Emily Na

Name: Emily Na
Course: MEng Materials and Engineering
Year of Study: Year 4
Graduation Year: 2023

What work experience did you do?

I was a Process & Engineering Summer Intern at Procter & Gamble (P&G) in Reading.

What was it that inspired you to look for work experience?

I wanted to have a better idea of how it is to work in industry and to see if this is something I should pursue after finishing my degree.

Why did you choose to do work experience in this area?

During my study of Materials Science and Engineering, I decided to choose a field specializing on polymers, hence developing an interest in plastics and packaging. In relation to this, I felt very fortunate to be able to join a company offering exposure to this line of work.

Give a brief snapshot of your role:

  • I worked on projects in the Moulding team focusing on two major aspects: sustainability and injection moulding of plastic components in Gillette razors.
  • I collaborated with P&G staff from various technical disciplines in the UK, US, Poland and Germany to ensure successful completion of my tasks.
  • I independently managed and organized multiple experiments to obtain data which I further analyzed using Excel and JMP statistical software to support my final recommendations for my internship projects.

How did the Bursary award support you in gaining experience?

Given the long distance between Manchester and Reading, it was logistically not possible for me to commute daily from my student accommodation in Manchester to go to work. So, for my internship I had to relocate from Manchester to Reading over the summer. The Work Experience Bursary supported me by contributing to my housing cost during my summer internship in Reading.

What were the most enjoyable aspects of your role?

While working on my internship projects, I especially enjoyed the exposure I gained in meeting and collaborating with different P&G personnel based in various locations worldwide.

What were the challenges?

One of the challenges I faced was getting used to a completely new environment which was very different from the way of life as a student in the university. I opted to go to the office every day instead of partially working from home. I had to quickly become accustomed to the level of professionalism exercised in the workplace. Also, I had to adjust and get to know Reading which was a town I had never been to before.

Did you have any worries or concerns before your work experience and if so how were they dealt with and overcome?

Prior to starting my work experience, my main concern was figuring out where to stay during my internship. Luckily, P&G was very helpful. A few months before the beginning of my internship, they gave me some advice on options for accommodations and recommended areas to stay in Reading.

What specific or transferable skills did you develop through the work experience?

My time management skills, as well as my project planning and delivery perspective really improved during the internship. I also strengthened my communications skills and learned how to be more flexible by reacting swiftly to unexpected challenges.

Did the work experience give you any insights and have these influenced your career pathway?

Whilst although primarily working with the surveying team, I reached out to the planning department to see if I could attend any meetings and get an insight into the role of a planning consultant. I really enjoyed the insight and it inspired me to pursue further experiences related to planning.

Do you have any words of wisdom for future students looking to gain work experience?

Try to find something that aligns well with your interests or future career aspirations.