Throwbacks to my placement
Hi Guys! Hope you are all doing great. Following from my last blog, my former colleague Jamie visited me to watch Nottingham Forest vs Brighton. I hadn’t seen him for 5 months after my leaving party from my placement, so it was great to met up. Despite Brighton sorely losing 3-0 against Forest, still I was very glad that we had some quality time together with his top effort that he made all the way to Loughborough.
Enough talk about football! In this blog I would like to share about the experiences that I had working as a placement student last year. All undergraduates in Loughborough have the opportunity to undertake a placement year in industry. As an international student, I do treasure the chance to immerse myself working in a global environment. After multiple failures in job application finally I got a job offer as a placement student for GlaxoSmith Kline in March 2015.
Everything looked so interesting for me at the start in placement in July. As GSK is in a multinational pharmaceutical industry, quality and customer were the utmost important value in the company. Therefore, for the first couple of weeks at work, I had long sessions on skimming through the Standard Operating Procedures and undergoing numerous training sessions.
My first challenge at work came at the fourth day where me, some placement students and a lot of line managers went for a workshop about quality standardization and continuous improvement. On that workshop, I was accidentally elected as the team leader with the ‘help’ of my placement mates to lead a team full of line managers.
As a student who had only worked for four days in a massive company, I felt like my pants were getting wet at any point as every word I spoke, every instruction I gave and every action I made. I would be seriously judged by me fellow colleagues and that might possible put me in a very detrimental situation if I made any line managers unhappy. Thank God! My team gave me a lot of support and help and eventually we did an amazing job. Afterwards, I was very grateful that I was thrown into the deep end at my first days at work.
After the first little cchallenge, I started to take myself more light-heartedly as everyone in the office were so welcoming that I felt like home. Being more open made me form a good bond with my colleagues and I could learn more as others were willing to teach and chit-chat with me. I grew into my role as a Supply Planner for Asia Pacific region slowly but surely.
In my role as a Supply Planner for Asia Pacific, I was responsible to act as a front end to communicate with the customer representatives in Asia over the short and long term demand for antibiotics that our site made. Every day was dynamic and different with various kind of challenge from the production side and customer side. My biggest objective in this work was to coordinate with my colleagues to eliminate all the Stock Outs in the site. Me and my colleague Jamie were once featured in the company’s magazine about the works we have been working on.
Apart from being a Supply Planner, I was lucky enough to work as a Material Scheduler to gain some experience on procurement. It was a more challenging role that I had to actively manage the availability of components for medicine production. The most challenging part was that I couldn’t buy too much component beforehand given from the implication of cost, I couldn’t procure then at the wrong timing. After multiple mistakes, I grew in confidence in my role and I could comfortably support a smooth operation.
It is not just all work in the placement period. I also spent a lot of great times with my fellow placement students and colleagues on different kinds of team bonding activities: some party nights, dinner, running activates.
Participating in the Worthing 10km run
All in all, it was an amazing year working in GSK where I was welcomed by my flatmates from placement where we had great time sharing the house in warm and beautiful Brighton seaside that I would never forget in my life. Moreover, I was grateful that I have made some great friends from working in GSK as well as the invaluable life lessons from working with different individuals with different personalities and working culture. Well, hard times ahead in this month where I am due to complete the dissertation but still I can have some time having some holiday in the Czech Republic and Hong Kong for a cheeky break. Cheerio.