As nearer to the end of February, it is now just a few months away from the Summer time. For those of fellow students who are interested to try a summer job in Sweden, I hope this blog post of interviewing two of the second year students from HEPM course would be helpful to you. They both are international students and have managed to secure the summer internship in 2022.
Could you introduce a bit about yourself?
Ismahan Shire: Hi, I’m from the UK. Before coming to KI to pursue my master’s, I had just completed my BSc in Biomedical Science at the University of Warwick. The majority of my work experience so far has consisted of laboratory work since I had not anticipated pivoting from a life in the lab.
During my undergrad, I gained an interest in the barriers to access to medicine, which prompted me to apply to the HEPM programme – and I’m very glad I did!
Zoltan Nemeth: Since a young age, I was drawn to the idea of using my skills to help others as a profession, which is why becoming a doctor initially appealed to me. However, I came to realize that I could make a greater impact by addressing the broader healthcare system rather than focusing solely on individual patient care. As a result, I pursued a bachelor’s degree in healthcare management at Semmelweis University in Hungary. After completing my studies, I gained valuable experience in the pharmaceutical industry before transitioning to a role as a management consultant at PwC Hungary, where I specialized in healthcare and the broader public sector.
Which summer internship did you do?
Ismahan: Last summer, I spent approximately 9 weeks working in the Department of Global Public Health at KI on a project regarding the political economy of adolescent mental health and wellbeing. I became interested in Health Policy and Systems Research (HPSR) through the programme and wanted to see what a career in this field would look like. The Department of Global Public Health is multidisciplinary, with researchers and collaborators from all over the world, so it was definitely a good place to start.
My internship was unpaid and lasted for about 9 weeks between June and August, so I was able to devote up to 35 hours a week. However, it was pretty flexible, and my supervisor was incredibly kind and supportive.
Zoltan: In the summer of 2022, I worked as a contract agent for the Swedish Health Technology Assessment Agency, Tandvårds- och läkemedelsförmånsverket (TLV), which is located in Stockholm and was established in 2002. TLV’s primary responsibility is to conduct health technology assessments for pharmaceutical and medical technology products. Based on these assessments, TLV provides recommendations on which healthcare-related medical equipment, dentistry operations, and pharmaceuticals should receive public funding. Furthermore, TLV is an active participant in European Union (EU) projects, including the EUnetHTA consortium. This consortium aims to create an EU-wide collaboration for health technology assessment among EU member states. Through this collaboration, the EU intends to streamline the health technology assessment processes across member countries, ultimately making new technologies more quickly available to EU citizens.
I was a paid, full-time employee for three months, working 40 hours a week. I conducted a gap analysis to identify the next steps to be taken by the EUnetHTA21 consortium to start the EU-wide HTA collaboration.
Describe overall experience and benefits you manage to get from the summer internship?
Ismahan: I learnt a lot during my internship, not only about HPSR but also about transferable skills that would help me in the future. I met incredible researchers and collaborators from all over the world and was able to network and offer my ideas in meetings.
Overall, it was a great experience that helped me understand how big and international research projects come together. I participated in interviews, data extraction, blog writing, and so much more. My blog even ended up published on the International Health Policy website!
Zoltan: In general, my experience was absolutely fantastic. I enrolled in the Master’s program at KI with the goal of pursuing international projects, which had been a long-time aspiration of mine while working in Hungary. The opportunity to work as a contractor at TLV allowed me to achieve this ambition. My primary responsibility was to plan, manage, and execute a gap analysis project for the EUnetHTA21. This involved analyzing nearly 16 years of Health Technology Assessment cooperation among 23 EU Member States and formulating recommendations for action prior to establishing an EU-wide HTA collaboration. Furthermore, I had the privilege of presenting the ongoing project at meetings attended by leaders of the EUnetHTA21 consortium and representatives of the European Commission. Ultimately, I presented the results of the gap analysis to EU Member State representatives via digital means during a meeting hosted at the Italian Ministry of Health.
How did you apply the internship and where did you find out?
Ismahan: Because I enjoyed the HPSR course and was considering a career in the field, I wanted to gain some work experience to make my CV appear more attractive, but also so I was confident I would enjoy the work. I emailed several lecturers and guest lecturers who had taught in the HPSR module and found several WHO Collaboration Centres around Sweden and the UK doing interesting projects and reached out to the responsible officer.
I sent an email expressing interest in the project, a little bit about my goals/why I was reaching out, and asking if they had any opportunities for an MSc student over the summer.
Zoltan: Close to the end of the spring semester in 2022, our class got an e-mail from the study administrator regarding a summer job opportunity at TLV. The e-mail contained a short overview of the role, and the address of the contact person if we wanted more information. I sent an e-mail to the contact person very shortly after getting the original mail and arranged a date for the first interview.
Any other tips for newcomers?
Ismahan: If you’re interested in an area, don’t be afraid to explore it! I found that all streams of the HEPM programme connect in one way or another, so the skills you gain will be useful in any setting. All work experience is good experience, even if it isn’t the career you end up in.
Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to people whose work, projects or lectures you enjoy; a small chat over coffee can take you very far, I find.
Zoltan: My recommendation for you would be to prioritize your studies during the semester. The program offers a comprehensive learning experience that will equip you with the necessary skills to excel in this field. However, it can also be quite demanding, so balancing an internship alongside your coursework might prove challenging. Instead, consider exploring internship opportunities during the summer, as I did. In the meantime, keep your CV and cover letter updated so that you’re ready to apply for positions as soon as they become available. Research companies that align with your interests and values to determine if they would be a good fit for you.
Hope this blog helps you related with summer internship. As usual, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org for any further enquires.
Hej! I am Naw, currently attending MSc Health Economics, Policy and Management. Originally from Myanmar (aka Burma), one of the South-East Asia countries. Before joining KI, I completed my first degree in Medicine and then attained MSc in Clinical Dermatology from University of Hertfordshire, UK. Recently I also completed an executive learning program known as "SouthEast Asia Leadership in Medicine- SEAL" at Harvard Medical School. I love international traveling and learning different cultures. Follow me to see lot of blogs related to Asian students, personal experience on my course and exciting traveling experience. ;)