Global Challenge: Procurement internship, Buenos Aires, Argentina
History of Art
Details of duties/ responsibilities/ activities
During my internship I supported Procurement Regional Manager Cecilia Linskens. I worked solely with Cecilia and my role was to create documents that Cecilia was able to use in pitches, presentations, internally and externally of the business. These documents included Excel spread sheets, PowerPoint presentations and questionnaires. Therefore I was responsible for ensuring all the data was correct, clearly formatted and was in line with GSK working standards. I often had to calculate many percentages and transfer data from different documents, I was responsible for accurately handling and processing data, often in different currencies. I also assisted Cecilia in writing emails in English, helping her to phrase things more concisely and with more clarity.
My main achievements in the internship were when several of the documents I had created were used as the basis for Cecilia’s work. In the first couple of weeks at the internship I worked on a document that compared the costs of several agencies and compiled this information in a PowerPoint presentation. Cecilia used these facts in her pitch when she travelled to Brazil. I also created talent profile templates that were sent out to the different agencies together with several tables that compared hourly rates for the agencies which Cecilia used when presenting data to her boss.
Living in Buenos Aires also gave me the opportunity to have Spanish lessons outside of work. This gave me the opportunity to develop my multi lingual skills. By the end of the internship although I was not as fluent as I had hoped to be, I was able to understand parts of conversations in Spanish when at the office and could get by outside of work.
Most enjoyable part of the internship
In the internship I really enjoyed working closely with Cecilia as it gave me the opportunity to have greater insight into her role and be involved directly with the work she was completing. This experience allowed me to see that the work I was producing was being used and was effective, which was very rewarding.
Cecilia also introduced me to lots of her colleagues and I really enjoyed speaking to people in GSK and learning not only about their jobs but also their lives and Argentinian culture, politics and history. The internship being based in Buenos Aires also gave me the opportunity to practice my Spanish and I really enjoyed having frequent Spanish lessons after work. Learning Spanish enhanced my experience as it not only allowed me to meet new people but also to be more immersed in the culture and country. In the accommodation I was staying in there were people from France, Germany and the USA I also really enjoyed being able to meet new people from these countries. Living with people from across the world and not meeting a single Briton gave me the opportunity to learn about their lives, cultures and at times put me outside my comfort zone. This experience has been very rewarding and now I have friends across the world.
The skills I have developed the most are my IT, personal initiative, innovation and problem solving skills. As most of the work required me to work on the computer and communicate with Cecilia through Skype, I feel my IT skills in basic business functions have improved greatly. Prior to the internship I had very little experience in this department. However, through creating and seeing how many different documents are presented I feel I am more aware of the formulas used to calculate lots of data, how information is presented and the process in which businesses take in producing documents.
I had to use my initiative and innovation skills to find effective ways to produce clear documents. I also had to think of all possibilities to ensure the work I produced was accurate and informative. I also regularly discussed with Cecilia how we were going to tackle certain situations and create a plan of action, which required me to use and develop my innovative and problem solving skills. Although I have had experience in using these skills before, they were used and developed in a business environment which I feel will be valuable for the future.
How this will benefit me in the future
I think the internship demonstrates to employers that I have had experience in a business environment and therefore can bring knowledge and understanding to a future career opportunity. Working for such a reputable company such as GSK also shows employers that I have been entrusted with information and tasks in a prestigious business environment. Also as GSK has global and local networks, that were pivotal in the procurement tasks I handled. This internship shows employers that I have had exposure in working at a global and local level that could open up job opportunities locally and globally. The Global Challenge experience has also given me the time and opportunity to reflect on my skills, identify my strengths and analyse what areas I can develop in the future. It has given me the opportunity to show that I can work outside of my comfort zone and learn quickly how to complete tasks I am unfamiliar with, which will hopefully show to employers I am adaptable and a quick learner and therefore suitable for a variety of possible roles.
Working abroad also demonstrates to future employers that I am adventurous and not afraid of a challenge in the workplace and socially. As I travelled to Argentina on my own I was able to meet lots of new people and successfully create a good work and social life, the experience demonstrates I can work and get along with a variety of people and am adaptable and successful in new environments. This will hopefully open up more job opportunities for me across the world.