GSK – Singapore Blog 2

A few weeks in to the internship….

So now I am a bit more settled and I have my all important routine in place, things are still enjoyable. It seems to be once the routine is in place, you have the tendency to become complacent and therefore miss opportunities. I am not going to let this happen. I have a long list of things I want to see and do while I am in Singapore.

My colleagues have helped me to compile a list of must eat foods, while I am here. On that list is frog porridge, pohpiah, mee siam, ba chor mee etc etc. Most of them I have no idea what they are so I will have to wait to find out. I won’t be turning it down though.

I am enjoying seeing the signs and names of things around Singapore. It makes you wonder what they were thinking sometimes. For example there’s a drink called ‘Kickapoo – Joy Juice’ and an advertisement for ‘animal stools’ (which is actually seating shaped as animals – but to read it straight off without seeing the picture below makes you look twice. They are also very strict in Singapore. In the train there are fine signs stating that smoking = $1000 (500pounds), eating or drinking = $500 (250pounds), and inflammable liquid / gas = $5000 (2500 pounds). That would really be an expensive sandwich! But at least it keeps the trains clean. The seats are plastic though so it would be easy to clean I guess. Also it is illegal to have chewing gum in Singapore, which means there are no disgusting surprises when sitting down or holding onto a rail.

Talking of sandwiches. It has been a bizarre experience to see that sandwiches are the more ‘premium’ priced products that you can buy. The sandwich shop in the office building sells one half of a sandwich for $4.20 (2.10pound!!), whereas you can have a huge bowl of anything Asian (rice, noodles, fish head…) for the same price. So what I have always seen as the ‘cheap’ lunch choice, where you groan at the thought of not being able to afford something more interesting, has become the premium choice. But that works for me, because I’m more interested in trying new things, so the fact that it’s cheaper than a sandwich is definitely a plus!

My internship has been really enjoyable so far. I have been given lots of opportunities to develop my existing skills and learn new ones. I have been making full use of the resources available so that I have a good understanding of what I am talking about when giving advice to team members about their e-sourcing queries. I have created a number of ‘help sheets’ that are tailored towards each team member that has requested assistance with the e-sourcing systems.
Also new graduates have started a graduate program within the department, so it has partly been my responsibility to help train them in the e-sourcing systems. This has provided me with a good opportunity to improve my communication and planning skills as well as having the responsibility of training the graduates so that they are able to take over my role once my internship is over.

I do enjoy working in the office. There is a good view from building and the atmosphere is pleasant between colleagues across different departments, as it is an open plan style. The only problem is the ridiculously freezing temperature of the air conditioning. There is no way to escape it. Which is why it is a common sight to see colleagues walking around with shawls and cardigans while in the office, but not when they go outside. I think it’s a bit too extreme to be honest. But I still have lots of work to do and I kept very busy. It’s my responsibility to manage my own time, which is a great skill to have, although I already manage my time quite well, this experience is definitely helping to hone this skill.

Some of the responsibilities I have been given include:

– Building events in the e-sourcing system for internal buyers
o This includes questionnaires, requests for quotations and reverse auctions that will be sent to potential suppliers.
– Training internal buyers based all over Asia Pacific (Philippines, Thailand, Australia, China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam etc) in using the e-sourcing system. How to build events, monitor and run reports after the event has happened.
– Training suppliers in how to complete the event (enter quotations or complete the questionnaire)
o I have been given the opportunity to go to Malaysia for 3 days to train up 30+ suppliers in the system, which will be an exciting experience.
– Organising a meeting with team members in Japan as well as associated managers to find solutions as to why there is a low uptake of using the e-sourcing system in Japan
o I have the responsibility of preparing a presentation that builds to case of why they should use the system and how we can assist Japan team members to help them use the system more

These projects are all going on at the same time, so it has really pushed me into ensuring I plan and balance my time effectively.
I’m now a few weeks in and time is flying. I am learning so much, but I wish the time would slow down a bit.


About careersbham

Student Engagement Officer for Careers Network University of Birmingham

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