IFGcure Inc.

Research Intern

June - August 2019 • Los Angeles, CA

What I liked

What I wish was different

I had a very negative experience interning at this company. I often felt that I was treated unfairly and that my work and ideas weren’t valued. As interns, instructions for our assignments were unclear, and our work often went unnoticed by our supervisors. Additionally, interns were unfairly paid an unlivable stipend of $500 every 2 weeks. We were usually paid late as the CEO’s son would forget to bring our paper checks to the office on Fridays. It’s clear that the people running the company have a ton of money but just don’t like to give it to other people. For product research, the company conducts empirical IRB-approved studies. Their research is highly unethical, primarily because of conflict of interest. Not only were the studies run by the company’s interns, but the management oversaw the studies, influenced how the data was collected and analyzed, and even made revisions to the final papers so that they would better suit the company’s marketing needs. When I brought up these issues, I was told by my male supervisor that I “speak my mind too much.” One of the doctors we worked with for a study was incredibly rude to the interns who showed up at his office, demanding that our CEO be present in order for us to run the study there. He physically pushed us out of the office, without introducing himself or providing an explanation. We were subject to this mistreatment when we had no idea what was going on. When we returned to our office, our supervisor justified the doctor’s actions rather than validating how upset we were. He neglected to recognize his own fault in not properly coordinating the study logistics and communicating with our CEO. This is a clear example of the little top-down transparency in the company. Decisions were made by people in charge that left us feeling confused and in the dark. Here are just a few additional examples of the problematic and unprofessional behavior I observed while working there: - One of the managers drank and went clubbing with his interns several times during the summer. He also flirted with one of the interns throughout the summer. - Some interns received shirts valued at around $200 while others did not. - The CEO is super frustrating to work with. He loves to talk, but it’s mostly bs, and doesn’t like to listen to anyone else’s ideas or needs. He thinks he is untouchable because he inherited a lot of money and has an MD. - Employees’ concerns are often invalidated by management, and worse, sometimes not heard at all because people were afraid to speak up. There was no HR when I worked there. - The company is founded on nepotism rather than qualifications. Many of the employees in upper level positions are either related to the CEO or friends with the family. Prior to joining the company, they didn’t have any experience in the company’s industry or with product management. However, they were reluctant to listen to the ideas of those employees who did have experience working in the industry. - When revisions were made to one of the research papers, the author names were changed. One of the female interns’ names was changed to the masculine version of her name. Another one of the female interns’ names was removed entirely. Additionally, the CEO’s son was added as an author, despite little work on his part. The CEO’s friend, another MD, was also added as an author. Often, the CEO asks one of his friends who are doctors to be an author / principal investigator on a study, despite them having minimal involvement.


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