The Next Chapter

It has been quiet for a while. Apologies because I promised to keep you updated. A lot has been going on in terms of next steps, and especially a lot of things have changed in that sense since my return to Holland: I officially graduated, I have made some choices, and I can finally share it with all of you!

So, as I was finishing up the report of my final research project at NUS, I started to look around for new opportunities. As some of you know, at that point I was really focussing on possible PhD projects (which is also the most logical or ‘normal’ way to continue your career when graduating from a research masters). So, I started to reach out to my network and started talking about possible projects and collaborations. Although I was talking to people about various exciting projects, none of them really sparked my excitement to such an extent that I was ready to fully commit to it for four years (this is the standard contract duration for a PhD in the Netherlands). So I also started looking around in other areas, such as jobs rather than PhD positions. This was when my eye fell on a traineeship with a big pharmaceutical company. Although it didn’t immediately sound like the perfect fit, I decided to give it a try after some initial contact. After all, I’m a bit of a control freak and I felt like I needed a plan B in case the perfect PhD wouldn’t come along. So, I initiated plan B and applied for the traineeship.

After the initial application came round 2 and round 3, and although in the mean time the ‘perfect’ PhD project did come along, I started to like the idea of the traineeship more and more. Before I knew it I was flown in for an Assessment Centre in Germany. I was also in the midst of the interviewing process for the PhD position, and while this was the project I had been looking for, meeting all my ambitions and interests research-wise,  my gut wasn’t so sure any more this was the right step to take…
The experience of the Assessment Centre, the conversations with people involved in that company, but also with several mentors from both Academia and Industry, convinced me the traineeship was the perfect next step. And so, I decided full-heartedly to go for the traineeship.

This means that besides the fact that I’m now officially a Master in Pharmaceutical Sciences, in about a month (September 2017) I will start a 19-month traineeship with Sandoz, Novartis. It is called the STEP (Sandoz Talent Excellent Program) program. It’s a very exciting opportunity in which I will complete 3 rotations of 6 months each at different sites, allowing me to see and experience many different aspects of the company and industry and explore my interest and potential in those different areas. To give you an idea, here is the teaser of the program:

For now it looks like I’ll be based in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, but things may change along the way.

Anyway, I’m super exciting to get this chance and can’t wait to get started in September. Finally, the studying will pay off and I can actually start applying my skills and knowledge to make an impact.

Oh, and by the way, in case you were worried I have been bored in the mean time, oh no! I had some amazing reunions (in the Netherlands and in Sweden) with my college friends from the States, some of whom I hadn’t seen in 6 years!
And while reorganizing the UStudy team and hiring two new team members (so the company can continue to grow and help people make their US study dreams come true) before I left the team after some really great years, I also had the time to do some volunteering. With a great team we organized the biggest national tennis tournament in the Utrecht region – an amazing week with around 600 participants! And, I was a volunteer at the UEFA Women’s EURO soccer championships. An amazing experience to see the behind the scenes of such a huge event. I was mostly involved in accreditation in Utrecht (the opening city of the tournament). So, basically, all those keycords everyone from the organization, UEFA, players, coaches, etc., etc. is wearing that give them access to exactly the right zones (no more, no less) – I made sure the right people got the right access. To top off the amazing experience I got to enjoy the final live and see our Dutch women WIN the championship! Fantastic.

Final WEURO2017So, I decided to continue this blog to keep you updated from my different locations the coming year and a half. If you want to stay tuned, follow by subscribing at the bottom of this page or tune in on this webpage every now and then.

Cheers to new adventures!

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