Peter Xing ’16, Phasic Strategy

Peter-XingOver Spring Break, I had the good fortune to spend a day visiting the offices of Phasic Strategy in New York. Phasic Strategy is a healthcare consulting firm providing strategic decisions and support for large pharmaceutical companies worldwide, and Carlos Rodriguez ’09 was kind enough to host this Princeternship. I was quite unsure what to expect from the experience, as this was my first Princeternship. However, I left Phasic thoroughly impressed with both Carlos and Phasic Strategy, having learned a great deal from him about the healthcare industry, consulting as a whole, and the kinds of questions and thought processes that consultants employ in tackling problems. I am very grateful to Carlos for being so accommodating and willing to teach me about his field.

My day at Phasic Strategy began at 9 am, when I met Carlos at the office, on the corner of Vanderbilt Ave and 45th Street in midtown New York. Immediately, he directed me to a desk right next to his, where I would do my work for the day. First, Carlos explained to me what Phasic is, and what it does. Phasic Strategy is a small pharmaceutical consulting firm within a parent company called Datamonitor Healthcare, which is itself a part of the Datamonitor and the overarching company Informa. Phasic Strategy provides several different services to clients, including strategy optimization, competitor simulations, and scenario planning, to allow its clients, usually top ten global pharmaceutical companies, to make appropriate decisions in developing and marketing its products.

After giving me an overview of the company and the industry, essentially outlining the problem, Carlos then explained to me his role as a consultant. To properly be able to advise clients, it is important for a consultant to learn as much about the industry of the client; for pharmaceutical companies, this involves knowing a great deal about various drugs, competing companies, and the process of getting FDA approval for products, among other details. Carlos showed me a few of the resources at his disposal and some of the things he needs to address to have adequate understand and research for the particular project. Prior to this, I had no idea how much expertise consultants needed to gain to be able to do their job and advise clients. I was pretty surprised at how much Carlos knew about various different drugs and companies from his research across different projects.

My big task for the day was tackling a case study on a relatively small pharmaceutical company.  I had to perform my own research much like a consultant does and create a presentation incorporating the information I found. I had to dig for details about the company: its products, its financial reports, where the majority of its revenues came from, the overall industry market, and various other information. To do this, I utilized many of the resources that Carlos had introduced to me earlier; it was like performing a condensed version of the research and work that he would normally do throughout his work on a project. I started in the morning, and during lunch, Carlos went more into detail about his experiences and his takeaways from them, from when he was still at Princeton to his current position.

When we got back Xing 1to the office after lunch, I continued working on the presentation and research. Carlos took a break to help me look over my work, and we had a talk about what the research I found could mean in terms of a client. He asked me thought provoking questions to get me to find the answers myself, and I was forced to think as a consultant would in trying to provide strategy decisions for a client. I had never done a case study before, nor had I known that these were the types of questions that I needed to be asking as a consultant. Ultimately, I went back and finished the research and presented my work to Carlos at the end of the day. Again he challenged me to think about the research and its significance, and I was able to see the point behind all the research I had been doing throughout the day.

At the end of the day, after I had presented all my work, Carlos showed me his own version of a similar case study that he had done a few years ago. As we went through his presentation, I was able to see the differences between my work and his and see what information was important to mention, and what key factors were in his deck. This I think is one of the most valuable parts in a day filled with firsts, because I was able to concretely see all the things we had talked about through the day that were key for doing a good job as a consultant.

Unfortunately, my Princeternship at Phasic Strategy was limited to just one day. However, in that one day, Carlos served as a mentor in teaching me about the industry and in providing advice for a student potentially interested in consulting as a career. For someone who had only known what consulting was in a general fashion, this was an eye-opening experience into the nitty gritty details of what the work specifically entailed. Again, I want to thank Carlos and Career Services for giving me the opportunity to scratch the surface of consulting.