Global Challenge – GSK HR internship, Casablanca, Morocco: Blog 3

Weeks four and five of my internship have been very exciting: Interesting assignments at work and interesting times out of work.

In terms of my Global Challenge experience week four and five have been more challenging, but also very rewarding.

I have been asked to draw up a proposal for the internal communications improvement campaign, in which I could make use of the essay-writing skills I have acquired during my first year of studies. The introduction was in this case the heading ‘Context’, containing the objectives that have been set out and the rationale behind the campaign. The body was in this case ‘Methodology’ in which the ways of achieving the objectives have been specified. The objectives will be achieved by launching an internal communications survey for all of the staff in GSK Morocco and also by conducting a focus group with members of the field force to better understand their needs. It delivers a detailed description of how the questionnaire will look, what qualitative and quantitative measures it will contain and what will be done after the feedback has been collected, which is: the drawing-up of a report including the results and suggested action steps to address the issues identified. The conclusion is in this case: ‘Desired Outcomes’. Here it is specified that the campaign aims to fully accomplish the objectives that have been set out and to use the qualitative feedback of -, but also the quantitative measures used in the survey and focus group for future measurement of the success of the action plan that will be implemented before I terminate this eight-week internship.

A new assignment for this fortnight has been to create a booklet on a proposed initiation of an internal work shadowing program called ‘Do my job’. This involved researching online and academically on how other companies go about these kinds of programs when conducted internally. The Human Resources Director, who assigned this task to me had a very similar program in her former workplace, therefore she provided me with a booklet that served me as guidance for designing a GSK-specific booklet. After reviewing a first draft with my supervisor we agreed that it should be more comprehensive and detailed so we added below the objectives and golden rules of the program, the obligations of the participant and the position holder. The research was not only beneficial for establishing objectives and rules, but also for the evaluation form that is attached at the end of the booklet. This should be handed in after participation to evaluate the experience and promote self-reflection on one’s post as well as the position holder’s post.

For both the internal communications improvement campaign as well as the work shadowing program I was asked to create presentations and conduct them to the management team. It was very exciting because one presentation was in French and one in English and after the presentations I received applause and compliments for my French which was great. Generally, since week three the work started involving more and more French which I really enjoy and is very beneficial for improvement. This was achieved by having conversations in French, translating the internal communications campaign proposal, the survey questionnaire and the work shadowing booklet and holding the presentation in French.

Regarding the intranet benchmark which I already talked about in the previous entry, my supervisor was not satisfied with what I put together, mainly because there was a misunderstanding in terms of the number of countries that should be benchmarked as well as the complexity of the benchmark. I made a mistake, so I put a lot of effort into creating a very comprehensive and neatly designed benchmark report that comprised of detailed content descriptions and screenshots to make it clearer. Afterwards my supervisor got back to me saying it was a great job and way better than the one before, so I was happy.

Skills I feel I am developing as a result of this fortnight are

  • Self-initiative
  • Multi-tasking
  • Use of second language
  • Benchmarking
  • Presentation skills

In terms of out-of-work activities I spent one weekend in Casablanca because I was feeling unwell, but luckily recovered rather quickly. The weekend after I went to the Sahara with my flatmates. We took a night bus to go there and in the morning met up with our guide whom we got to know during our weekend in Essaouira. He organized an amazing trip for us including a camel ride in the dunes where we spent a night sleeping outside just watching the stars – none of us have ever seen that many in our lives we agreed. The next day we went to the Atlas Mountains to enjoy the amazing landscapes there and go hiking. It was a simply astonishing trip where we could really see a different side of Morocco and experience the Berber culture at its best with our knowledgeable guide Abdul.

Blog 3 image Beach

SAMSUNG CSC

SAMSUNG CSC

On Wednesday in week five Ramadan started which meant quite a change in the entire lifestyle. Moroccans eat their last meal at around 3 in the morning and are then not allowed to eat, drink or smoke until 8 in the evening. Everyone at my work is doing it and even though many of my co-workers encouraged me to bring lunch I decided not to eat at work and if I drink I go to the bathroom. Even though they would not mind me drinking or eating at all it would make me feel rather uncomfortable and it is actually a cool experience because everyone at my flat does it as well, so we wake up at 3 in the morning, then we prepare something to eat and enjoy the meal together and go back to sleep afterwards. The nights are now livelier in general and, until 3 or 4 in the afternoon, 90% of all shops are closed.

I cannot believe that it has already been more than one month and that more than half of my time in Morocco is already over. The experience has been great so far and I really want to make the most out of those remaining three weeks.

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About careersbham

Student Engagement Officer for Careers Network University of Birmingham

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