Spanish Major Interns for Medical Tech Corporation

Hannah Diggs, a junior double majoring in Spanish and Marketing, recently worked as a Marketing Intern for Stryker, a multinational medical technology corporation located in Kalamazoo, Michigan. After a vigorous interview process, she joined the team to execute business projects, conduct market research, and more all while growing her interpersonal communication and public speaking skills. 

In this Q&A, Diggs reflects on her time with Stryker and what she learned while working at its corporate headquarters this summer.

Smiling young woman with red hair wearing business casual attire poses with large sign.
Hannah Diggs at the Stryker headquarters in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

What was your role and responsibilities at Stryker?

As a Marketing Intern with Emergency Care of Stryker Medical, I reevaluated 42 current product offerings by assessing revenues and quantities sold over a 52-month period and facilitated a 5-10-year investigative report for acquisition and various business development projects through organic research to support strategic objectives. I integrated a team of five interns across four engineering divisions on a 12-week timeline to organize a product expansion proposal, develop a prototype, and deliver a path forward to executive management and the medical division president, and cultivated key industry partnerships with three local and two international customers to further educate and reinforce a customer-centered design perspective regarding current and future product offerings.

How did you obtain your internship, and what resources did you utilize to secure your internship?

I obtained my internship by doing 10 interviews and hours of research on the company, its competitors, and its products. I utilized several free resume-building resources through Handshake, kept an up-to-date LinkedIn, and went above and beyond to connect specifically with those who already worked at the company to gain insider perspectives.

What did your daily routine include?

On any given day, I was working on either my research project or a new product development project. For my research project, I was doing research on market shares, market comparisons, market valuations, company assessments, and company comparisons, as well as many other functions of the research assignment like presentations, check-ins, and internal data gathering. For my new product development project, I worked daily with the engineering department to understand the progress of our prototype, provide voice of customer (customer advocacy), and implement directional objectives regarding the business opportunity, customer needs, and customer feedback data.

Nine smiling adults, five in the top row and four in the bottom row, hold word signs.
Hannah Diggs (bottom row second from right) with the Stryker team.

Your favorite experience from the internship?

My favorite experience from the internship was participating in a ride-along with a local fire department, Portage Fire in Michigan, which kindly hosted me and several other interns so that I could gain firsthand experience at what the lives of our local firefighters, paramedics, and EMTs look like on a daily basis. This gave me immeasurable insight and knowledge into the products and customers of my division.

What was your least favorite part of the internship?

Every part of this internship has led me to growth so there is truly no “bad” part of the internship. The most challenging part was definitely learning how to do organic market research, basically from scratch. Coming off my sophomore year and only having taken one marketing class before I started, I had a whirlwind first couple of weeks that forced me to put in the time and effort and use my resources in every way possible to get the job done well.

What skills did you learn and/or build upon during your internship?

One of my major projects was a collaborative effort made up of myself and four engineering students. This bolstered my interpersonal communication skills almost immediately and carried on throughout the summer. I completed numerous presentations to leadership, managers, mentors, fellow interns, and the entire research and development division. My public speaking skills were stretched during this time but it quickly allowed me to grow in this area. Regarding my collaborative effort with four engineering students, I exemplified team leadership skills through integration of the team, collaborative meetings, and organization of final deliverables. From the beginning, I was given several projects with weekly benchmarks and 12-week final due dates, which exemplifies my time management skills. Finally, my product marketing skills, which were probably close to zero at the beginning of the internship, grew immensely through my intense product research, customer feedback sessions, and expert interviews.

Young woman wearing a yellow shirt holds a fire hose as a firefighter stands close behind in support.
Hannah Diggs gets hands-on experience with the work of a firefighter during a ride-along with the Portage Fire Department.

What did you learn about the industry as a result of the internship and what are your future plans?

I learned that medical supply, and the kind of medical supply you have, truly impacts patient care. The safety and well-being of customers and patients are truly in your hands, and it is a privilege to be a part of such an effort. At the moment, I am eager to see what Stryker may have to offer me in the future. Working for such a globally focused company, in a globally focused business unit, allowed me to use both my Spanish and Marketing background and has inspired me. I would certainly love to work for them again in a marketing capacity.

What advice do you have for other students seeking internship opportunities?

Your personal connections are your greatest asset to getting your foot in the door. Know your classmates, know your professors, and network every chance you get.

(Q&A originally published by the Excel Network)