Viewpoints

Shaping the Future with Mission Bio’s Internship Program


July 29, 2019 –  

Photo inset: Director of Engineering, Jacob Ho, speaking to the interns about his path to Mission Bio

Founded in 2011, Mission Bio provides diagnostic tools to hospitals, labs, and researchers to enable the full power of precision medicine. Their highly sensitive, targeted DNA sequencing platform is playing an integral role in moving precision medicine forward by closely tracking and monitoring cancer evolution at the single-cell level. We interviewed Sharon Hebrok, Senior Director of Human Resources at Mission Bio on their nascent internship program.

After receiving $30 million in Series B funding last December, Mission Bio entered high-growth mode at the start of the new year. “Since January, 25 new hires have been made — in addition to seven fresh-faced interns who have been brought in as a result of a brand new internship program,” Hebrok told us, “I built Mission Bio’s formal internship program to attract future hires and build a pipeline, but the number one focus has always been to build relationships, both externally and internally.”

The rollout was announced using the company’s LinkedIn page, and the application response was immediate and strong. It’s no surprise that the program was an instant hit among the burgeoning biotech student community; Mission Bio’s Tapestri platform was honored as a Top Ten Innovation of 2018 by The Scientist Magazine, is used by researchers at Stanford University, and was an integral tool in MD Anderson Cancer Center’s largest single-cell study completed to date. The company’s platform is well-known in the biotech community as an innovative tool to understand disease and develop the most impactful therapies.

Amidst the buzz, the Mission Bio team took time to clearly outline the goals and procedures of the new internship program. The initiative kicked off with a meeting between the leaders of each department to establish common goals, reviewing the responsibilities of the managers and discussing the atmosphere they wanted to create for the interns – which includes encouraging team involvement and access to meetings and ensuring there are always opportunities available for training. 

The 8-12 week program is rooted heavily in building and managing relationships and learning from each other, from both the perspective of the interns as well as the company. The interns also have a weekly meeting with management and leaders across varied departments to learn about their team and their projects, so they gain a full perspective on what’s going on in all corners of the company. One of the most impactful aspects of the program is having the CEO and executive team sit down with the interns so they can share their pathway to Mission Bio and why they’re so passionate about the company. The first meeting is with the Co-Founder, Adam Sciambi, who provides insight into how Mission Bio got to where it is today. This is an important opportunity for them to make a personal connection with Sciambi as a founder and a leader at the company, and to envision their potential journey as an entrepreneur and how they themselves can make an impact, both at Mission Bio and outside the company.

Afterwards, the students meet with the department heads. For example, the students learn from the Field Application Scientists, who install the instrument in hospitals and labs, about the company’s relationship with the customer and the impact that the machines have on our future. From the Head of Manufacturing, students learn how the instrument is made.

While this is a program which any biotech student would be fortunate to be a part of, the value the interns bring to the company is not nominal — it’s beneficial for their individual career growth, too. The interns aren’t brought on to just do menial tasks that other people don’t want to do; instead this is an opportunity to create a symbiotic relationship by building and participating in this program. They gain hands-on experience, exposure to the biotech community, and the opportunity to refine their technical and analytical skills while job shadowing across several functions of the company. In return, Mission Bio benefits by building relationships (and a pipeline for future hires), increasing awareness of the company at select universities, and bringing fresh perspectives into the organization.

“We get a lot of value from the interns; they have the opportunity  to say, ‘hey what about this approach,’ and this gives us a fresh take when looking at the science or at a problem,” Hebrok mentioned.

Through this program, Mission Bio has found unique ways to put people first at their company and build strong relationships with young scientists entering the workforce. Mayfield has always embraced a people-first philosophy, and the team at Mission Bio personifies this belief by putting a strong emphasis on relationship building and learning from one another.

 

Special thanks to Sharon Hebrok, Senior Director of Human Resources at Mission Bio, for speaking with us about their internship program.