Over the past winter, Amanda got the chance to work with alumni via an externship at Merck & Co., experiencing what it is like to work in the pharmaceutical industry over two weeks of meetings and career development aid. “Looking back, we were able to meet with more than 14 different departments in only four days, which is really incredible. Additionally, the hosts of our externship conducted mock interviews with each of the externs as well as coordinating a resume review session with HR so we could gain insight on the application process at Merck,” she says. As she looks back on her experience, Amanda notes that the externship was intensely rewarding: “After their presentations, there would be a Q&A session where we could ask about their career and how they got to where they are today after graduating from college. They gave a lot of good advice what to do and what not to, or what is the best way to achieve a certain goal. Everything they said just gave me hope for my future because their stories were so encouraging since a lot of them did not know what they wanted to be but ended up somewhere doing what they love.”
“I don’t think the externship necessarily impacted my future choices concerning my academics here at Ursinus, but rather enforced that I am on the right path. From what I heard from recent graduates who work at Merck, I am doing everything I can already,” Amanda adds. She was able to work with Ursinus alumni at Merck to tailor future classes she might take, as well as other experiences that could aid her in following her dream of working in the pharmaceutical industry as well.
Looking back at her experience over the winter, Amanda is surprised by just how much she learned about both herself and Merck. “Even though you may work somewhere in the US, you may have co-workers who live in Europe, Asia, or even Africa, but also within the other departments at Merck…The big picture I took away was a job at Merck will always keep you filled with opportunities and continue to drive the quest for more knowledge,” she says. Being able to talk with recent college grads also helped her figure out what she wanted in a future workplace: “It really changed the way I thought about the industry, and the type of career I wanted to pursue. It helped narrow down the departments I do and do not want to work in, but also the kind of work setting I desire.” For those considering trying out the externship program, Amanda suggests giving it a go! “I was able to make connections, get resume feedback, participate in a mock interview, meet with over 40 individuals in various departments and have small group conversations with them, as well as redefine my career goals all in four days,” Amanda notes.