Thursday 8 January 2015

Student Interview #13 - Maria on her first work experience in France

Interview with Maria, 2nd year MSc in Management student originally from Russia. She kindly shares with us her apprenticeship experience, how she has managed to become a part of one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world and how ESSEC has prepared her for this.

Tell us about your apprenticeship: which company are you working for? How do you manage to both work and study at the same time?

I'm currently doing an apprenticeship at Sanofi, it's the third biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world and the biggest in France. The position that I hold is Investment Coordination Assistant. It's a traversal position, my team launches the IS tool throughout global Sanofi in order to monitor and coordinate industrial investments in all the sites of the company. The duration of my contract is 2 years and I just started 2 months ago. The rhythm is weekly - I'm working 3 days per week and studying 2 days per week. In the summer period, since the school will be closed, I will be working 5 days per week. This weekly schedule is very convenient for me since it allows me to diversify my activities and also to complement my work with relative courses.

Are you satisfied with your offer?

I'm very happy with my choice both in terms of the contract and the company. Sanofi is a very big and international company that works both in English and in French. I have plenty of opportunities to learn inside the company while doing my apprenticeship. Moreover, the culture of Sanofi is very friendly and dynamic, it allows me not to do the same routine every day but to diversify my experience there.
I'm also very glad that I'm doing an apprenticeship contract and not internship. I feel more secure and connected to the company since I'm here for a long period of time. Therefore, I get more responsibility and more serious projects to do from my team.

How did you find this apprenticeship?

The apprenticeship offer was not as hard to get as it seems. The main thing is to know what you want and to do your best in order to achieve the goal. I was applying during 3 months, after which I got several offers and had an opportunity to choose the one that suits me best. The fundamental issue of apprenticeship is to understand that this contract is for 2 years, so you should know exactly that this is what you want to do for the next 2 years.

Did ESSEC help you along the way?

ESSEC Career Center was very helpful in apprenticeship search process. On you can find plenty of offers and the direct contacts of HR or managers which makes it much easier to get an interview than applying directly though the site of the company. However, this is not the rule: I got my apprenticeship applying directly through the site.
The ESSEC database of students and their companies of internships/apprenticeships/jobs helps to contact directly people from the company that interests you and get all the necessary information.  

Is there anything that you recommend to prospective ESSEC students intending to land an apprenticeship?

From my personal experience, I would recommend to start searching for a contract earlier and start in July, not in September (as I did). It is not very easy to look for a job in July and especially in August when a lot of employees are on vacation and it seems to be a "dead season" for a job search. Thus, I would say that you should start looking for apprenticeship (if you want one) as soon as possible. However, you also should remember that there is nothing impossible and you can find it at any moment if you do your best. Good luck!

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