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First encounters

I first heard of COMPASS in early 2018 thanks to Michael Pollan’s book “How to change your mind”. I like to listen to audiobooks while running and I’ll never forget the day (and place – the zoo bridge in Cologne) when I heard the author describe the early work in which COMPASS was involved. It was exciting to learn of a company that was taking a scientifically rigorous approach to psychedelic therapy for those living with depression. I was all too aware of the ineffectiveness of current treatments, having relatives who live with the condition. That evening, I went home and prepared my cover letter to enquire about internship opportunities, and the following week I had an interview with the company. My first impression of the company was wholly positive, an impression that was reinforced throughout my internship.

An opportunity to grow

Due to work and university-related matters, the earliest I could begin my internship was January 2020. However, in the interim, the COMPASS team stayed in touch, even inviting me to their London offices for a visit. I began my six-month internship in the Market and Patient Access team as a part of my Master’s degree in Medical Pharmaceutical Science. Admittedly, I was outside of my comfort zone for the first couple of months, coming from an academic environment into the world of industry. Under the mentorship and guidance of my managers (Anais and Marco), I quickly adapted to this new style of working, and developed personally as well as professionally. In my opinion, one of the advantages of doing an internship in an innovative start-up such as COMPASS is that you get to work closely with senior people who possess a wealth of experience in their areas of expertise. I feel this exposure and opportunity for growth might not be possible at larger organisations. And I certainly learned more in my six-month internship with COMPASS than I did during 18 months of university.

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You get to work closely with senior people who possess a wealth of experience in their areas of expertise

A motivated team

The highlight of my internship at COMPASS was my fellow interns. I had the pleasure of meeting many brilliant and driven people. My impression was that everyone working within the COMPASS team was there because they believe strongly in the company mission of accelerating patient access to evidence-based innovation in mental health care, which creates a motivating and positive working environment. However, I don’t want to give the impression that COMPASS is all work and no play, far from it. The social opportunities afforded to interns are numerous, ranging from evening drinks to football, to movie nights. Social events continued throughout the “new normal”, my favourite being the monthly virtual quiz!

Beyond internship

I would recommend completing an internship with COMPASS to anyone who wants to work with a team of people who are passionate about transforming mental health care. My managers and team made me feel my opinions were valued and, from my perspective, this internship was a “win-win” situation. I certainly learned a great deal, and I hope that the work I completed was useful to the company. Following my internship, I have now been lucky enough to return to COMPASS as a contractor, consulting on matters related to Patient and Marker Access. This position allows me to continue to support the team as they work towards a world of mental wellbeing.

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Everyone working within the COMPASS team was there because they believe strongly in the company mission

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