Industrial Placement Student at AstraZeneca Review

by AstraZeneca


  • The Role
  • The Company
  • The Culture

    The Role

  • 1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
  • I have really enjoyed my placement at AstraZeneca. I was given my own project to work on, which was really fun and allowed me to get a real idea of work in industry. Although much of my work was independent, colleagues were always willing to help when I needed it, especially my managers who were very supportive. Aside from enjoying the work, there was a good social aspect too, with events being put on for students in the company.


  • 2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
  • I felt very valued by colleagues. Although I was not part of a large team, everyone I met was very welcoming. Everyone I met was happy to help / answer any questions I had. I was trusted to work independently on my project, and my ideas were always listened to.


  • 3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
  • My two managers were always very supportive. When I initially started they made sure I was trained in everything I had no prior experience in, and set aside much of their time to do so. We had weekly meetings to discuss the project progress and to set goals for the upcoming week. Every other month I would present my work to them, and they would provide feedback - which greatly improved my presentational skills! Outside of the meetings they were also happy to help - whether that be answering project related questions or discussing personal matters.


  • 4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
  • As my project was computational I didn't have the time constraints related to lab-work, therefore I was kept very busy.


  • 5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
  • I was given a lot of responsibility during my placement. Much of the time I worked independently on my project.


  • 6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
  • I developed many bioinformatics skills that I would not have learnt without the placement year. I enjoyed this work so much that I am now thinking of going into data science as a future career.


    The Company

  • 7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
  • Everyone in the office was very friendly. I was sat alongside about 6 other students, so there was always someone to talk to or go for that daily coffee break!


  • 8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
  • Each project has been proposed and selected beforehand, so a work timeline has already been set out before you start. This meant I could get stuck into the project as soon as my initial training was complete.


  • 9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
  • My project was computational but I did not have prior coding experience, therefore a years subscription to DataCamp was payed for by the company to help me develop these skills. There are many other training opportunities available within the company also.


  • 10. What were the perks on your work placement?
  • Flexi Time

    Subsidised Canteen

    Sports and Social Club

    Subsidised/Company Gym

    Company Parties/Events



  • 11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
  • There are good future employment opportunities at AstraZeneca. We were told about the graduate scheme opportunities at AZ, which look very appealing to me!


    The Culture

  • 12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
  • There was a large social aspect to the placement year. We had an induction day where everyone could meet and ease our nerves about this big life change. Most students also sorted out living arrangements together. Outside of work we would regularly meet up and explore Cambridge. There were also events organised by the early careers network "AZInspire", which allowed larger groups of students to meet who worked across different sites.


  • 13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
  • Cambridge is a pretty city, but unfortunately very expensive to go out in (similar to London prices). Luckily AstraZeneca provided free tickets for a commuter bus to the site I worked at, so there were no travel costs. I lived very close to the station, therefore ent was a lot, however I'm aware some students found much cheaper accommodation closer to Addenbrookes hospital. AZ provide a good salary which was more than enough to cover the costs however!


  • 14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
  • I enjoyed my nights out in Cambridge, although coming from University in a large city it was not comparable. If you are a big fan of pubs then Cambridge is for you (although it is expensive).


  • 15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
  • There were quite a lot of activities to get involved in. These included STEM outreach and charity events - both of which were very rewarding to get involved with!


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Placement (10 Months+)


East of England

September 2020

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