A voluntary practical semester at Bayer? Alexander reports
My name is Alexander, I’m 22 and live in Cologne. I’m currently doing an optional practical semester in formulation development for parenterals at Bayer Pharma in Wuppertal. My work focuses on injectable formulations, infusions, and powders, concentrates and gels that are used to manufacture injections, infusion solutions and implants.
I’m a 6th semester student of pharmaceutical chemistry specializing in pharmaceutical technology at Cologne University of Applied Sciences, which has a campus in the Chempark in Leverkusen. Next semester I aim to complete by Bachelor of Science degree. Since my industry-focused course is based at the Chempark in Leverkusen, Bayer has naturally always been very attractive to me as a potential employer. That’s why I decided to apply for an internship in formulation development in Wuppertal. My five-month internship started on March 1, 2015.
The work I’m allocated is very varied, and I’m grateful to my supervisor who has gone to a lot of trouble to make my internship so wide-ranging. My tasks range from simple jobs such as restocking lab suppliers to investigating factors affecting particle formation in protein formulations. I really enjoy learning to work with new equipment and apply new methods. Sometimes it can be very frustrating, for example, if something keeps on turning out differently from what I had expected. But that makes it even more motivating when everything goes to plan.
Being an intern at Bayer means I get the chance to apply and build on what I have learned in my university course. It’s very exciting tackling complex tasks as part of a team.
I was surprised to have so many opportunities to gain an insight into different departments in the pharmaceutical industry. Bayer has a wide range of offerings that interns really should try to make use of. In addition, as an intern I can attend internal meetings and conferences that give me a good insight into present and future projects. That gives me a different perspective on what’s going on. I also greatly appreciate the fact that Bayer organizes many events for interns as well as offering them interesting and varied work. Events like these are a good way of getting to know other interns.
As well as learning new working methods, during my internship, I’ve got to know a lot of nice people: the colleagues I work with in the lab are really great and there are many friendly lab managers who are always ready to answer my questions.
During my practical semester at Bayer, I’m still enrolled as a student but I don’t have to attend any classes. That means I can spend the entire working week concentrating on my internship. And because I can work flextime, I can organize my time as I like. For me that’s great because it gives me time for other important things such as medical appointments and visiting my family.
When my internship at Bayer ends, I’ll finish my Bachelor of Science and then decide whether to look for a job in the pharmaceutical industry or to take a master’s degree in pharmaceutical technology.
I recommend any student who is considering working in industry later on to do an internship while they are studying. Even if it means they complete their bachelor’s or master’s degree a bit later, it’s well worthwhile. In my view, you gain enormous practical experience in an internship like this. At uni, there’s a lot of theory and the obligatory internships only offer limited scope to apply what you’ve learned. The internship at Bayer has given me an opportunity to work independently on things that interest me. My experience here has given me a good overview of what the world of work is really like.
If you’re interested in an internship at Bayer, take a look at our careers site: http://karriere.bayer.de/en/students/internships/germany/index.html
This post is also available in: German