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Strathclyde Business School

Saltire internship: putting learning into practice

By Sally Cooper - Posted on 13 September 2018

Sally Reid carried out an internship in America this summer thanks to the Entrepreneurial Scotland's Saltire internship programme offered to undergraduates in Scotland. Here, she talks about the experience.

Becoming a Saltire Scholar this year gave me the amazing opportunity to work with Brammer Bio in Cambridge, Massachusetts as a Human Resources Intern.

The Saltire Scholar Internship aims to develop Scotland’s people to build the most entrepreneurial society in the world, through peer learning networks, delivering inspirational development programmes and leading positive cultural change. Unlike most internships, the Saltire Scholar Internship chooses you on the basis of your individual strengths, not your grades or the university you attend, and I really like the fact that it is truly open to all students as it is fully funded. This programme also differs from others because it offers support and guidance before and during the internship, and for years after it. However, its best feature is that I have now joined a network of previous scholars, alumni and business leaders across the globe and will be part of that for life. It will continuously provide me with a platform to engage and communicate with others interested in promoting the diverse range of business opportunities available in Scotland. I am honoured that I was chosen to represent Entrepreneurial Scotland in the USA. 

Brammer Bio is a contract development and manufacturing organisation serving companies seeking to develop and commercialise cell and gene therapies. My internship was in two phases. The first phase required me to perform an assessment of the use of social media to attract and retain employees by evaluating the company’s avenues and capabilities. During the second phase I conducted a follow up Employee Engagement Survey refined per the results of last year, comparing results to assess improvements and opportunities. At the end of each phase I presented my findings and recommendations to the company’s executive team, a nerve wracking but rewarding experience which has increased my presentation skills and confidence beyond measure.

My host company was so generous to me and continuously provided support and encouragement at each stage of the programme. I was especially fortunate as my CEO is a Founding Trustee of the Saltire Foundation, so I was well and truly exposed to the benefits of becoming part of this unique community. Brammer Bio showed the utmost generosity by taking me to their office in Alachua, Florida to gain valuable information from the various departments to assist me with my projects. Additionally, I gained insight into each department of the company which allowed me to consider alternative fields for a future career. 

By not limiting myself to one department, I have increased my knowledge of the company, its mission and the industry, as well as broadening my understanding of and capability to complete the task at hand. I have worked with a diverse, driven and dedicated network of people with extraordinary backgrounds and it was their determination to cure diseases which inspired me to have a lasting impact on the company.

On my first day at work, my supervisor stressed that travelling in America and taking all available cultural opportunities were just as important as the internship itself. I was encouraged to spend weekends exploring local areas and travelling further afield. During my time in Florida, I got time off work to explore the local area, and even got to spend a day at Universal in Orlando with the two interns based in there. By the end of my internship, I had been to Massachusetts, Florida, New Hampshire, Washington D.C. and New York and gained invaluable cultural awareness. I can't tell you how many new and wonderful experiences I have had.

Strathclyde is one of the leading UK Business Schools, providing a challenging and engaging learning environment and it is through my internship that I have realised just how much I have learned during my three years there. The lectures provided me with the theoretical knowledge to comprehend what was being asked of me and to tackle the internship tasks, and tutorials have supplied the drive and ability to immerse myself fully in the projects. I have always recommended Strathclyde as an exceptional place to learn, but now I understand that it develops you as a person too, making your future aspirations attainable.

This professional platform has allowed me to identify my strengths and weaknesses and hone my entrepreneurial mind-set. I have developed my communication, analytical and presentation skills and expanded my knowledge of a sector that I knew very little about prior to this internship. I have progressed on a personal level too by living in a foreign country for 10 weeks, adapting to new surroundings both in work and out. 

I am extremely grateful to my University for giving providing me with the knowledge and skill-set to take on this opportunity and for the Saltire Foundation for giving me the chance to build on it all. Admittedly, when I initially applied for this, I did not think I had a chance of getting to the final stage of the process, never mind living in Boston for the summer, so if you are deliberating over whether to apply, just do it!

Contact details

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