By Sarah Henderson
In the fall semester of 2021, MBA 582: Sustainability in Business had BioMilq as a B Corp Clinic practicum project. As a Business Sustainability Collaborative Associate I was tasked with writing an article for the newsletter about the clinic kick-off. I researched each of the companies for the article and thought BioMilq’s mission of improving infant nutrition was admirable so I followed them on LinkedIn. As a first year full time MBA student, the expectation is to have a summer internship that allows for the transition from classroom to practice. While applying for internships in March of 2022 I got a notification from LinkedIn that BioMilq posted an MBA summer internship. I applied, went through the interviewing process, and received an offer upon which I accepted.
I recently finished my summer working for BioMilq, a mission based start up in RTP that makes human milk outside of the body. My onboarding included education designed to help understand the science of making milk outside of the body and empathy training. I had not experienced empathy training in previous positions and learned a lot from the training. The mission of BioMilq is to improve infant nutrition, that starts with every employee understanding the history of formula and the stimitization and destimitization of using formula. The infant formula shortage has affected families of all socioeconomic classes and is prominently on the mind of BioMilq employees. For BioMilq employees, it is important to know the nuances and circumstances that surround the decision to breastfeed or not. Some of the books used to guide the empathy training are Lactivism: How Feminists and Fundamentalists, Hippies and Yuppies, and Physicians and Politicians Made Breastfeeding Big Business and Bad Policy by Courtney Jung, and Skimmed: Breastfeeding, Race, and Injustice by Andrea Freeman.
After a quick onboarding, it was time to jump into my projects for the summer. I was on the go-to-market team and worked on models that will help guide future decisions. The beauty about working at a startup is that things are constantly changing to meet the business needs. I enjoyed being a part of the changing environment. I was able to use the skills I learned during my first year which included communications, influence without authority, and market sizing. I learned a lot from the BioMilq CEO, Michelle Egger, as she navigated the changes by making well informed decisions and communicating to the team the why behind the decisions. I had previously never worked for a company that is mission driven like BioMilq. I enjoyed the change of pace of making decisions based on the mission and will continue to seek out mission driven companies to work for in the future. I am currently enrolled in MBA 582 this semester and am very excited to learn and work with another mission driven company over the course of this semester.
“BioMilq gave me a glimpse into the CellAg world which was invaluable. I had no idea there were so many innovations happening for future food production.”
As the Business Sustainability Collaborative plans FoodCon for this school year, I am thinking more deeply about what innovators in CellAg can provide insight for students in business and agriculture.
A highlight of my summer was the team and culture at BioMilq. With so many of the team members having just joined in the past year, the team has a very cooperative culture. Every person that I came to with a question either took the time to help me find the answer or helped me find a resource to get the answer. I thoroughly enjoyed the breast puns, lunches on the patio, and Hawaiian shirt Fridays. Overall, I had a great summer at BioMilq full of learning and making connections in the CellAg and BioTech industry.