Procurement internship, GlaxoSmithKline, Costa Rica, through Global Challenge

Philippa worked independently on a project to increase the use of catalogues in the Central American and Caribbean region (CARICAM) during her internship.

Her main responsibilities included; analysing the total spend and transactions of suppliers in the CARICAM region, liaising with suppliers and colleagues in other departments to gather rates information for the suppliers, creating Excel spread sheets for the creation of the catalogues, uploading the catalogues onto the system, verifying the catalogues work with internal users, and training others in the department on how to create catalogues.

Philippa believes her main achievement was carrying out successful meetings with a range of people within the GSK procurement departments, and by "being able to liaise with both suppliers and internal users in Spanish."

Philippa says she enjoyed being given real responsibility from day one and was made to feel part of the team right from the beginning. She enjoyed the work environment, which was very laid back and friendly and everyone was always "willing to help and give advice whenever I needed it."

Philippa enjoyed the fact she felt that she "made a difference to the department" by helping them to introduce this new system which she believes will hopefully improve the procurement process for GSK in the future.

Some of the most important skills that Philippa developed was her "communication and interpersonal skills" as she had to communicate with suppliers and internal users on a daily basis in both Spanish and English, effectively explaining the new system to them whilst also receiving information from them too.

Philippa also "learnt self-management skills" by working on the project independently and was responsible for managing her own time and planning the progress of the project herself.

Philippa’s multi-lingual skills were also developed: "before completing the internship I had a good level of Spanish but I improved a lot during my time there as I not only communicated in Spanish during my time at work but I also had to communicate in Spanish outside of work too."

By gaining a thorough understanding of the procurement process in GSK and an insight into how companies run their business and what methods can be put in place to save costs across the company Philippa has gained important "commercial awareness" from this internship.

Philippa believes that because she is interested in applying for procurement jobs in the future "having experience in a procurement department of a well-known company will hopefully benefit me when applying for other procurement roles."

However, Philippa believes even if she wasn’t going to apply for jobs in procurement "this internship has provided me with skills that are necessary for a variety of roles". In particular, for jobs that require language skills.