My work experience at Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson

Lucy reflects upon her role as a Marketing Assistant in the Haematology Business Unit as part of her work placement at Janssen Pharmacetical, part of Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and the benefits of spending a year in industry. 

How did you find this placement?

Applying for a business placement is something which was actively encouraged by my academic advisor at Durham in both my first and second years of study. When applying to different schemes, I used the Rate my Placement website as an efficient way of completing my applications and researching different opportunities. Since working at J&J, I have been chosen by our internal recruitment team as the Johnson & Johnson representative for student placement opportunities on Rate my Placement ( which really gave me the opportunity to share best practice and insights with new applicants who are interested in the scheme.

The process of applying was similar to most companies that I have applied to; online application, telephone interview, numerical tests and assessment centre. However, I felt J&J were significantly more organised and prompt with their process.

What have you been doing on your placement?

The job description of a Marketing Assistant at Janssen focuses on supporting one specific therapy area, and all of the brands within it. Therefore, working within the Haematology (Blood Cancer) commercial team, I have had the opportunity to support two brands. Firstly Imbruvica, a transformational breakthrough in B cell malignancies for the treatment of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia and Mantle Cell Lymphoma. And secondly, Velcade, an 11-year-old product largely considered as the backbone therapy in Multiple Myeloma.

As part of my personal development I think it’s incredibly important to exceed expectation in everything I do. Therefore, having become confident in my ability to manage the core processes in the first few months of my placement, I was given a wealth of opportunity in taking on responsibility that is considered to be above and beyond the student remit. Over the last 9 months I have been given the opportunity to lead all of our creative agencies to oversee their activity, design all our major conference stands, and create digital marketing campaigns, as well as working within our cross functional teams to gain experience in Communications & Government Affairs, Medical Affairs and Market Research.

How do you think this placement has benefited you?

I can’t stress enough how beneficial my year in industry has been to my personal development, commercial awareness and career aspirations. Before beginning this journey, my knowledge of the pharmaceutical industry was lacking and as an aspiring marketer, my scientific capabilities weren’t my stronghold. Nevertheless, I have learnt an invaluable life lesson by stepping out of my comfort zone and embarking on this journey.

By taking a year in industry, I have gained the experience of working within a corporate organisation which in turn has allowed me to develop strong communication, organisational and time management skills. Therefore, I will use these skills within my academic studies in final year but also, in extracurricular activity as I have been recently elected as the Vice-President of Durham University Women in Business 2015/16. I feel this is a fantastic opportunity for me to share the best practice from my placement and channel it into a Durham University Society.

The Stephenson College motto reads ‘Me quondam mirabitur orbis’, which translates to  ‘One day I shall astonish the world’. Although I feel this is a little on the optimistic side, it’s always something I have found quite inspirational and so I would close this chapter by saying that my year in industry has certainly astonished me,  not only in what I can achieve but also how I can challenge myself to develop and excel. It is for this reason that I would thoroughly recommend the business placement scheme to any students who feel passionately about gaining corporate experience.

 Written by Lucy Buckley, Marketing student at Stephenson College.


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