I absolutely loved it. It was so much more than I expected, and I can't believe how many opportunities I have been given. Every day was different and I was constantly pushed by my manager to develop and gain new skills. I have come away from this year as a completely different person and I couldn't be more grateful to GSK for how they have helped me develop.
For the first few months, I didn't feel overly valued, but I think this is expected as I worked in a big team of very talented and skilled marketeers so it is understandable that my opinions and views weren't always valued. However, I was very proactive and soon gained respect from my colleagues, proving that I should be valued. For the vast majority of the year, I have felt extremely valued and was often credited for providing a 'fresh perspective'. I now feel as much of a member of the team as everyone else, regardless of whether i'm a student or not. This translates out of work as well, and when we are out together I feel an extremely valued member of the team.
My manager was absolutely amazing and I can't thank her enough for how much she has helped me to develop. We had weekly meetings (if not more often) where she always checked up on me, checking that I was getting enough work, and ensuring that I was getting as much out of the year as I wanted. We set targets at the beginning of the year, and checked in monthly as to whether I was on track with these (personal development goals). My manager helped to make this year as successful as it was and I am lucky to have had such a supportive manager.
This varied - at the beginning of my placement (when I was less competent) I was not overly busy. However, as my skills developed and I got more sufficient in the job role, my involvement in projects increased and I soon got extremely busy. It was important to be proactive, and some of the work that I had was due to myself going out of my way to ask people if I could get involved in their work and help them, but I think this is a key skill that is needed and that everyone should do this. My manager was great at making sure I always had enough work, but likewise made sure I had help and support if the workload ever became too much. There were a few weeks where I was constantly working over time, but my manager soon helped me to manage this as soon as I let her know it was getting too much.
Again, this varied. About 6 months in, my responsibilities really increased and I was leading projects on my own and being the main point of contact. In the first few months this was not the case, but I know that is because I had not yet developed the skills to do so and needed more time working alongside my manager before she felt confident to take on projects of my own. By the end of the placement, I am running multiple projects simultaneously and people come to me directly with work. I am also invited to attend events and represent GSK, which is a huge responsibility.
I have completely changed as a person thanks to my placement year, and I genuinely believe that all the skills that I have developed will be beneficial to me for the rest of my career. I am confident, proactive, and keen to keep developing. This year has been invaluable to me and I will now graduate feeling excited to put my new skills into action.
Every day was fun in the office. The team atmosphere was great, and I enjoyed coming into work each day to spend time with my team. It also meant that I was never scared to approach people and ask them questions or ask for help. Despite being a lot younger than the rest of my time, the age gap did not make a difference. We didn't do loads out of work together, but when we did go out it was always really good fun and I loved the team atmosphere.
When I first arrived, it wasn't massively organised - my manager didn't have much work for me to do and it took ages of her inviting me to random meetings before I finally started getting involved in things. Once I started getting involved properly, little organisation was needed on her side as things just fell into place. The initial set up could have been smoother so that I felt more welcomed when I arrived.
Loads. My manager was extremely helpful and monitored me closely, with weekly meetings checking in on how I was getting along and whether I was meeting my agreed self development targets. She was extremely accommodating and open to me attending various events and workshops (whether they were directly relevant to me or not) in order to introduce me to a wide range of people and get exposure to many different areas of the business. If I ever wanted to visit another GSK site or organise a work related trip, my manager was extremely accommodating in letting me go if she thought it would support my self development.
Very appealing but also very competitive so not particularly easy to get onto. If you are lucky enough to get a job with the organisation (grad job) then it is really appealing, but it is really difficult to secure one, especially as the vast majority of other placement students will also be applying.
Average - it depends on what site you are working at. IP Unite did organise some events (christmas ball, end of year summer boat party), and there was a charity team organising events, but the social scene was dependent on who you made friends with and whether you proactively went out to socialise. As with most things, it was what you made of it.
Cost of living was expensive, but the wage we were paid was reflective of this (we got paid well, but it was needed based on how expensive everything was). Socialised was average, again it depends on where you live and what is available to you. Living near other placement students is the best way to increase the social scene
Nightlife again was ok, but it depends where you live. A lot of GSK sites were near London which obviously has lots of places to go out. There were various universities nearby as well, so if you lived near one of them and had friends there then there were more places to go.