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Case Study: Louise

Personal details
Degree:MChem Chemistry Profile picture
School(s): School of Chemistry
Year of Graduation:Jun-2012
National of: Scotland
Employment details
Organisation: Croda International
Job title: Graduate Applications Scientist
Occupational Sector: Science Analysis
What has been your route to getting your current position?
The application form was fairly standard with 4 questions at the end which should be used to differentiate yourself. I received a phone call a few weeks later inviting me to the assessment centre. The assessment centre was 2 and a half days long, testing everything from numeracy and grammar skills to teamwork, presentations and of course an interview. Although it was long, it was quite a relaxed assessment centre. I was offered the job on the Monday after the assessment centre finished on the Friday.
What does your job involve ?
I am currently on the graduate scheme which involves doing 3 different placements within the company. My first placement was in the labs in personal care which involved testing development samples, making formulations for marketing campaigns, writing reports and presenting results. My current placement is in the labs in geotechnologies. Here I test existing products for different applications, write reports and present results. I also have more interaction with the sales team, answering enquiries and working on customer projects.
What are the best bits of your job ?
I like being able to change job every 9 months which will hopefully help me decide on exactly what I want to do. The business is also very varied and so there is a lot to learn. It is also a global company which means that there is the opportunity to work abroad.
Why were you successful?
Croda likes people who are willing to move as they have several sites in the UK and others all over the world. I did a summer placement in a chemical company in Switzerland through the student exchange programme IAESTE which definitely helped.
What skills/ knowledge from your degree have you found particularly helpful in this role?
Lab experience and a knowledge of reactions and how chemicals are likely to behave has been very useful.
What advice would you give to students wishing to follow the same path?
Hours of work vary depending on the site. I work 8.30-5 with a 1 hour lunch break with lunch provided for free at work. Most people commute at least 40 minutes to work and so there are a lot of car shares meaning that most people work just their hours unless it is necessary to work later. There are a lot of graduates and young people, meaning that there are quite often social activities outside of work. Croda has a fairly friendly atmosphere and it is easy to fit in. I would advise people wishing to follow the same path to get some work experience, make sure that they are willing to move about and demonstrate this.