Tag Archives: Enterprise

Harriot’s Placement Year Blog

Hi everyone!

My name is Harriot, and I am a Medical Biochemistry student currently on placement at an agency called H4B Manchester, which is part of Havas Lynx – a leading global healthcare communications company. H4B is a company that aims to improve the quality of life of people with an illness, by combining pharmacology insight with consumer thinking by talking to real patients in order to look at all the things that make us human.

A quote from the yearbok - this just speaks for itself.I love my course, but I have never really been interested in a career in research. However one of my main goals in life has always been to help people and make a positive difference to the lives of others in one way or another. I of course understand the importance of research, and that the breakthroughs made lead to helping people all over the world. However, I’m a sociable person who likes to be involved in discussion and debate. I am also quite a creative person, and I thoroughly enjoyed studying art and design at A-level. I knew that I needed to use my placement opportunity to explore alternative career options available to a life sciences graduate. After browsing the available placement opportunities, the Havas Lynx Enterprise placement appealed to me the most. So I was very excited to be invited to interview!

I was given a tour of the office and I was made to feel comfortable and welcome by everyone that I met. I knew straight away that this was the sort of place I would like to work – so when I received the call to let me know I had been selected, I was over the moon! They told me that I would be included on the 2015 graduate scheme, so I was very pleased to find out that I would be starting on the same day as quite a few others; I wouldn’t be the only new girl, which was quite a relief. I was originally a little nervous, but really excited about the year ahead. The scheme kicked off with a company arranged ‘Freshers’ Week’ – a fun-filled, jam-packed week of skills development and team building exercises.

Working at an agency, life is fast-paced. Throughout this year I have never felt like a placement student – I was treated as a valued member of the team from the start, gradually being assigned more and more responsibility. And I loved it! However before I knew it, it was January and I was no closer to deciding on a project title. As much fun as I was having, the whole outcome of your placement is to produce a project report of the year!

Following some discussion with my placement supervisors, we decided that I would write up a project that we had been collectively working on, The World vs. Multiple Sclerosis (MS) – an initiative created to help make the everyday lives of people living with MS that little bit easier. I have been heavily involved in the social media aspect of the initiative, community managing the social accounts, speaking with people living with MS and building a community to help support them. It has been an absolute privilege – it‘s so great to see our work really making a difference to people’s lives.

My other daily tasks typically include a lot of emailing, phone calls, meetings, generally coordinating and collaborating with the team to make sure that work gets done, and done well. My official job title is ‘Account Executive’. It is the accounts team’s responsibility to ensure that the team is aligned and motivated to help create the best outcome for the clients, and therefore for patients. However, throughout my time on placement I have had the opportunity to learn about a variety of job roles through both working with my team and other teams – collaboration is key to the success of any agency.

The final major part of the graduate programme is ‘Worksmarts’ which will be held just before my placement finishes at the end of June. We will stay off-site for three days of intense activity designed to challenge, test, and stretch the skills we have been developing over the past 12 months. We will be working in teams to develop ideas, which we will then be pitching back to some of the company directors – which is both exciting and a little daunting at the same time! As part of the graduate scheme, we are expected to develop a specific set of behaviours that will help our personal and professional development. These behaviours include: curiosity, personal credibility, drive to deliver, collaborative and consultative. We have had to self-evaluate on these behaviours, as well as eight specific deliverables (understanding the agency, quality control, financial and time management, science, strategy, creative, technology and client services) and I personally feel that I have come so far since starting at H4B.

We are definitely rewarded by the company for all the hard work we put in! I would be doing Havas Lynx a disservice if I failed to mention #LYNXLife. This concept was developed some years ago in an attempt to maintain the original culture that was felt in the earlier stages of the agency’s lifetime. From the smaller weekly perks like breakfast Mondays (free breakfast – pastries, fresh fruit, bagels you name it), and office dog days (employees are allowed to bring their dogs to the office, it’s amazing) to the more extravagant soirée’s. Since I started working at Lynx, we have been for a number of team meals and activities such as ‘Break Out’ and ‘Geocache Manchester’ which involved a sort of treasure hunt in which we had to answer questions related to particular location checkpoints around the city centre.

We also celebrated our achievements at the #LXAcademy Awards which was held at the town hall last month – an extravagant black tie event with special guest speakers, great food and dancing. My team swiped an impressive three awards overall (best motion, best pitch and grand prix) which of course we were thrilled about. May 2016 was important for Havas Lynx; it was the company’s 30th birthday. We started the day with a live Q&A session and talks from some inspirational guest speakers. Following this, we had great food, delicious cocktails, and endless fun in the photo booth. We celebrated 30 years of with performances from a live band and DJ. An incredible day spent with some incredible people. To top it all off, we got to witness one of my colleagues Chris crowd surf which was hilarious! My motto ‘work hard play hard’ definitely applies at Havas Lynx. We stay late, and work through lunch breaks some days too. But our work ethic just emphasises the fact that we are passionate about creating the best work possible for our clients, and in the long term bringing about the best outcomes for patients, which is very rewarding for us.

We had a blast celebrating Lynx's 30th birthday!

We had a blast celebrating Lynx’s 30th Birthday!

My experience of working in a professional business environment has taught me so much. Being surrounded by such talented, experienced and inspiring individuals has helped me grow on a professional and a personal level. I feel so lucky to have found a placement that was so perfect for me. I have built working relationships and made friends for life.

If you are a hard-working, motivated, sociable individual that is ready to get stuck in to the working world, but are not sure that a lab based placement, or permanent graduate role is for you, I highly recommend an enterprise placement with a company like Havas Lynx!

Thanks for reading! Good luck with your placement applications.

Harriot Mather.

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Astynnia’s Second Year (International) Blog

Second year came and flew by real fast, beginning from the Experimental Design Module (EDM), January exams, Research Skills Module (RSM), dissertation and up to today with my revision for summer exams. I remember those stressful days when I was overwhelmed with preparation for my dissertation. The grade was announced 3 weeks ago and I am glad that everything went well, better than what I was expecting! So I’m very pleased with that, as it was a whole 10 credits (1/12th of the year) in itself. This year has been so enjoyable and it’s gone so fast that I almost can’t believe that in less than a month, I will be flying back to Malaysia for the summer. I booked my flight tickets without telling my family because I wanted to give them a surprise, which is something that I am looking forward to. 🙂

My overall experience of 2nd year has been amazing. The most valuable thing I have learnt is how to manage time effectively. With all the deadlines I’ve had to meet this year, it’s made me more organized and efficient at getting things done (well) on time! This is definitely an essential skill for undergraduate, and I believe this will come of great use to me in Final Year – when I hear things get real hectic!

I have also used this year as an opportunity to travel while I have been away from my home country. I have learnt so much about different cultures, and have created some great memories which I can look back over as making travel videos are my favourite post-vacation activity.

This year, I got to know more people and made more friends in Biomedical Sciences, which definitely made my life in Manchester more exciting on the social side of things. Although at the moment it’s all study, study, study, there are a lot of gatherings being arranged for before everyone parts for the summer holidays. Oh and the weather is finally picking up too, so there’s plenty to look forward to!

A catch up with my best buddy on a sunny day in Manchester last week

A catch up with my best buddy on a sunny day in Manchester last week


So much excitement during Kygo's concert!

So much excitement during Kygo’s concert!

Catching up from my previous blog post, there has been so much going on! To make the most of my time in Manchester and all the brilliant music venues there are here, last month I went to a concert at Manchester Academy (which is right opposite the Stopford building, where most Life Sciences lectures and practical’s take place – ideal) to see a DJ called Kygo. The music and atmosphere was amazing. The music scene in Manchester is definitely something I will remember!

Also, as a lot of my friends are graduating this year, we had a formal dinner at The Living Room Restaurant in Deansgate. We had a great night there and it was very fancy! It’s always nice to get dressed up for a formal event every once in a while. The restaurant was elegant and modern which made for a lovely atmosphere. Oh and the food was delicious too!


At the Graduation Dinner

At the Graduation Dinner

I also attended a sports event that we, as part of the International Society, organized at the Sugden Sports Centre and it was really fun! We had 6 station games and the ideas for the activities were modified from a Korean reality game show called Running Man such as “Flying Coins” and “Ping Pong ball Piggyback”. Then after the hectic and fun-filled day there, we moved on and ended it with a karaoke session! It was such a fun day!

Sport day at Sugden Centre

Sport day at Sugden Centre

As second year comes to an end, it’s time for me to start thinking about what Final Year Project to do next year. There are a number of different options, and I’m not quite sure which one I want to do yet but I will have a good think about it once exams end. To help me make my decision and to learn more about the different options, I attended the business pitches by the final year Life Sciences students earlier this month. It was a presentation for their Enterprise Final Year Project and it gave me an idea about the business style enterprise project option which I find interesting. One of the topics that caught my attention was “Diagnostic test for Schizophrenia” as the team members designed a tool virtually to test for the disease.

But before all of that I have semester 2 exams to get through! I have mixed feelings about my upcoming exams but I’d say I am most confident about my ‘Parasitology’ exam. It’s been my favourite subject for me throughout the whole of 2nd year as I love microbes! Plus there is no essay in the exam, only short answer questions! I also find my other modules ’Immunology’ and ‘Cell Metabolism and Metabolic Control’ interesting – revision isn’t all that bad when you’re genuinely intrigued by the things you are learning! The exam that I am the least confident about at the moment is ‘Clinical Drug Development’. It’s quite different from anything I’ve done before as it’s more pharmacology based rather than focusing on how cells, organs and systems function in the human body. However I am working hard so I’m still hoping for the best!

I know that final year is not going to be easy, but in the midst of busy schedule, I am looking forward to some more memorable experiences and taking advantage of all the fun things there are to do in Manchester. Even after 2 years of living here, there is still so much more to do! Academically, I am looking forward to doing the volunteering work with my friends as part of the Final Year ‘Leadership in Action’ module. It is always a good idea to do some community projects over the year as it will help me to take some time off from the books and get to know more people around the university. I think it will be good for my CV too!

Well that’s it then! Good luck in upcoming exams and I hope that you guys enjoyed reading my 2nd year journey! 🙂




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