I Got Hired: Chemistry graduate at AstraZeneca

Posted on: 16 April 2020 in Graduate stories

Victoria is graduating BSc Chemistry with a year in industry degree from the University of Liverpool in 2020. She has received an offer to work as a Client Services Director at AstraZeneca.


What was your best experience while studying your course at the University of Liverpool?

My best experience whilst studying my course was my year in industry. I worked as a medicinal chemist for GlaxoSmithKline during my third year and it was one of the best decisions I've made. The opportunity to experience the industry I wanted to go into, as my future career, was invaluable. It increased my confidence in my subject massively and meant that I came back to my fourth year with a new motivation to work as hard as I could to get the results I want. Although I decided my future career wasn’t to be in the lab like I had originally thought it helped me realise what I did actually want to do and I received a huge amount of advice from within the industry on how to get there.

Which aspects of your course do you think have been the most beneficial to your career development?

I would say that as clichéd as it sounds, my whole course has been incredibly beneficial to not only my future career but also in shaping who I am. Chemistry rarely ever goes to plan and therefore I have learned to be incredibly resilient and not to give up at the first hurdle which is an outlook I find very useful to have in everyday life. Also, chemistry comes along with a lot of contact hours and a large workload therefore it has taught me that time management is key and how to become the queen of to-do lists.

Can you please share an insight into your current role?

I’ll be starting my graduate role in September with AstraZeneca as part of their global operations graduate scheme. This will involve the other side of pharmaceuticals that isn’t the research and development. The scheme is three years long and I will take on 3 x 8-month rotations followed by a year of consolidation rotation. These rotations can be in a variety of job roles including procurement, IT, quality control, logistics or supply chain. I have a huge amount of flexibility as to which role I would like to apply for I just have to write a business case as to why I would like to explore that part of the business. I also have flexibility where I can work, I do my first 8 months in Macclesfield but after that the world is my oyster! I was really supported whilst preparing for the assessment centre for this job by the careers studio and by Dr Gaynor who ran my third-year employability module. I had to prepare a presentation for my assessment day and the people in the careers studio and Dr Gaynor allowed me to present to them whilst giving me incredibly useful feedback. The guys in the careers studio also helped me prep for any questions that I could expect and advice on how to prepare for a values-based interview.

Do you have any top tips to share with future and current students?

My top tip to current and future students would be to not waste time doubting yourself. Go after the career you want because the energy you waste doubting yourself and whether you can do it could be put to better use getting you the job you have always wanted. I would also say do not lose hope when applying for jobs, it is so competitive out there, but you just need one opportunity and usually it’s the one that was meant for you all along. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help, there are so many people on campus especially in the careers studio who are more than happy to answer any questions you have and give you advice so use them!

What is the first thing that you think of when you think of the University of Liverpool?

The first thing that pops into my head when I think about the University of Liverpool is the people. Liverpool is the friendliest city I have ever been to and the university wouldn’t be what it is without the amazing people that work and study here. I am incredibly grateful to have been able to spend my last 4 years as part of this university and genuinely couldn’t imagine doing my degree anywhere else.