Boehringer Ingelheim
10 March 2016
Jana von Puttkamer

Getting on track in good time

The closer it gets to a student's graduation date, the longer the sleepless nights during which he or she ponders questions such as "what's next?" or "what do I want to do?". The key question, however, is "what do you want?".

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Asking yourself this question only at the end of your studies is often too late.

Because, after all, the earlier you are able to determine for yourself whether you want to pursue an academic career or a vocational career, the earlier you can get on the right track – ideally, during your studies. Internships, for instance, are a way to build a network of desired employers. It is also common for an internship to be followed, during your studies, by the opportunity to later prepare a thesis in the same company. And what started with a thesis may well, under certain circumstances, end with the opportunity to do a doctorate.


In many cases, one thing leads to another; the resulting, famous "foot in the door" is often an deciding factor in distinguishing yourself from other candidates: you already know what is important for the company, as well as the processes, methods, and challenges. The actual entry into work life can be done in many ways. The three classic entry opportunities at Boehringer Ingelheim are the trainee program, the post-doc positions, or direct entry.


Trainee program


Our broad trainee programs offer our trainees the opportunity to discover, through job rotations, very different activity fields in their respective area. This gives our trainees deep insight into our daily operational business; they also support various projects with different specialist focal points. In addition, we offer workshops on conflict management, project management, business English and presentation skills. Experienced mentors accompany the trainees over a period of 24 months, while they learn and grow into their roles.


We offer trainee programs in the fields of biopharmaceutics, veterinary health, pharmaceutical and chemical production, quality management and market access / health economy, specially designed for natural sciences graduates. My tip: do not underestimate the opportunities that may arise from this trainee program! You can already build a multi-speciality network at the start of your career, as well as having the opportunity to experience many different areas and to figure out for yourself which one best suits you, your abilities, and your interests.


Post-doc position


Many students of natural sciences, medicine, pharmacology, and engineering sciences decide to pursue a doctorate after their studies. Some want to fully devote themselves to a topic on a scientific, long-term basis, while others hope a doctorate will give them better career entry opportunities. However, after a doctorate, many are back were they started and seeking to join the work force.


Post-doc positions are a potential career start for academics with a doctorate who wish to mainly work as scientists after their doctorate. At Boehringer Ingelheim, these are mostly found in the Research & Development and Biopharmaceutics departments at the Biberach site. As a post-doc, you will study the specific scientific topic areas or issues of a specialized department in depth, outside of daily operations, and help to develop new methods for the areas that produce scientific work. Accordingly, you work closely with the research and operation units, which gives you a good overview of the different fields of activity. In this context, the opportunity for professional orientation should not be underestimated! Following a post-doc, you will find it easier to answer questions such as "Would I rather do research in a university environment or continue to research within the company?" and "Can I see myself taking on an operational role?"


In addition to a completed doctorate in the fields of biology, biotechnology, biochemistry, chemistry, pharmaceutics, pharmacology, human or veterinary medicine, you should also, depending on the area of employment, have specialist knowledge, e.g. in chromatography or spectrometry, and initial experience in the heading of small teams. Obviously, doctoral candidates can also apply for one of our trainee programs or directly for an advertised position.


Direct entry


Again and again, there is also the opportunity to directly apply for a position within a specific department after graduation. The advantages: you assume personal responsibility faster than in a trainee position, you do not have to start by orienting yourself and finding the right ask for you within the organization.


All positions, whether internships, theses, doctorates, trainee programs, post-doc positions, or direct entries, are advertised in the Boehringer Ingelheim Global Job Portal. This portal enables you to apply simply and quickly online. Since vacancies in the departments are immediately visible on the Job Portal, we do not accept any unsolicited applications that do not refer to a specific advertised position. If you have found your desired job in the Global Job Portal, go ahead and apply directly. You are welcome to apply for several positions; however, if you do, please do not use a standard-sounding cover letter. Instead, we would much rather that you demonstrate to us each time anew why you are specifically interested in this position.


My tip for candidates: regardless of the form of entry you are using to apply at Boehringer Ingelheim, be authentic and natural, show initiative, and convince with your passion for your field of interest – and the right amount of self-confidence!

"The key question, however, is "what do you want?" Asking yourself this question only at the end of your studies is often too late. "
Jana von Puttkamer

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