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Summer Internship Series: My First Week at Xerox

This summer, a handful of GSMers have volunteered to blog their internship experience. Follow along as they share the ins-and-outs of a typical day in the life of of an MBA intern. First up: Parry

I’m one of a handful of Government Healthcare Interns across the country working for Xerox Services for the summer. My internship program is with a distinct LLC within Xerox Services, called Xerox State Healthcare (formerly ACS or Affiliated Computer Systems).   I’m at the Offices in West Sacramento, California, called the MOC or Medi-Cal Operations Center.  That means I get to be a part of Medi-Cal, the largest Medicaid system in the country.  To say “largest” is an understatement.  Medi-Cal is massive!  In 2009 there were over 11 thousand enrollees (that was 30% of California’s population at the time) and Medi-Cal paid out almost $41 billion. 

The industry and scale that Xerox and Medi-Cal operate within are unfamiliar environments for me.  Before enrolling in the U.C. Davis Graduate School of Management, I worked as an environmental geologist for a small environmental consulting company called Taber Consultants based in the greater Sacramento region.  Going from a regional, lower-million dollar company with 40 employees to a global, $20 billion company with close to 140,000 employees is a huge leap.  Xerox is #121 on the Fortune 500 (and Xerox State Healthcare/ACS alone was #341 on the Fortune 500 before it was purchased by Xerox in 2010).

My internship is in the Cost Containment Unit, which is a branch concerned with identifying, investigating, and proposing cost reduction strategies and changes to processes and policies to the State of California.  I am one week into my internship, and it has been a rewarding first week of learning.  I’ve had a detailed and manager-escorted orientation and introduction to the many departments and functions in the office, been walked through the course of claims processing, sat in two managerial meetings, and been able to shadow a statistician/analyst daily for intimate exposure to the issues, methods, tools, and language.  I mention language lastly, but it’s genuinely significant.  There is an uncountable amount of acronyms to describe healthcare procedures, codes, regulations, forms, departments, groups, etc. in addition to jargon that is very specific to both healthcare and Medi-Cal.  There is no getting around it: it will take a significant amount of time to familiarize myself with the acronyms and jargon of the business.  But luckily I have 3 months to absorb all of it!

Even though I am only one week into my internship, and I can confidently say I made the right decision to pursue it. The people I get to work with are intelligent, experienced, knowledgeable, friendly, fun, and savvy.  I get intimate exposure to the entire process because the people in Cost Containment, from management to administration, go out of their way to encourage, assist, and challenge me.  I’ve already had the opportunity to data-mine, create analytical tables and frequency charts using pivot tables in excel (Statistics 203A flashback) and been introduced to new software packages like Business Objects (BO).  While I bring that up, I should mention I’ve already been scheduled one-on-one tutorial and training sessions for BO with an in-house expert.  I love learning new software, and this internship is a great opportunity to become competent with BO which, of course, is required in the industry.  Basically, Xerox authentically cares about cultivating an internship experience with encouragement, knowledge transfer, training, and engagement.

Stay tuned as summer leads on to see if my internship remains as rewarding as I claim (that’s right, I’m ending this blog with a bad healthcare pun!)