I work on a regional level supporting the commercial side of a pharmaceutical company.
This means, I do long term (>5 year) strategic work across different functions such as marketing/medical/regulatory and business intelligence, I worked across these functions in different therapy areas such as immunology, psychiatry and cardiovascular. This involved engaging in activities ranging from production of sales materials to internal communications and purchase order tracking.
I loved it - lot's of opportunities to add value, put forward ideas, travel, interact with colleagues on a regional level and lot's of freedom within the role to work on activities that inspired me or engaged my interest.
I felt very valued, I cared about the work I was doing and so I was recognised on many occasions for the value I was adding to the business, both formally (monetary awards) and informally.
I reported to many people throughout the year due to the cross functional nature of the role - this had it's downsides where my different reports never understood my workload, which mean that at times I became overstretched. However my main manager was very supportive of my development and gave me creative space to breath, I was in a trusting environment where I felt my ideas would be heard and where I knew my integrity was protected.
It depended on the period of the year, the first few months I was learning and getting to grips with the processes, and its a lot of admin. Later on in the year when I started being recognised for adding value and I'd learnt a lot more about how the business works, I naturally became busier as people understood where I could contribute.
The latter half of the year involved a drug launch and I became deeply involved with the production of all the launch materials, this was a very busy time - working late on a fair few occasions.
A lot - particularly towards the end. I was given the opportunity to create marketing/sales materials for use on a regional level, was placed in charge of video production for a prestigious award submission, lead the financial/budget tracking process throughout the year, managed and produced the content of the monthly newsletters, to name a few. I was told early on that the more capacity I showed of performing well, the more responsibility I was likely to gain! So I invested more time in areas I felt I could add value.
I am yet to return for my final year of university but I feel very well equipped to handle the tight deadlines/vast complex scientific content and other demands of my biomedical science course.
As well as skills development in areas like time management, communicative/presentational ability and analytical thinking, I feel I have gained a rich perspective on the working world which I believe has been invaluable.
Johnson & Johnson is known for a good working culture - people are friendly, willing to help and care about your development. I worked in an EMEA role so this meant I was in a different block to the other students and most of my colleagues were either travelling or working from home. So the atmosphere was mainly pretty quiet where I sat, I got used to working like this, tending to listen to music and working in silence. The lunch hall was always pretty packed though and I formed friendships with people all over the office through gym and through travelling etc.
It was well organised - I was given a two week handover by the previous student in my position and given all necessities to start out on my own. However my position was pretty broad based (one placement student supporting a huge strategic sub-organisation) This gave rise to some great positives such as creating networks with a huge range of different people and gaining experience through interacting with many different functions in the business. With the positives though, there were also some negatives such as nobody having a clue what my responsibilities/aims/objectives were and some very erratic periods of business and emptiness..
There were three or four workshops throughout the year, presentation skills, insights discovery, strengthfinder and a couple of others. I found all of them to be very useful for my development - particularly Strengthfinder, which enabled me to gain a lot of clarity over what my main 5 strengths were and how I could apply them in business and in my personal life.
Other than the set workshops, my manager invested a lot of time into my personal development and I was pleased that he saw some level of potential in me which he wanted to help realise. He was often very honest and was a very good listener, which always helps - he didn't recommend any adhoc trainings/sessions though, which on reflection may have been beneficial. The fact that he was Spanish and was learning English meant I could return the favour by helping him develop his language/vocabulary!
I've been told I'll be more likely to get the grad scheme if I should re-apply.
Yes, there were 12 placement students in total and we did fun stuff with each other on many weekends - drinks, food, cinema etc.
Broader than the students, I made friends with many others through the gym and through mutual colleagues.
High Wycombe is fairly cheap as it's down South, I've always lived fairly close to the office anyway so very conveniently I was able to live from home this year and pay a much reduced rent fee to my parents. LDN is about 30 minutes train journey away and naturally you'll tend to spend more money there..
In the near area, not great to be honest, High Wycombe has a yates and a few groily pubs, Marlow (the town I live in) has a better hub of bars/pubs/restaurants. You can always venture into London/Reading/your university if you should choose.
There's the on site gym, and I got involved with the football club for a bit, (I do free-running which is a bit niche for a corporate environment so I wasn't expecting much there...)