advertising has both positive and negative ramifications.

Ethics are always a popular topic in the healthcare and supply chain industries, so it wasn’t a surprise when Everett was asked his opinion on ethical practices of drug advertising. In his opinion, there is both a good and bad side to the issue. On the positive side, advertising a new drug can be helpful in raising awareness for treatments patients could receive. For example, if a patient has a minor condition they previously worked with their doctor to manage but never found a solution for, they might abandon their efforts. With the help of advertising, they become more aware about new medications that could treat their condition. On the negative side, advertising drugs may expose patients to medications that they don’t necessarily need.

Early career guidance is crucial.

When it comes to those just staring their careers, Everett had some very important guidance. He told us to always expect changes throughout our career paths, take smart risks early on, and be cautious when posting on social media. He also shared the value of continuously building a wide range of professional skillsets in this constantly changing world.

As I said before, opportunity is central to the work culture at Express Scripts. I’m grateful for the investment Express Scripts made in developing my skills this summer, and I have confidence that my entire intern class will continue to learn and grow. The opportunities at Express Scripts are present; it is up to you to seize them.

Want to join our intern class of 2018? Check out our career site for more information.

 

 

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3 Takeaways From My First Grace Hopper Experience

October 24, 2017 | Express Scripts

Emily S. is a Senior Manager at Express Scripts, supporting the Technology team.

It’s been about two weeks since the 2017 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing and my mind is still reeling from the experience. As a first time Grace Hopper attendee, I tried to pack as much into this 3-day experience as I could. From listening to all the fascinating speakers to interacting with my fellow women in technology at the Express Scripts booth, the event was certainly one I will not forget.

As I returned to work and my normal routine, I realized I was more energized and ready to take on the week’s challenges than ever before. The knowledge and opportunities the experience provided me are hard to sum up, but here are 3 takeaways I brought back from Grace Hopper:

We Can Do This!

Increasing the presence of women and their diversity of thought in technology-related careers is more important now than ever before as the need to innovate and use technology to solve problems continues to advance.

We may not see huge wins right out of the gate, but it’s important to set goals. For example, ask yourself, “If we have X women leaders in technology right now, what programs, development opportunities, etc. must we put in place to increase this number by X% next year.”

Teachable Moments

Of all the amazing learnings I took a way from various speakers at the event, a few stood out:

    • tips and tricks on how recognize and reframe hidden assumptions, or the unconscious bias, that women experience in the workplace;
    • different strategies for negotiation, and;
    • how to utilize Cognitive and Dialectical Behavior Therapy techniques and practice mindfulness to manage your moods at work

 

At Express Scripts, I co-lead professional development for our WE LEAD Employee Resource Group, which is centered on empowering, recognizing and connecting women to help them reach their full potential within the company and community. I cannot wait to introduce these topics to the women of WE LEAD to help reframe how they approach professional development.

Product Ownership Activities

In my current role, I focus on end-user experience. During the conference, there were great discussions focused on some fun and different techniques I could bring back to my team, such as brainstorming trees, comic strips to validate ideas, and talk bubbles vs. focus groups. These activities stood out because they stray from the traditional way of approaching a situation, allowing teams to be more creative with their ideas.

The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing is truly a conference I will never forget. I made so many connections with women, like me, who are working to make a difference for women in technology across the world. The support for the overall event was overwhelming and I’m looking forward to going back next year to share how Express Scripts has moved the needle for women in Technology.

Looking to make your mark on the Technology Department at Express Scripts? Visit our career site for a full list of open positions.

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LaunchCode Partnership Produces Techies for Express Scripts

October 19, 2017 | Express Scripts

Earlier this year, leaders on our technology teams recognized an immediate hiring need at our St. Louis headquarters: Pega developers. But the problem was programmers proficient in that platform were in short supply. Fortunately, St. Louis is the headquarters of LaunchCode, an innovative nonprofit that provides learning resources and job opportunities to students in the technology field at zero charge.

LaunchCode worked quickly to develop a joint program with us and immediately identified 40 of the best Java programmers who had recently graduated from one of their basic coding classes. Leaders on our tech team evaluated all 40 candidates and then selected 24 to begin LaunchCode’s Pega training.

To help with these candidates’ training, LaunchCode pulled in Pegasystems Inc., which sent instructors to St. Louis for an eight-day Pega training session. During this time, LaunchCode also taught the students strategies to help them in the corporate world, providing insights on topics such as email best practices, phone conferences and even how to work on two monitors instead of a laptop screen.

Of the 24 students selected to take the Pega training, twenty-three completed the course, and were hired onto our technology teams as paid apprentices. During this time, each apprentice was paired with a programming partner to help them navigate their day-to-day work life and a buddy to answer basic questions, as simple as how to find the company gym. All but two were offered full-time jobs when their 90-day apprenticeships ended in July.

The success of the St. Louis program has led us to expand our partnership with LaunchCode to our New Jersey office, where 10 candidates recently completed LaunchCode’s Pega training and 17 learned to use COBOL. All 27 of these candidates began their 90-day paid apprenticeships in early August at the Franklin Lakes, NJ office.

To learn more about our partnership with LaunchCode and hear from one of the apprentices we hired on full-time, click here!

 

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