Patrick Minard

Country of origin: United Kingdom

Account Director, Harvest Digital

Applying to GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) for my third-year placement year as part of the BSc Management and Information Technology four-year sandwich course was one of the best decisions of my academic career. GSK is the biggest pharmaceutical company in Europe and second biggest in the world with over 100,000 employees and 300 sites worldwide. For my placement year I worked within Network Services section of IT.

Within my role in Network Services, I provided first-level support to the network infrastructure. This included resolving small issues, such as a user not being able to connect to the network, to larger issues, such as a whole site not being able to connect to the network – which could be a potential loss of millions to the company.

I gained a lot of technical expertise while at GSK: I was given on-the-job training and benefitted from working closely with more experienced higher-skilled colleagues who taught me different aspects of computer networking. Working closely with management also gave me a huge insight into the corporate world and how things are run in such a large company, from the IT and the business side.

Not only was the working experience amazing, the social networking and people you meet while on your year out are, too. I have made different contacts from around the country which may not have been possible if I hadn't taken the chance to work on a placement year. It's something which I believe will have a major benefit in my later career.

Most of all, I really enjoyed my year on placement. I'm looking forward to graduating – the placement at GSK has developed me more as a person; I feel more mature and I believe that the skills I have learnt will massively benefit my last year at University. I would recommend doing a year on an industrial placement to anyone.

Patrick joined Venn Digital, a digital marketing agency in Manchester, after completing his degree. He is now an account manager with Harvest Digital in London.