Policy and Communications Executive at MSD

Placement Year (10 Months+)
Hoddesdon Greater London
Review Date
£18,000 - £19,999
Pharmaceutical Public Relations

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The Role



The Role

1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?

My year at MSD has been absolutely fantastic. I've thoroughly enjoyed working for one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies in the External Affairs department as a Policy and Communications Executive. I have gained so much experience and learnt a lot not just about the company but about myself too. It's been great!


2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?

I felt really valued from colleagues both in and outside of my close team. I have been treated as a full time employee which is reflected in the amount of responsibility I have been given throughout the year, and by how much I have been trusted. I have made some great connections!


3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?

The support and guidance that I have been given has been excellent. I always feel I can go to my managers about anything, and regular check ins have ensured I have received a great amount of support, even during the current pandemic I've felt really connected. I have felt like they are always able to make time for me regardless of how busy they are.


4. How busy were you on a daily basis?

I would say I've had a really good amount of work on a daily basis. Some periods have been busier/ quieter than others, and I've enjoyed this variation. I enjoy being busy and my team has given me the opportunity to get involved in various projects. At my regular check ins, my capacity is assessed to ensure I have a good level of work to get on with.


5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?

A lot!!! I've really enjoyed the level of responsibility I've been given as it's shown how much I've been trusted. It's enabled me to develop my skillset massively and get involved in lots of different projects. The level of responsibility has also allowed me to stretch myself and develop myself.


6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?

I not only received training on the job but had the opportunity to attend courses as well which have all been hugely useful. All my work projects have allowed me to develop my skillset which will be useful for life and have set me in a good place now coming to the end of my placement.


The Organisation

7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?

It was always a really positive atmosphere, from constant food treats brought in by the team, to Christmas jumper day, secret Santa, lunch breaks with the team and more. It's been a really uplifting place to work, with smiles and hellos to other employees who walk past which always brightens your day!


8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?

It was very well set up and my transition into starting with MSD was smooth. My team were excellent in ensuring I had a great induction and having a two week handover with the previous student was really useful. The handover pack I received at the start was really useful.


9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?

From both in-house training including a presentation skills session, agile training, and more, to external training including communications training days, parliamentary training days, and again more, MSD was always really flexible and supportive of ensuring I had opportunities to attend training to provide the full experience. I've learnt a lot from both internal and external training and have really appreciated being given these opportunities.


10. What were the perks on your work placement?

  • Flexi Time
  • Subsidised/Company Gym
  • Financial Bonus

11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?

MSD offers a couple of graduate schemes, including Business Insights and Sales & Marketing, both of which are two years long and rotational. Unfortunately at the moment they don't offer any more grad schemes, but they do offer entry level jobs in most of the departments, which appeals to me.



12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?

Yes, the student cohort was always up for socialising at lunch time, after work and at weekends. There was also a good social scene amongst colleagues too, as everyone was so friendly and always up for having fun. I lived with another placement student from MSD which was really enjoyable.


13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?

Living close to London wasn't the cheapest however you can always find cheaper places to eat and drink so it wasn't too bad. Living costs weren't the cheapest either but again, that's what comes with living close to London. You're always able to look around and find cheaper alternatives too.


14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?

Hertford nightlife was quite good, there were lots of bars, pubs and a couple of clubs which, when you're with all your friends it doesn't matter too much where you are! Again, being close to London it's not the cheapest but there are cheaper places if you look around. It was really great being close to London as you didn't just have to stick to Hertford and could venture out!


15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?

We were able to visit one of the other MSD sites in Newcastle and there were plans to visit the other sites too however the pandemic prevented this. There was also the chance to spend a day volunteering with a local charity which again was sadly prevented by the pandemic. In terms of 'extra curricular' activities outside of the day job, there were plenty of opportunities to take on additional projects of interest which was really nice.