August 15, 2017

Kiara: Risk analysis at Blue Cross Blue Shield MA

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA) is a long-time partner of the PIC’s summer jobs program. With many departments and job functions for students to choose from, the company offers students a glimpse at a wide range of careers from IT to insurance to risk analysis.

This summer, PIC student Kiara got the chance to work in a department that had previously only accepted college interns. Working with Yvonne Howard, senior risk consultant, and the rest of her team, Kiara performed risk analysis on new projects and initiatives at BCBSMA. Primarily, Kiara and her fellow interns were focused on researching and developing new options for a division-wide tracking system that would enable better intake and management of new projects.

Yvonne notes that Kiara was shy at first, but her ability to take in and synthesize information stood out immediately. To help her come out of her shell, Yvonne paired Kiara with a few of the college interns on the team who served as peer mentors. “Kiara brought such a great energy to the team. Our college interns absolutely loved her,” says Yvonne.

A typical day for Kiara  included a morning check-in to set priorities, attending meetings with staff at all levels of the company, and working on presentations and project plans. Yvonne says there were some hesitations about bringing a high school student into this highly visible role, but Kiara quickly proved them unfounded. “There was the initial concern of how she would be able to adapt to business – especially at our level of going into meetings with leadership, but she was fantastic. She fell right in with the college interns, and matched, and in some ways even exceeded, the work that they did. The biggest surprise for me was how quickly Kiara was able to adapt.”

Beyond her strong performance, Yvonne says that Kiara brought a fresh perspective to the team’s work. “I think sometimes when we do things all day, every day we forget to take a step back and look at the big picture. Hosting Kiara helped to spark some fresh ideas and to look at our work through a fresh lens. For example, the interns started to do presentations a bit differently than our division typically does, and we’ll definitely use that style again.”

The summer culminated in Kiara and the other interns delivering a presentation to the entire division about their work on the new tracking system. Each intern had a specific piece to deliver, giving them ownership over the project. Yvonne says that the work they did will serve as a launching point for the team to re-think how they manage incoming projects.

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