Today is National Intern Day in the U.S. Bob Bradway recently spoke to Amgen’s summer interns, sharing with them his excitement about the future of biotechnology and the company’s ability to serve a growing number of patients around the world.
On July 18, Amgen CEO Bob Bradway spoke with the company’s 130 summer interns, co-ops, veteran fellows, and Digital, Technology, and Innovation (DTI) apprentices. “I’m thrilled to have you here,” Bradway said, adding that Amgen is “very well positioned for what's going to happen next in science and in innovation to serve the needs of patients who don't have good options available today.”
Asked what he sees as Amgen’s most important asset, Bradway answered that “the first thing you discover when you become CEO is it's all about the people. You need talented, engaged, aligned, motivated people.” In today’s highly competitive business environment, he added, “the companies that will be most effective at treating patients are the ones that have the best people. It's no more complicated than that.”
Bradway largely credited Amgen’s mission of serving patients for keeping its approximately 25,000 people worldwide aligned around the same principles. “There are a lot of exciting things going on at Amgen,” he stated, “but it starts with our mission. We want to serve patients who are suffering from serious illnesses, and we want to do that with innovative medicines that make a really big difference. The mission is the purpose that animates all the activity in the company, and it is what unites us.”
What makes this the right time to pursue a career in biotechnology? Bradway’s answer is that “science and technology are exploding and creating fantastic opportunities, particularly for people beginning their careers.” He pointed to Amgen’s unprecedented access to human genetic information, its creativity in designing from scratch molecules that can produce a desired therapeutic effect in the body, and its growing utilization of generative artificial intelligence to accelerate the R&D process and improve the success rate of potential new medicines advancing through the company’s pipeline.
Bradway noted that the CEO of Nvidia, the company making the computer chips that are powering the generative AI revolution, has stated that we are on track for a millionfold improvement in the productivity of that technology over the next decade. Bradway said that those entering the workforce today “are going to be the sentinels for identifying things that can be done differently because of this new wave of technology. You will come in and ask, ‘Why do you do it that way when you could do it with generative AI much more quickly, cost effectively, and better?’”
Bradway closed by stating that “it's a phenomenal time to begin a career,” and he shared some career advice:
- First, work on things that really matter. “It's easy to feel good about your work when you're doing something important,” Bradway said. “In our case, that means helping patients who are at the most vulnerable moment, suffering from serious disease.”
- Second, be confident about and capitalize on the things that make you unique.
- Third, challenge the status quo. “You’re going to find a workforce full of people who know why things can't be done,” Bradway said. “You're all emerging into the workforce at a time when many of the reasons why things couldn't be done in the past are falling by the wayside thanks to generative artificial intelligence.”
- And finally, don’t wait to make an impact. “Show up and try to make an impact from the word ‘go,’” Bradway said.
“Bob’s candor and willingness to engage with the intern class is a great reflection of the culture at Amgen,” said Debleena Ganguly, an MBA candidate at UCLA’s Anderson School of Business who is interning in Amgen’s Global Commercial Organization (GCO) leadership program. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed learning from senior executives and appreciate leadership’s involvement in ensuring we have a successful internship experience!”
Richard Balagtas, who like Debleena is a graduate business student at UCLA’s Anderson School, also cited culture as a big reason why he chose Amgen for his internship. “Across the company, Amgen associates and senior leaders have been incredibly generous with their time and excited to provide career guidance to interns,” he said. “Amgen has the closeness and team familiarity of a boutique company, despite being a global enterprise. The company is filled with so many intelligent, humble, and patient-passionate folks that it makes you want to do more and be better for the patients we serve.”
Mike Schroeder, an MBA candidate from Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business who is interning in GCO’s commercial leadership program, commented that “every person I have met at Amgen strives for the same goal: serving patients. If you want to be in an environment where people don’t just talk the talk, but are attentive, humble, responsive, creative, and personable even amid adversity, then Amgen is the place for you.”