GlaxoSmithKline Internship – Work experience is so important! It puts you streets ahead of your peers.
Don’t ask me, ask the majority of the 100 graduates 10 years out of university who said the same thing in my book ‘1000 Years of Career Advice’
Sushila also feels the same way, in the below interview you will learn:
- How she found out about work experience
- Her tips on how to get a work placement
- The good things and bad things about her work experience
- How she found working in an office
- Whether she thought it was a valuable experience
- What she might have tried to do differently
- How long the perfect length of work experience is, in her opinion
GlaxoSmithKline Internship: How did you first find out about work experience and when?
I worked at GSK first then a corporate finance firm and lastly with a technology start-up. I did each internship in my summers in between university years.
I’d really recommend getting work experience in as many different industries as you can. These firms will all be very different so you shouldn’t base big career decisions on one stint of work experience in one company or industry.
Each company I found through researching online but I was offered the job with the technology entrepreneur through a colleague at my previous work.
GlaxoSmithKline Internship: How did you go about researching placements? Any tips you would give people looking for one?
Initially I started asking people I knew about the companies they worked for and started to make a list that appealed to me.
I would advise making your CV as eye-catching as possible. To do this read as many CV’s as you can and speak to past university students who have already finished their placements.
Also, purchase some of the online practice test packs, and even though they may seem tough at first, practice makes perfect.
Initially I found verbal reasoning challenging but then you realise a lot of companies repeat their questions so you can become quicker with more practice.
GlaxoSmithKline Internship: What were three bad things and three good things about your placement?
Lots of responsibility and ownership of projects which is a hugely rewarding experience.
I built a huge amount of confidence because I was communicating and forming relationships with people from all managerial levels.
My placement did not give me an opportunity to experience other sectors of the business.
GSK is so huge that one division will be completely different to another. Even if I could shadow someone for a day in another division of the business, that would have been helpful.
GlaxoSmithKline Internship: Was working in an office very different to what you thought it’d be? And why?
Working in an office was different to what I thought it would be in the sense that I liked how you were not in the same desk every day.
This gave you the opportunity to speak to people from different teams and different managerial levels.
GlaxoSmithKline Internship: How long is the perfect work experience placement?
The perfect work experience placement for me would be 6 months in one sector of the company and 6 months in another sector.
It takes you 2-3 months to figure things out, what you have to do, what other people do, etc, so the next three months you can really start getting more involved and asking people about their jobs and career paths.
I found asking people about what they did in university and how they ended up working for GSK nearly the most helpful part of my whole work experience.
Lots of people have very different backgrounds to what they do for a living. In university you think everyone ends up working in what they studied, that is not the case at all!
GlaxoSmithKline Internship: Was it a valuable experience and why?
My placement was very rewarding and allowed me to develop as an individual.
I could go back to university with more of an idea of where I would like to potentially work and the new goals I could set for myself.
It also gave me the understanding of people’s career paths and the milestones they achieved to get to where they are.
I learned many skills such as; teamwork, leadership, the impact of innovation, confidence and communication.
It gave my CV more depth and experience, showing that I was consistently confident enough to develop myself in the business industry.
GlaxoSmithKline Internship: What % of your university (neuroscience) class got some work experience?
About 10%, I was really surprised.
I was the only kid who did non-science work experience.
My chances in interviews now are really increased compared to the students who didn’t do any work experience. I can talk about so many things from my GSK time, whereas they can only give examples of how they worked hard in university.
GlaxoSmithKline Internship: Looking back in hindsight would you have done anything differently?
In hindsight, I would have made the effort to work in different divisions.
Also, I would have tried to get more involved in any company activities they have/charity events as you can meet people, and even managing these events can allow you to develop leadership skills as well as put these on your CV.
To read my other interviews with work experience students, click on the below
You can find out more about internships at GSK here