My Supply Chain Placement at GSK

Hi everyone! I’m Mustafa, a final year Business Management student.

I completed my placement at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in a supply chain role. My specific role was as a ‘Global External Manufacturing – Small Molecules API Operations IP’ – quite the mouthful I know!

I was basically part of a team responsible for the end-to-end management of external Contract Manufacturing Organisations (CMOs). These are third parties who create GSK products on behalf of the company. As the primary contact for these third parties, I facilitated effective communication ensuring the supply of high-quality Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) were on the correct timelines with no stockouts.

GSK application process

The GSK application process was very lengthy, consisting of five stages I believe. This started with competency tests and finished with an assessment centre alongside other candidates where you are interviewed and do a pre-prepared presentation. I didn’t necessarily see myself going into a supply chain role, but I was very open-minded going into my placement year and took the opportunity when it arose!

Starting my placement and skills I have developed

My first week consisted of getting to know my team who are based across the globe and getting stuck into a LOT of virtual training. Everyone I encountered was very welcoming and were happy to give up their time and answer questions, especially for enthusiastic new placement students. Over time the workload gradually increased, and I found myself with responsibilities such as hosting meetings and preparing slide decks within the first month.

The main skills I was able to hone throughout the year were networking, teamwork, and professionalism. My placement year massively boosted my confidence and gave me lots of practice in public speaking which I look to take forward into my final year at Surrey.

My other placement achievements

I was also part of a cohort of placement students within the External Manufacturing workstream who were tasked with raising £5000 collectively for Save The Children throughout our placement year. We arranged events from sweepstakes to raffles and quizzes to raise money throughout the year. Through these fundraising initiatives I picked up new skills in negotiation, marketing, and sales, making this thoroughly enjoyable.

My standout moment at GSK was taking part in a Tough Mudder, which is one of Britain’s biggest obstacle courses, alongside my fellow placement students – it’s safe to say I didn’t expect to be doing this when I applied for the role!

How I have developed on my placement

My placement year has not only developed me as a more rounded and professional individual but has also been very insightful as to where I can take my career going forward. I was able to explore different departments during my time at GSK and could see myself working in a more marketing-based commercial role in the future.

I would thoroughly advise a placement at GSK. It looks fantastic on your CV, and they are great at taking on new talent and developing you as a person. They take on so many placement students and the community and people you’ll meet on your journey are great to kickstart your professional network!

Find out more about Placements at GSK.