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School of Biological and Behavioural Sciences

Meet the Undergraduate – Dilan Al

In this blog we spoke to Chemistry with a Year in Industry student Dilan Al. Dilan, from Turkey, started studying in the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences (SBCS) at Queen Mary University of London in 2014. Supported by her industrial supervisor at SBCS, Dr Chris Jones, Dilan did her industrial year in Switzerland, working for Pharmaceutical company Hoffmann La Roche.

Dilan Al

Dilan Al

Why did you choose to the year in industry path?

I chose to do the year in industry as I think it’s very important to have experience when you’re applying for jobs, maybe more so than what you achieve in terms of grades. You can meet people, work in a professional environment, apply what you have learnt and learn to think on your feet. Communication skills, leadership skill and teamwork are all skills that employers are looking for and the year in industry helps you to develop these skills. I worked for the company from Monday to Friday and they sponsored me, paying for my accommodation and supporting me throughout the year. It also allowed me to travel a lot and I learnt German so there were many benefits of taking the year in industry course.

What advice do you have for those looking to gain an industrial placement?

Organisation and practice is key. I think an important skill is interview skills, and one way of attaining those skills is through workshops, practising questions that could be asked and booking appointments with the career services to strengthen your CV and cover letter. My interview for La Roche consisted of approximately 30 minutes of technical questions and also, a few questions about the company and their products. I think one important point is to always research the company, their core values, the products they sell as well as information in general about them. Finally, my final advice would be to try to be calm and show that you’re a nice, enthusiastic person that is willing to work hard and learn.

Why Chemistry?

Chemistry is a central science and its impact is large on the daily lives of the general public and it has always been the one subject I have always really enjoyed learning from a young age. A chemistry degree has helped me question the fundamentals and understand why something happens the way it does, through my degree I have learned to be inquisitive, a problem solver and to think in a strategic manner. Also, with a chemistry degree I believe I have the option of obtaining a job in many different fields, such as pharmaceutical, petroleum, chemicals and even finance.

What are your plans for the future?

I’m going on to study a Masters in Catalysis: Chemistry and Engineering. This summer I’ll be looking into PhD and graduate opportunities for when I graduate.



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