Medical Sciences student at University of Leeds

Catherine Lunn

Where did you do your placement year & what was your job role?

Pfizer - marketing (Pharmacy Development Team, Customer and Channel Marketing)

Why did you decide to do a year in industry?

I thought it was a great opportunity to take a year out and gain some industrial experience and seeing as I wasn't entirely sure at the time what I wanted to do when I graduated, I was hoping the year would help me decide.

Could you describe a typical day on your placement?

Very busy! A typical day would involve a lot of meetings and plenty of emails, working on various projects simultaneously

What were your key responsibilities? How did these develop as your placement progressed?

At the beginning of my placement it was to help my team with marketing projects and organise our stands at pharmacy conferences etc but as the year progressed I led many of these projects, organised meetings between teams to discuss the progress of the projects, meetings with various agencies. I went to customer meetings, awards dinners and was often the sole representative of Pfizer at national conferences where I met customers and discussed what we had to offer pharmacists and their teams

We want other students at Leeds to know what an exciting opportunity the year in industry is. What was the real highlight for you?

The highlight for me was executing the organisation of Pfizer's annual pharmacy advisory board meeting - an annual meeting where we invite 10 key opinion leaders in the pharmacy industry to come to London for a one day meeting and discuss current issues in the pharmacy world. This gave me real experience in both organising the logistics of the meeting but also compliance and budgeting. I saved the team £24,000 by not having external agency help and instead organising the entire meeting internally.

What aspects of your degree were relevant to your placement?

As far as theoretical science goes, none. But I would say doing a science degree has made me think logically and that definitely helped during my placement. The vast majority of colleagues in my team had done marketing degrees so I often was able to give a different viewpoint in certain situations

What opportunities has your industrial placement opened up to you?

Plenty of job opportunities!

What advice would you offer to other students considering doing a year in industry?

Best decision I made, so worth it and a great experience. It's also really helped with the final year of my degree - I've got a much better work ethic!

What were the most enjoyable and most challenging aspects of your placement?

The whole thing was challenging, I was busy almost every day and definitely a sharp learning curve which was daunting to begin with but my team were supportive and I quickly picked things up. Again, the whole thing was enjoyable; I don’t think I would have changed anything about it. I enjoyed the fast pace and challenging work - I definitely wasn't treated like an intern but as one of the team

About the University

Why did you choose the University of Leeds?

For the course - the medical sciences degree looked really interesting and covered everything I wanted in a degree. I was also interested in doing a placement year and the campus is great

What have been the highlights of your time at the University of Leeds?

My placement year is definitely my highlight - it's also made me appreciate my final year a lot more so I've got involved in so many opportunities that I wouldn't have otherwise done

How have the facilities (libraries/labs etc.) helped you get the most out of your degree?

The labs are great - in my first 2 years I used them every week for several hours and it definitely helps being able to relate your theory work to practical lab sessions.The library is really useful to go and work - I've always used health sciences library

What aspects of your course helped you to make friends?

The number of contact hours, and the number of different group work projects or lab sessions

Have you joined any student societies/sports clubs at the university? If so how has this enhanced your time at the University?

I joined kickboxing and krav maga in my final year which is a great way to keep fit and learn how to defend/attack - you also meet loads of people which is great. I think joining societies is a great way to learn new things and meet different people that you probably wouldn't have otherwise met.

What key aspects of your experience of Leeds would you highlight to students thinking about coming do the same course/programme?

The placement year! Also the Union is great. Definitely the course - the variety of topics/subjects you cover and the freedom in 2nd/3rd year to pick and choose modules that you’re most interested in.

What are your ambitions for the future? Do you have specific career plans? Has the University (careers centre/lecturers etc.) helped you with these goals in any way?

The careers centre has helped a lot with my CV/cover letter for grad scheme applications.