This review was submitted over 4 years ago, so some of the information it contains may no longer be relevant.
I couldn't have asked for a better placement. I felt welcome as soon as I started and everyone was so friendly in the Bio-statistic's department. I learnt so many valuable and transferable skills which I found useful for my final year in university. I was very eager to return, and luckily for me I have managed to do this.
As soon as I started I was welcomed into my team and I felt like a valued member. I wasn't treated like I was a placement student, I just felt like an normal new starter. I had a couple of months of intense training, both on and offsite which got me up to speed quickly. As I mentioned, I have now returned to Roche and I still feel like my colleagues are really invested in me doing well and achieving my goals. I have made many friends here as well, working for such a large company gives you the opportunity to make many connections.
I was given a manager, supervisor and a mentor. I can't thank them enough for the time and effort they invested in me, its thanks to them I had such a great year. They found appropriate opportunities for me which I enjoyed and gained many different skills from. I asked at the beginning of the year to focus on my presentation skills, my manager found every opportunity for me to practice this in a friendly environment. I went back to university feeling very confident presenting.
I was told straight away, stick to your 7.5 hours a day as students aren't expected to be staying in long hours and certainly shouldn't be left to do so on their own. Working in the pharmaceutical industry, there are busy periods and quiet periods so my work load differed depending on where we were in a study. I never felt over worked and I felt comfortable asking many questions.
More than I thought I would be given by the end of the year (which I am really thankful for). I certainly wasn't thrown in at the deep end, but I was given the opportunity later on in the year to work with an external team of programmers who contacted me for further work and with any questions they had on the tasks they were working on.
As I returned to Roche, I think its clear that my placement year was invaluable to my future career. The medical statistics I learn't on placement came in handy when I returned to university as I could see a clear application of the statistical analysis. I can see my self in this role for a long time, I have already seen progression and I still love the work I do.
The Roche UK office is all open plan and the building is impressive. Each team sits together making it easy to ask all the many questions I had as a student :) The Statistical programming and analysis really does feel like a strong unit, supporting each other and sharing ideas which push us forward as a group.
When I was a student the internship wasn't that structured, it all depended on which team you worked with. However I helped put together more structure while I was a placement student which was carried on after I left. There is a now a lot of guidance and structure to the Roche Statistical programming placement years and I now now mentor the new students.
As I said, I had a lot of training in the first couple of months of my training but I had further training through out the year. I also had the opportunity to be involved in a Corporate team building event called the Microsoft challenging which is a series of intellectual and physical challenges against other company teams over three days. I felt very lucky as a student to be given this opportunity and I managed to raise £1000 for charity.
Sports and Social Club
The skills you learn are transferable to so many different areas not just in this industry. In terms of coding I learn't a lot of SAS which is an extremely sought out skill in the pharmaceutical industry. I also gained many soft skills like presentation skills and communication skills.
I was one of three other Biostatistics placement students, two went into Statistics and I went into Statistical Programming. We were all in contact before the placement and lived together while we were there. There is a great social scene in this department, we made many friends and being so close (20minute train journey) to London Kings Cross meant we had many places to go!
As Welwyn Garden City is quite close to London, the cost of living is fairly expensive but not too bad. This placement is one of the more well paid ones. With a 16-25s rail card you can get a travel card in London for ~£7 on off peak travel. There are plenty of cheaper pubs locally for a more 'student' like night.
Welwyn Garden city doesn't have the best nightlife but London is so close (20 minutes train journey) which gives you access to many different area. Hertfordshire does have many pubs! There are also some local towns like St Albans and Watford which I ventured into on occasion but London was always our favorite place.
Plenty! As I mentioned, I was lucky enough to be involved in the Microsoft challenge where I raised £1000 for charity. Roche also give people the opportunity to go other charity events such as sky diving and helping out in local chairity shops. This is all advertised on the Roche intranet.
Placement Year (10 Months+)
Computer Science, Mathematics/Statistics, Medical/Health, Pharmaceutical, Science/Research
3rd September 2015