Global Challenge Finance Internship with GSK Part 3

In my last week, after having a solid understanding of Risk Management, I identified each department’s addition of new emerging risks and also, the changes to the existing controls which affects the risk rating, inserted them in the matrix and finished it off. I have also read some very interesting Harvard Business Review articles (which were free for GSK employees) regarding Risk Management which put everything that I have learned into context and developed my commercial awareness. During the week, I was busy signing documents, taking the last courses that were compulsory before I leave. It was a very busy one and time flew so quickly!

Since it was the last week, I really tried not to waste time being tired in the hotel room. So, in the evenings I went to Mall of Emirates. It is massive and has brilliant architectural features (which is not surprising at all here, in Dubai)! It has every high-street designer you can think of! Moreover, it has Ski Dubai, the first indoor ski resort in the Middle East! And the best part was that I enjoyed a lovely coffee while watching people having an amazing time on the ski slope.

The stunning Mall of Emirates

The stunning Mall of Emirates

In my last day, Jonathan came to me and told me that I cannot leave because I have done something really bad and I should come with him. I was shocked. I did not understand what was happening, what I have done wrong. It was actually a lie to surprise me. He walked me to the Finance Director’s office and all the lovely Finance Team was there. The Finance Director and Jonathan held a speech on my behalf where they thanked me for my contribution and wished me every success in my future career. Afterwards, they gave me a stunning bouquet of flowers and a lovely chocolate box as a wonderful gesture of appreciation for my contribution there. I really did not expect all this effort, especially because I was there only for three weeks! I was so warmly surprised of their fantastic treatment! This gesture spoke loads about them as individuals and about GlaxoSmithKline’s culture.

Saying goodbye

Saying goodbye

Also, before I left, Mr. Abhay came to me and told me that he wants me to have something from him. He said that he was not really aware that I was going to leave so soon, otherwise he would have taken me every day and showed the real true Dubai. .He is a lovely gentleman who has a passion for photography. He loves travelling and he showed me some really amazing pictures from all the places he has been to. He gave me some gorgeous pictures of Dubai, with his name on the back so whenever I will look back, I would remember him. That was such a lovely gesture! It made me realize that I really did connect with some amazing people in such a short space of time.


Also, since that was my last evening in this stunning city, I spent it having a lovely dinner while watching the beautiful Dubai Fountain. The view was incredible.

I could not believe that this was the end of such a fantastic experience! I walk away from this international internship different. I do FEEL different, dear blog. For me, it was more than just an international exposure to the career that I want to pursue. It was more than a critical part for a well-rounded education. It was a life-experience that shook me up, moved me, waked me up to the fact that the world in which I live in is a diverse one and therefore, if I really want to build a successful global career, I have to be able to build fruitful relationships with people from all over the world, I have to open myself towards divergent ideas and embrace diversity! And this international internship helped break these “cultural” barriers and foster\ built relationships with some fantastic people from different cultures. Every day, I used to go and have lunch with Ahmed, the new Financial Accountant for GSK Dubai coming from Egypt. He was more than a mentor for me throughout this period, he was and still is a fantastic friend. And he is just one example. All the people that I met along the way really made the difference to the whole experience that I had.  Yes, it was small in the length of time but it was “extensive” in “learning”.

Moreover, it was a shift in my way of thinking and perceiving the world.  And this is highly important especially because the world in which we live in nowadays is indeed changing. Not long ago, I was reading a fascinating book called “The World is Flat” by Thomas Friedman and he was saying how nowadays not only countries and companies go global, but individuals have to go global if they really want to succeed in this borderless, flat world. For example, I want to get into one of the Big Four which are global leading professional services firms with offices around the world.  They compete internationally and they expect us, their employees to make the journey with them. And again, this internship has been a key experience that sharpened my adaptability and flexibility to various socio-economic environments which are essential skills for a successful career with them.

It was a journey through the WORLD, towards MYSELF because by being OUT there in the world all alone, by being challenged every single day culturally, academically and socially, the ultimate impact was upon me. I threw myself into the whole experience, I grabbed it with both of my hands and really made the most of it. I grew J.

Thank you, Global Challenge. Thank you, Sue. Thank you, Ravinder. Thank you, Jonathan. Thank you, Ahmed. Thank you, all for making this crucial experience for my future career from impossible to possible. This was by far a clear example of how much this university cares about and invests in me, one of the thousands of students studying here.

Global Challenge, making it possible!

Global Challenge, making it possible!


About careersbham

Student Engagement Officer for Careers Network University of Birmingham

One thought on “Global Challenge Finance Internship with GSK Part 3

  1. Lovely post – thank you. I’m sure that in future years you will remember this experience very vividly for what it gave you, and you’ll remember that it’s the people which make the difference, not the companies. After all, companies are just collections of people – even if they are united by a company culture. Ultimately it is people who shape our lives – and it sounds as though you’ve been lucky to meet a great bunch from GSK. Good luck in your next steps!

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