I was initially interested in an internship in microfluidics, energy or process development. The internship list was extensive and the topics very interesting. I wrote several applications (approximately nine) and received three interviews; two of which were on the phone. For the last, I was asked to meet my interviewer at the company offices. I ended up being hired by a big chemical company to work in the development process.
I was graciously welcomed upon arrival. Sharing an office with my supervisor, we prepared a plan for my project, and I was to report back on a weekly basis on my progress.
From the very first day, I felt like an integral part of the team. At times, the language barrier was difficult to breach, as many employees were conversing in French. Thanks to this experience, I improved my French skills considerably. Additionally, I now have a better understanding of the industry and of professional work habits. I definitely learned a lot.
My advice to future students: prepare carefully for your interviews. During the internship, take the initiative of contacting your supervisor and your colleagues.
After the internship, I was convinced that I wanted to begin working in the industry as soon as possible. Now that I have started my Master project, I am hesitating to embark on a PhD.
For my Master internship, I aspired to work for a big international chemical company. I had little trouble finding such a position, after completing only five applications. I was fortunate enough to have been hired after a short phone interview that lasted 15 minutes.
I was welcomed warmly at the beginning of my internship but I had to quickly manage on my own. After four weeks, I gave my first presentation, and every two weeks I met with my supervisor to discuss my project. At the end of the internship, I presented my work in front of the top managers of the company.
The internship objectives were well suited to my skills. I had no particular difficulties doing the work. Through this internship, I realised how industry is primarily result- and efficiency- oriented. However, I also recognized that an organisation can, at times, be dysfunctional and miscommunication between people is not uncommon.
Furthermore, I undeniably improved my relationship skills. I am now able to adapt myself to work with different people, from different backgrounds. I am more autonomous in problem solving and I have learned how to better manage my time.
My advice to future students: choose the internship option and apply for topics that please you.
After my Master degree, I would like to work for the company where I carried out my internship.
I wanted initially to work for an oil company. I completed two applications but was not selected in the end of the process. Finally, I found an internship in the safety area and I enjoyed it a lot.
At this internship, I was well welcomed. I would meet my supervisor weekly, and we would plan and define new objectives together. At the end of my experience, I gave a presentation within the company and to some external people as well.
During my internship, I made several personal improvements. First, I improved my skills in the use of several techniques (machines, and programming), and also, since the internship was in the German part of Switzerland, I improved my German language skills and knowledge of the Swiss-German culture as well.
The internship requirements suited my skills well (except in programming where initially my abilities were not quite sufficient).
I also enjoyed a lot the work atmosphere and the teamwork involved. I felt like I was part of a family-owned business. Thanks to that internship, I have now a nice professional network and job opportunities for the future.
My advice for students: choose the internship option. Doing so will facilitate your decision between PhD program or continuing to industry. Also, do not hesitate to go in the Swiss-German part. Lastly, apply to a job even if the given position does not fully match your criteria.
After finishing my diploma, I think I would like to work in industry for a year, and then start a PhD in collaboration with a company.
I wanted initially to undertake an internship in pharmaceuticals of food industry. Being a non-French speaker definitely made finding a job more difficult for me, but I ended being hired in a big food company, after going through a long, three hour, interview with several people (HR, managers, etc…).
On the first day of the internship, my supervisor welcomed me and introduced me to all my fellow group members, and then showed me the lab and the facilities. Right away I felt completely integrated. The working atmosphere was very nice. There were about 20 interns and each week we would eat together. Also, there were a couple of company events during my internship.
I started my work with bibliographical research and after one month, I had to propose a method for my project, and a plan. In this regard, it was more like research work. My supervisor was very available, if I ever needed any help. At the end, I gave a presentation to the whole group.
I would say that the topic itself was quite difficult, but that the technical environment was rather easy, in comparison to what I had to do during my studies. I had to deal with several people, and I learned a lot about communication skills in the professional environment. I had to define methods by myself to solve the problems, which is substantially more difficult than in school where the teacher gives us the guidelines.
During my internship, I improved my time management a great deal. This time management will certainly help me for my master project. In the end, I did not end up having to use any French during the internship.
I was very impressed by the quality of the company organisation.
I have now a very good image of the industry. I had to work hard, but doing so was very motivating. Thanks to that internship, I gained self-confidence and I learned how to better deal with people.
My advice for students: work hard and manage your time carefully.
After the master project, I would like to continue in industry, ideally in a food company in China.
Wang Na (China)