Phlo Technologies blog 6: Reflection and what's next for me

Welcome back to the sixth and final entry in the series of blog posts documenting my experience as a 2019 Saltire Scholar interning for Phlo Technologies, a tech start-up based in Glasgow. 

It has now been over two weeks since I have finished my internship at Phlo, and I’ve have taken full advantage of the opportunity to relax and see my family back at home in Romania, which is actually something that I’ve had very little time to do since I’ve moved to Scotland to start my Pharmacology degree.

I’ve also taken the time to reflect upon the experience that I’ve had this summer and the things that I’ve learned over the past year with Saltire and Phlo. I’ve really got no doubts about it; it’s been a fantastic and formative experience that I’ve really enjoyed from start to finish. I’ve not only managed to acquire a healthy amount of work experience, but I’ve also strengthened existing skills and built a few new ones that’ll serve me well in the future, regardless of whether I choose to pursue higher academics or other avenues such as entrepreneurship or a more traditional career path working in the industry.

The journey

The journey to making into the candidate pool was fairly straightforward and dare I say, not terribly challenging. It was facilitated by a strong personal desire and determination, past experience but also help from the Careers Service at the University of Glasgow, which I'm really thankful for. Personally, the most challenging part was securing an internship. Much like getting a conventional job, there are lots of factors and aspects at play and rejection can occur due to a variety of reasons. One important aspect that I've learned is to realize that in such cases, rejection is likely not personal. Saltire themselves have high standards when it comes to the quality of your CV and cover letters. As a result, good CV and cover letter writing skills, as well as attention to detail are essential, and so is abiding by the specific formatting requirements.  Incorporating all the given feedback makes a difference. These skills will not only help you succeed as a Saltire Scholar, but they'll serve you well in the future when it comes to applying for graduate programs and jobs. 

After submitting a couple of cover letters to no avail, I was really excited to find and secure an internship that I felt was truly compatible with my aptitudes, mindset, and personality (if only it had shown up sooner on the lists!).

Interning at Phlo

As I’ve mentioned in my previous blogs, even though I’m a Pharmacology student and very much keen on the nitty and gritty biology concepts, my internship at Phlo was actually a marketing one. This was an area for which I had a previous interest in but never had the chance to fully explore it as much as I would’ve liked to. It also seemed like a good opportunity to learn about early stage entrepreneurship by getting familiar with start-up dynamics.

Working for Phlo has not only been fun, but also insightful and hugely rewarding. From the beginning, I went into this internship striving to do my best, to keep an open mind and to make a valuable contribution. This mentality has definitely paid off, and I’m also very pleased and happy to report that I was able to add value to Phlo over the course of the 8 weeks I interned for them.

I’m convinced that none of this would have been possible without the great environment and people at Phlo. From the beginning, they have been welcoming, helpful and encouraging. I’ve enjoyed learning from them and also spending time with them outside work. Highlights include going to see the Celtic – CFR Cluj match with my co-worker Prab at Celtic Park. I’m definitely not the biggest fan of football around, though I did live in Cluj for two years and saw a few of their matches in that time period.  Seeing this one live was an amazing experience. The fact that CFR somehow managed to win against all odds also blew my mind.  

Team lunches and post-work drinks have also been really fun and allowed me to get to know the team on a different level.

I’d like to give a shout-out and big thank you to Adam and Katie, they have been nothing but supportive, helpful and encouraging throughout the summer.

The end? 

Not really! I'm extremely excited to say that I received the opportunity to continue working for Phlo on a part-time basis! Needless to say, I’m really grateful to be able to remain part of the team for the considerable future. 

That’s about it from me, I’ll be starting 4th year soon with increased confidence and motivation. I’m looking to write my dissertation on major depressive disorder and related mood disorders, a topic that has seen some pivotal movements in terms of recognition and awareness in modern society. Unfortunately, our understanding of it hasn’t quite caught up yet, as we’re still to elucidate its etiology and even the precise mechanisms through which most anti-depressants work.  

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