February 9, 2023, by mzyhe3
UoN to GSK – My Experience Applying for an Industrial Placement
By Hannah Evans, Cancer Sciences student blogger
This year I applied to do a year of work experience in one of the biggest pharma companies in the world, GSK. For my fourth year I need to do a project whilst on placement. Glaxo Smith Kline is a key player in the development of cancer drugs, so as a Cancer Sciences student this is the place to be for a placement.
Getting experience here is highly competitive and the application process is intense. So, I thought I’d share my experience, so you feel more prepared if you want to apply here in the future.
I sent off my CV for their Biological Science Placement in mid-September. This placement offered 16 smaller and more specialised placements within it, but you had to apply to the general placement scheme before they would let you specify which ones you want to do. Take a look at all the year long undergraduate internships they offer.
World of GSK
Within a day of sending off my CV, I was sent a link to something called the World of GSK. This online assessment presented me with a series of scenarios and five possible responses. There were no right or wrong answers to these questions. I finished this in less than an hour – I found the faster I went the more honest I’d be with my answers. Some of the questions felt like tricks, as none of the options were good things to do, so I just had to go with the best of a bad bunch. Soon I was sent a form detailing what I’d done well on and where I could improve. Not long after that, I was told I had successfully passed that assessment.
Next came the application form at the end of September. Be prepared to set aside a few hours to do this. The application was split into sections. Section one outlined what you want to do, section two covered why you would be suitable for the role, and section three focused on your relevant experience. The first section was super quick and easy. This honestly won’t take longer than five minutes. The second section was by far the longest and hardest for me! There were just so many questions and each one took so much thought to answer. I must have spent a good few hours answering this bit. Section three was a lot simpler. If you can get lab experience before applying then this will be a breeze. If you haven’t done a placement beforehand, just call back to practical skills you’ve learnt at university. I’d advise researching the company before filling this application out. Tailoring your answers will make you seem like a much more appealing candidate.
The initial application, world of GSK test and official application form all came within a few days. It was a much longer wait before I received any information about the interview. Although, I did appreciate that every few weeks I received an email from them assuring me they were still looking at applications, so not to take the silence as bad news. In late October I was finally contacted about an interview. I was given two weeks to prepare. The interview consisted of a strength-based interview and a technical-based interview. I’d strongly recommend looking back over the job description to see what each department does and what they’re after in a candidate. I’d also recommend asking the interviewers questions at the end.
I did my interview on Monday morning, and on that Friday afternoon I got a call saying they wanted to offer me a place. If you are successful, you’ll find out really quickly. I can’t wait to spend next year at GSK. I hope to keep you all updated with what I do during my time there.
My number one bit of advice for applying here is to be confident in yourself! Just be honest about what you can do and be confident in your own abilities. If you apply, I wish you the best of luck! It’s a long and time-consuming process, but in the end its worth every minute.
The Careers Service has loads of useful tips on the website on how you can ace an application to a company like GSK.
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