Layla Ibrahim

Layla Ibrahim

A little bit about me 

Hi! My name is Layla and I am from Jordan. I decided to leave the small city of Amman and explore Natural Sciences at UCL. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of my degree, I was unsure about which route to undertake post-university.  I was really interested in gaining experience in industry to apply my theoretical knowledge to real life applications. Particularly, I was interested in the drug development process occurring behind the scenes of various medicinal products that intermeshes chemistry and technology. What better place to gain first-hand experience than one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies? 

The placement 

My project for the summer was to create a spectral library for Extractables and Leachables.  I prepared standard solutions of common plasticizers and injected them in LC and GC MS. I then analyzed and stored the data that I have generated from countless hours in the lab in a library. I know eek, sounds scary but actually having my library used by the entire team made me feel valuable as I knew that even within such a huge company the work I have done is going to make an impact.  I enjoyed the balance offered at GSK between lab work and office work as it has given me a chance to explore both.

What your highlights have been

I have enjoyed the entirety of my time here as I am learning new things every day. If I would have to pick a few highlights they would be the study days at various GSK sites. It was quite interesting visiting other locations and learning about the different departments of the company and how they all interrelate.   

My top tips for a new summer placement student 

On my first day I was quite nervous, but I soon began to realize how friendly and welcoming the environment at GSK is. My top tips and advice would be:

  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Everyone is willing to help, the environment encourages curiosity
  • Be proactive! The more you do, the more you learn. Reach out to people from different departments and ask about their position and role in the team. It will quickly become      clearer that 10 weeks is too short so make the most out of your time and absorb as much information as possible.

As for the application process, I really enjoyed the phone interview stage as it did not feel like an interview and was more of a discussion. Aside from my pre-interview jitters, the interviewer made me feel relaxed and calm when asking about my interests and ambitions. Make sure you do your research about the company and the program you are applying to.

Future plans 

I am excited to go back to university and finish my final year. Throughout my time here I have definitely improved my skills in project management, communication and teamwork which I will continue to use and build upon throughout my degree. My confidence has boosted as I have become more comfortable with approaching people and eager to learn more about the roles they undertake. GSK has given me the unique opportunity of improving not only my interpersonal skills but also my laboratory skills. In the future, I would like to pursue a job within the pharmaceutical field. I have really enjoyed working in an intellectually stimulating environment as that of GSK and hope to come back soon in the near future.