1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
Interesting, relevant project
2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
Very keen to let me lead the project. Sometimes frustrating when conversation about my project was carried out in Swedish.
3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
Clear guidance when necessary, but lacked constructive criticism.
4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
Sometimes quiet when my project first started. Once I was up and running I always had something to do, but did not feel under excessive pressure.
5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
My project was my responsibility and I was trusted to get on with work. However there was always support when it was needed.
6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
I learned more about my likely career path from 1 year at AstraZeneca than in 3 years of university!
7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
The atmosphere was relaxed, but serious. People worked hard and ensured they were not distracting others, but small amounts of conversation were completely normal. To give an example, I was able to ask my supervisor questions and discuss results at my desk without worrying about distracting others. If more in depth discussion was needed there was meeting rooms very close.
8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
The set up was very well organised. I was sent some initial reading prior to arrival, and then given details gradually when I started. There was a clear plan set up prior to arrival. However this did not limit my creativity during the project – I was responsible for making important decisions and designing experiments. The clear focus was important to ensure the project progressed effectively.
9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
Personal training was focussed on my laboratory skills – I was trained well in each new technique well and then supervised when first carrying it out. The programme did not focus on personal development, but the AZ Youth society put on a number of events, including a networking event with senior leaders within the company.
10. What were the perks on your work placement?
Staff Sales/Staff Shop
Working from home
11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
Short term, employment prospects are not appealing. The graduate programme focuses on laboratory skills. If this is the career path I choose, a PhD would be preferable. Unlike other companies, they do not have a programme focusing on science outsite the laboratory.
However as a company to work for they are fantastic and I would be very keen to work for them in the future. They have a strong secondment programme, allowing for personal development of staff.
12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
Yes – there is a youth society which meets regularly during working hours for lunch and informative talks. They also arrange regular official socials such as meals and laser tag, and meet informally most weekends. This is important – most employees are married and therefore the Youth is the main social scene if you are not.
13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
The cost of living and socialising is more expensive in Sweden than in England. However the salary matches this. Meals cost more, as does shopping. Alcohol is noticebly more expensive. Conversely, travel is subsidised. The monthly travel card covers all areas of the city, including boats to both the northern and southern archipelagos. Additionally, museums and parks are all free.
14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
As somebody who does not go to clubs I cannot comment on these. What I am aware of is that entry is often expensive, and limited to those over the age of 25. There are a number of very nice bars in the city, including one with views of the whole city and theme park. This is not excessively expensive and worht visiting. There are a number of nice, affordable restaurants in the city too.
15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
You had to be actively looking for activities outside of work, but they were there if you looked. For example multiple colleagues were able to recommend table tennis clubs. AstraZeneca has film, photography and a number of sports clubs. Both of the universities in Gothenburg often advertise programmes you can get involved in socially.