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Robert Vega, Director FAC 18 / 2304 Whitis Ave. Stop G6200 78712-1508 • 512-471-7900

Becker Venture Services Group

Fall 2012 Site Review

Position: Research Associate Intern
Student: Psychology Sophomore

The internship that I have had throughout this semester at Becker Venture Services Group has been a great experience that has taught me skills that have prepared me to be a better student and have prepared me to be a better employee. I have been put in environments where I have had to perform research that was crucial to the investment management and I have been put in environments where I had to organize a social function for the company CEO. The spectrum of responsibilities ran the gamut and I would have it no other way.        

Each week I would be typically given a research assignment that I could preform from my computer. I would be strictly instructed to place my academics as my top priority and consider work only when I had fulfilled my obligations as a student. This was a great approach that my supervisor took. This made me feel more comfortable about my time management and really let me put school and work into perspective. After I would be given an assignment I would then research the topic throughout the week and typically write up a memorandum to send back to my supervisor. Then my supervisor would read over the memorandum and send me corrections so that I could learn how to make the same corrections the next time around.  This would give me notes to take and lessons to learn that would cause my skills to drastically improve on a week-to-week basis. Needless to say, this internship was a great learning experience that benefited me greatly.            

I would recommend this ten-hour a week internship to anyone. It has been a great experience that I am extremely thankful for. I would not trade this experience for anything and I value the experience just as highly as I value my experience in the classroom at the University of Texas.

Spring 2012 Site Review

Position: Research Associate
Student: Plan II Junior

Description of Internship and Internship Site: The complexities of FDA rules and regulations have created a need for professionals trained to navigate these complex requirements. FDA regulatory and compliance consulting firms provide healthcare companies with advice, strategies, and guidance in order to navigate new devices, biologics, and pharmaceuticals to market. Increases in FDA regulatory oversight have driven new demand for strong compliance systems in order to protect the patient and ensure the company is not fined. My role as a Research Associate at the consulting firm Becker & Associates has provided me the opportunity to work in this industry through the support of consultants and managers with the implementation of new quality management systems, the composition of a weekly newsletter, and other tasks to support the firm.

FDA and regulatory consulting is more stable than many types of consulting work as we work within a very narrow set of parameters. I have had the benefit of a mostly well-defined schedule of tasks where I know exactly what is expected of me. I write a weekly newsletter that focus on developments in the peripheral vascular industry that is distributed to over 4700+ recipients. Another key assignment this semester has been to participate in the updating of our internal quality management systems (QMS) as our firm responds to increased demand for our services. Other responsibilities have included keeping our website up to date, participating in meetings, and performing a great deal of research to support the actions of Managing Directors.

A typical day often begins with the editing of work documents completed by consultants and Managing Directors. I will review them for grammar and style and submit them to the individuals so that they can move forward with the projects. I will then assess the status of my current projects, whether that is this week’s newsletter, the next stage of QMS implementation, or other more long-term projects such as research memos. I will work on these assignments and frequently coordinate with other Research Associates when I have questions. There is a very well defined chain of command and as I complete tasks I will submit them to my Managing Director, who will either approve me to move forward or request additional information.

Since I am still the bottom of the chain of command, I am sometimes given assignments that are not “billable” - internal work, like the QMS project, that does not charge a client a fee as it is focused on the firm. These projects often provide me with unique glimpses into the activities of the firm that I typically do not deal with by requiring I support one particular compliance professional. Sometimes I have been asked to fill-in for the research of one project I would have otherwise not been involved with or to help a consultant I have never worked with before.

FDA regulatory and compliance consulting is a unique form of consulting that delivers a product truly designed to help patients. Our work ensures that companies run the right trials or build factories with strong compliance systems in order to prevent the disastrous consequences of a faulty drug or device. Our work is hard, yet rewarding, and I feel that we offer real value and applicable solutions to the client in a way that many consulting firms cannot.

Fall 2010 Site Review

Position: Research Associate
Student: Plan II Honors Senior

The venture capital field is a broad segment of the financial industry comprising of firms which provide equity to emerging companies or technologies. A venture services group (VSG) provides due diligence and brokerage services to investors as well as often operating its own investment portfolio. In my position as a Research Associate at a life sciences VSG, I supported the CEO in a variety of needs including research, document and presentation production, and writing assistance.

A typical day at my VSG firm could call for any one of a number of duties. Most days, I begin by addressing the current state of our brokerage, research, and investment projects. I catalogue correspondence between our CEO and investment partners, portfolio companies, and potential clients. By reviewing the progress of each project, I am competent to speak on any one of the diverse endeavors and bring the CEO up-to-date at a moment’s notice. The most pressing responsibility associated with this task is to be ready with “action items” for every project – essentially the answer to my boss’s question, “what’s next?”

These action items often include following up on phone conversations by preparing electronic document packages to send to potential investors, buyers, and partners. I work with the Managing Director and the CFO to organize these materials and I often am charged with formatting them for style and clarity as well as reviewing for grammar and spelling. In many cases, I will be told orally or via email the contents of a presentation the CEO needs and I will draft and refine a presentation to be used by him at a later date.

I also assist with research in order to provide the team with the most accurate information before investment or brokerage decisions are made. I study industry periodicals (in this case, life science journals and trade magazines) as well as market reports which indicate the status and value of other venture deals.

I also serve as the team’s “utility” player; being called upon to provide a wide range of services at a moment’s notice. These duties have included checking the math behind complex financial evaluations to working to develop plans on how best to address a particular VSG challenge.

VSG firms are small places driven by personality and experience. In this environment, I have had the opportunity to learn new skills in the exciting life sciences industry while equipping myself to handle a range of tasks in the private equity field. The ability to work directly with leadership has provided me with an outstanding opportunity to learn and develop as an analyst and strategist. A life-sciences VSG provides the tools necessary for emergent medical technologies to reach the market and legitimately heal and relieve the suffering of the sick and can be very rewarding for that reason.
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