I have finished my first week at GSK Argentina and the work given to us was positively challenging and gave a real feel of what life as a graduate, and life after university would feel like. As far as our roles as internees was concerned we were given files, which had a full list of purchases. It was our role to categorise these suppliers so that we were replacing what was an old code with a new code which was being used by every Glaxo Smith Kline globally. It was our task to ensure that the new codes were made new, not only for Argentina where we were based but also for the rest of Latin America also.
Travelling to work started off well and then became more and more of a growing issue. The first day, the travel was although long, fairly straightforward. The apartment which we had communally agreed to book was in a small, pretty town called Palermo. In order to get to Victoria (the location of GSK) we would have to get on an underground to get into a place called ‘El Congresso’ which was the hub of all buses, and the place for which we would catch the bus which ran on the line 60. To aid this journey we had purchased Sub cards- the Argentine equivalent of an oyster card, whereby travel on the metro and all other forms of public transport was made more efficient.
As the days progressed throughout the first week, public transport here proved to become more difficult despite the genuine ease of the underground. We had later learnt that this was because of a strike with the bus line we were using. For every infrequent bus that had eventually arrived, they were all really full and paper was being passed round for us to right our names in petition for the strike.
The following days after this, the bus did not come at all, and once we were left stranded in a foreign place, but the generosity of the local people made it easier for us to get to work and also make new friends on the way. It then became common for us to arrive to work late because we would attempt using random buses to get to work. After contacting Careers Network, help was sought quickly and we were able to turn up to work on time.
Despite being in Argentina we also were made to categorise suppliers from all over Latin America, in order to cut the total spend. It is very exciting having all this information available to us readily and really makes us feel as though we have a purpose and are learning quickly. On top of this Diego Bernasconi (our boss) also gave us a memory stick for all the purchases in Latin America. This was quite stimulating as we had access to all the purchases of all the nations across the continent, even down to £3.41.
Another interesting thing about the company was that because Glaxo Smith Kline is an English company they calculate spend and money using the GBP. We also learnt that it was compulsory for the staff here to speak English. Henceforth, for this reason my lack of Spanish in the workplace was not too much of an issue at all. We were made to feel very welcome in the workplace immediately by all members of staff such as Ricardo (one of the leading figures in the company) to the Sodexo kitchen and cleaning staff. Being in a foreign environment miles away from home was not problematic in anyway. The other two girls and I have become so incredibly close in such a small period of time.
By Navneet Bal