Pankaj gained a degree in chemical engineering before studying for a Masters degree in Management. He is now a process development engineer for GlaxoSmithKline.
In 1999 I began a degree in chemical engineering. I was keen to study a subject that involved the practical application of science and required a large element of problem solving. Specialisation in chemical engineering really fitted my needs.
After my degree, I decided to study for a Masters in Management, which provided me with the opportunity to apply my scientific skills to a more commercial-focused subject.
I used my Masters project to learn more about the consumer healthcare industry, and focused on researching the world’s top five pharmaceutical companies. It was through this that I learned more about my current workplace, GlaxoSmithKline, and even developed contacts there through networking events.
It was through this that I decided a role within consumer healthcare would suit me, since it’s a particularly fast-paced field that would give me the chance to make a contribution to global projects, and work with products that I, as a consumer, use regularly - such as toothpaste! I discovered that the company was keen to recruit chemical engineers and decided to apply.
I’ve now been at GlaxoSmithKline for five years and during this period my role has gone through several changes. I started as a graduate support development engineer within the process technologies department, and then had the opportunity to be the lead engineer in my own projects, and, in my present role, to be the lead engineer in complex projects while also supporting graduate engineers in their career development.
There are many positives to the role. I really enjoy being involved in creating new products and there’s a good balance of time spent in the office, plant and travelling, which keeps the job ever-changing and exciting. In the future I hope to focus on delivering more complex products while also developing my leadership skills and assisting in creating new strategies to ensure the company remains competitive.
My advice to new graduates is not to rely on academic performance alone. Although obviously this is always important, chemical engineering is about the practical application of science, and your practical ability is just as important as the academic side of things when working in industry.
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