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I studied Neuroscience at the University of Nottingham and graduated in July 2018. In January 2019, when I was 22, I joined Intake 4 of the Allegro programme. I’ve always found science – particularly human biology and neurology – so interesting, and I knew from quite a young age that I wanted to pursue a career in a scientific field.

A summary of Philippa’s experience in the training programme…

The first two months in Macclesfield were intense, but I learnt a lot and it’s a great way to prepare for agency life. I moved to the Maidenhead office after the first two months of training and completed both my rotations there. I thoroughly enjoyed my time on both accounts; the therapy areas I worked on were oncology (publications) and HIV (medical affairs).

I quickly realised that scenarios we had learnt about in training happen every day in agency. When joining a new account, completing data checks is common, as it’s a great way to learn the basics about the therapy area. However, soon enough in my rotations I was talking to clients, writing abstracts and manuscripts, or creating slide decks. It was a daunting experience and I got lots of feedback, but having my own projects was the best way to learn and improve.

Being based in a small office with community spirit and lovely people made my Allegro experience even more enjoyable. As well as the office camaraderie, joining the Ashfield Cares committee during my first rotation and helping to organise a number of charity events has been really fulfilling.

Philippa’s highlight?

Writing and submitting abstracts for ASH (a large haematology conference) with my pubs team. Working to a short deadline and taking ownership under pressure really resonated with me, and I pleasantly surprised myself.

One key Take-away (Learning)?

Being resilient to the ‘red pen’ is so important – receiving a lot of feedback in your first year is a good thing. It means the people around you want you to progress and are investing time and effort to ensure that you do.

Philippa’s advice to future intakes…

Be proactive! Although you have the safety net of someone checking everything you do, taking responsibility for your own work and staying on top of your projects is great practice for the future, and it shows others you’re reliable. Use the knowledge of people around you (but don’t depend on them), stay organised (this means email folders, post-it notes, diaries etc.), own your mistakes but move on, and amidst all the ‘red pen’, take note of your achievements!

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