Insights from the next generation of healthcare leaders

Summer interns share their experience at MATTER

Each year, MATTER hosts an internship program, enabling students to learn how to work in a startup environment and build valuable skills while gaining exposure to all organizational capabilities and departments.

Hear about the intern experience directly from MATTER’s summer 2021 interns below. They share how they engaged directly with industry leaders and learned how the complexities of healthcare, entrepreneurship and technology weave into one another.

Responses have been edited for length and clarity.

How has being an intern at MATTER changed your perspective on innovation?

Amber: “Being an intern at MATTER has made me realize how vast innovation in healthcare is. It also made me realize how many different forms of innovation there are. Whether it is improving health policies, systems, products, technologies or services and delivery methods, there are so many different angles to approach innovation from. It was also interesting to see how different corporations vary on the innovation scale — I saw firsthand how consulting firms approach innovation differently than health systems, for example.”

Mathieu: “My experience at MATTER has made me optimistic about the rate of innovation in the healthcare system.”

Holly: “There are so many parts moving together to improve the healthcare experience that go beyond the patient-clinician relationship. I have been able to see the process and behind-the-scenes developments that lead to innovations. Before, I was solely a consumer that saw the outcome of innovation.”

Camille: “My perspective on innovation has changed dramatically. It puts into perspective that all types of people can participate in product innovation and the resources available to help you develop your idea.”

What have you learned about the healthcare space?

Faodice: “Before interning at MATTER, I wasn’t aware of all the different startups that were working hard to tackle complex issues in the healthcare space. Through some of the challenges I helped with, I gained a better perspective of different approaches to the same problem. All the solutions were unique to each of the startups and very impressive.”

Yuna: “I was amazed by the power of empathy and storytelling in healthcare. MATTER member and CEO of Embr Labs Liz Gazda introduced her product to us. It was a bracelet that reduces women’s hot flashes by moderating body temperature. She asked a male volunteer, ‘Have you ever almost experienced a car accident? Yes? Now recall your level of anxiety and accelerated heartbeat at that moment. That’s how women feel during hot flashes, and they experience them multiple times a day.’ It was an a-ha moment when a healthcare entrepreneur leveraged the power of story and empathy to connect her product with a larger audience.”

Mathieu: “I developed a further understanding of how competitive the healthcare space is. At one point in my life, I wanted to start my own healthcare venture. Within four weeks of interning at MATTER, I came across over 15 startups in the Chicago area with a similar idea. This made me realize the importance of having a strong differentiator as an entrepreneur.”

Amber: “I learned that most large healthcare organizations are deeply layered and extremely complex. When entering partnerships or collaborations, it’s important to understand the different layers of stakeholders and participants in order to make those partnerships successful. An awareness of priorities, risks and definition of success are key in aligning the goals of corporations and startups.”

What was the benefit of being a MATTER intern?

Annie: “MATTER provided many resources that gave me direction as I navigate the professional landscape. My MATTER colleagues were so willing to provide insight and information. I loved the opportunity to hear about others’ experiences and journeys, as it helped me understand how to achieve my goals.”

Aidan: “There were many benefits of interning at MATTER. My biggest takeaway of the internship was connecting and speaking with both entrepreneurs and long-time industry professionals. Not only did they share insights on different careers in the healthcare space, but they also gave me advice on how to shape the path for my future career. Also, this was my first internship, so it was eye-opening and very enjoyable to work for a small non-profit. MATTER colleagues and leadership are so passionate about what they do, and their work ethic made them delightful to work with. Not only did I learn a lot about potential careers in healthcare, but I learned how large of an impact healthcare can have on every aspect of society — from people’s work lives to their personal lives. Ultimately, the MATTER internship encouraged me to pursue a career in healthcare, which is something that I hadn’t planned to do prior to this summer.”

Hana: “There were a myriad of benefits of being a MATTER intern. Whether it was being able to speak and ask questions to successful entrepreneurs in the field, completing hands-on work to improve project workflow, building relationships with MATTER colleagues and fellow interns or exploring Chicago, this internship is full of benefits that other internships simply do not offer.”

Yuna: “MATTER genuinely cares about each intern and enables us to succeed. During onboarding, MATTER offered finance and healthcare courses to educate us about the foundation of healthcare. MATTER also invited healthcare industry leaders to speak with us. MATTER’s support exceeds time and space; since the team is so inclusive and cohesive, once we no longer work here, we will maintain long-term relationships even after we move on to new chapters in our careers.”

Drew: “Learning about the operations of an organization was my most important takeaway. As an operations intern, I witnessed and experienced everything that goes on behind the scenes to ensure an organization like MATTER runs efficiently and effectively.”