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  51 options for your future

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51 options for your future

Our employees: talented and passionate

BERLIN-CHEMIE AG and Menarini GmbH offer a diverse range of jobs to suit a wide variety of employee profiles. Watch our interviews and video clips to find out what it’s like to work for us and the widely diverse jobs our employees do. Learn about what the fascination with pharmaceutics really means for the people who work here, and why they enjoy coming into work every day.

See what experienced professionals, new recruits, trainees and students have to say and build up a picture of an exciting day in the life in our company.

Experienced professionals

Anne Jeschke , Regulatory Affairs Manager

„You have many development opportunities and are actively supported in your personal development.“

Anne Jeschke , Regulatory Affairs Manager

„You have many development opportunities and are actively supported in your personal development.“


Hello Ms. Jeschke, we already interviewed you in 2013 as a pharmacy intern during your placement at Regulatory Affairs(read the article here). Is there an experience you like to think back on?

I've got very fond memories of my whole internship and can't single out any one particular experience. During my time as a pharmaceutical intern at BERLIN-CHEMIE, I learnt a lot that wasn't got across in the degree and was always involved in the projects and procedures. That gave me a very good impression of future work and sparked my enthusiasm for drug regulatory affairs.

What's changed since then?

It wasn't all that much at the beginning. That made onboarding a whole lot easier, of course. But a number of electronic tools have been developed and introduced in the meantime, which support us with the increasingly complex procedures.

Why did you decide to return to BERLIN-CHEMIE?

It was already clear to me during my pharmaceutical year that I didn't want to work in a pharmacy, but rather in the pharmaceutical industry. Luckily, the opportunity then presented itself to come back, and I didn't hesitate to make the most of it.

In the meantime, you yourself supervise pharmacy interns and run the informal meet-ups on legal issues. How did that come about? What are you experiencing with the current pharmacy interns?

I took over the informal meet-ups from a colleague who had initiated them to give pharmacy interns a better grasp of pharmaceutical law. This was a great idea, and I'm grateful that I can now carry it on. I've since been managing the gatherings on legal questions for quite a while now, and I'm always fired up by the stimulating discussions with the pharmacy interns. I wish there had been something like this around when I was a pharmacy intern. That would have made learning the law a little bit easier.

What is it that makes BERLIN-CHEMIE special? What makes BERLIN-CHEMIE an attractive employer for you?

On the one hand, it's the colleagues but also the flexible working hours for example. Apart from that, you've got a lot of development opportunities at BERLIN-CHEMIE and are given active support in your own personal development. That's not something to be taken for granted. Oh yes, and of you also have to mention our company restaurant of course. There's always a bit of a holiday feel to your lunch break.

What motivates you for your work every day?

My work brings me incredible satisfaction. That's mainly to do with the interesting activities and always new challenges in my day-to-day work. No two days are the same, and so I start each one happily but also with a sense of anticipation regarding what's in store for me. Especially the feeling when we've successfully completed a project as a team again – that's something money can't buy.

What for you is the difference between a pharmacy and a job in the industry? In your opinion, what advantages does the industry bring with it?

I like the fact that at BERLIN-CHEMIE, you're part of the big picture. That's not something I ever noticed in the pharmacy. Working with people is a big difference for me between a pharmacy and the industry. I work with a lot of people in the industry as well – although they're from quite different backgrounds. As another advantage, flexible working hours are a big plus, and there's also a greater degree of self-determination in the industry. I'm not dependent on the doctor's consultation hours and can plan my own day.

Why would you advise up-and-coming pharmacists to take a look at the industry or directly at the Regulatory Affairs Department?

The practical year is the best chance to gain a lot of experience in different fields. I can only advise everyone to actually make the most of it. In the pharmaceutical industry for example, you get to know many different working areas in this way. Of course, the "InPharma" series of events for the interns also helps with that. This is also a good option to get talking to other interns about their work assignments and experiences. By doing that, you ultimately know much better what it is you want and perhaps don't want to do later on. Regulatory affairs is a topic that rarely, if ever, comes up in the degree. Nevertheless, it's a very exciting and varied area and always worth taking a look at.

Do you have any other tips to pass on to budding pharmacists?

Don't be afraid of new challenges! The pharmacy degree is extremely wide ranging, and that makes it possible for you to be placed in a wide range of areas. Take the opportunities to have a look at different aspects.

Niklas Leppkes , Junior Product Quality Review Manager

„At BERLIN-CHEMIE, it's quite clear that the employees are seen as an important part of the whole.“

Niklas Leppkes , Junior Product Quality Review Manager

„At BERLIN-CHEMIE, it's quite clear that the employees are seen as an important part of the whole.“


Hello Mr. Leppkes, you're a familiar face on our careers portal – at that time as a pharmacy intern. (Watch the video from 2013 here.) When and in which area did you do your internship?

I remember the video shoot back then well. That was an exciting experience. I started my six-month internship in May 2013. This was a great start in CMC Management (Chemistry, Manufacturing and Controls) because it linked a lot of the content from my degree (especially manufacturing and analysis) with the aspect of regulatory affairs, which was relatively unknown to me until then.

What was next for you after the internship? What tasks do you have now?

First came the second six months in a public pharmacy and the third state exam. BERLIN-CHEMIE had offered to contact me if there were any suitable job adverts, which actually happened in 2016. In April 2016, I started working at Product Quality Review Management, an interesting field in Quality Assurance that deals with retrospectively looking at all products manufactured by BERLIN-CHEMIE. This is where I was able to get to know the most important facets in the GMP area. I've since been working in the field of regulatory CMC management again for more than two years, i.e. back where I completed the practical year.

What's changed since your practical year? What did you experience after it?

After my practical year, I first of all had the opportunity to work in a newly established pharmacy, where I was able to gain a deeper insight into the challenges and important tasks involved with being in a dispensing chemist's. In parallel to that, I started a part-time master's degree at the Charité, which focused on health-policy, economic and communication aspects of healthcare in Germany. I completed my master's when I was already working at BERLIN-CHEMIE. I was promised support directly during the interview, which then took the form of paid leaves of absence.

What is it that makes BERLIN-CHEMIE special? What makes BERLIN-CHEMIE an attractive employer for you?

At BERLIN-CHEMIE, it's quite clear that the employees are seen as an important part of the whole. I appreciate the flat hierarchies and the friendly atmosphere among colleagues. Also, I like the fact that medicines are produced here on site in the middle of the capital.

In your opinion, what advantages does the industry offer over the pharmacy?

I enjoy the freedom I have to organise my working day. Flexitime at BERLIN-CHEMIE gives me a great deal of room for manoeuvre. I'm glad as well that the sales patter has gone. I did always enjoy providing advice, but, due to the health-policy situation, the public pharmacy is also reliant on making sales with goods that, in my view, don't fall within the area of pharmacy.

Why would you advise up-and-coming pharmacists to take a look at the industry?

There's a whole wealth of possible jobs for pharmacists in the pharmaceutical industry. There really is something for everyone. I wasn't so aware of that during my degree. I'd advise everyone to make the most of the opportunity to look behind the scenes in the internship in the industry to get an awareness of everything that happens before the finished pack goes across the first table in the pharmacy. Whether or not you actually work do work in the industry later on isn't really the point – the knowledge you gain is a given and very extensive.

Why is CMC management an exciting topic for a pharmacy intern?

I see the position as being very suitable for a graduate, as there are many interfaces with other departments, and you get a very good insight into different areas in the industry this way. I like it that, besides dealing with the drugs from a specialist angle, it's also mainly about communication and project work.

In the meantime, you yourself supervise a pharmacy intern every six months – what's particularly important to you in cooperation and training?

Yes, that's right, and I enjoy it very much. Pharmacy interns don't get off-the-shelf assignments from me. I like to involve them in our daily routine. I take them seriously and, after they've graduated, I have the confidence in them to discuss complex problems with me on an equal footing. It's important to me that pharmacy interns get a comprehensive view of possible roles of pharmacists in the industry. But it's also a goal of mine that future colleagues develop a feeling for health-policy issues. As pharmacists, we're an important asset in this setting, regardless of the area we work in (industry, public pharmacy, hospital, etc.).

Do you have any other tips for budding pharmacists?

It's important to me that all students are aware of one thing: Just apply! I know that at the time, I was very apprehensive about the pharmacy-internship interview at BERLIN-CHEMIE and thought that I definitely wouldn't be good enough because I wasn't in the student body, or my career up to then wasn't absolutely directed towards the pharma industry. That was no problem at all. No one's expecting a totally goal-orientated top manager after their degree.

Anne Jeschke , Regulatory Affairs Manager

„You have many development opportunities and are actively supported in your personal development.“


Hello Ms. Jeschke, we already interviewed you in 2013 as a pharmacy intern during your placement at Regulatory Affairs(read the article here). Is there an experience you like to think back on?

I've got very fond memories of my whole internship and can't single out any one particular experience. During my time as a pharmaceutical intern at BERLIN-CHEMIE, I learnt a lot that wasn't got across in the degree and was always involved in the projects and procedures. That gave me a very good impression of future work and sparked my enthusiasm for drug regulatory affairs.

What's changed since then?

It wasn't all that much at the beginning. That made onboarding a whole lot easier, of course. But a number of electronic tools have been developed and introduced in the meantime, which support us with the increasingly complex procedures.

Why did you decide to return to BERLIN-CHEMIE?

It was already clear to me during my pharmaceutical year that I didn't want to work in a pharmacy, but rather in the pharmaceutical industry. Luckily, the opportunity then presented itself to come back, and I didn't hesitate to make the most of it.

In the meantime, you yourself supervise pharmacy interns and run the informal meet-ups on legal issues. How did that come about? What are you experiencing with the current pharmacy interns?

I took over the informal meet-ups from a colleague who had initiated them to give pharmacy interns a better grasp of pharmaceutical law. This was a great idea, and I'm grateful that I can now carry it on. I've since been managing the gatherings on legal questions for quite a while now, and I'm always fired up by the stimulating discussions with the pharmacy interns. I wish there had been something like this around when I was a pharmacy intern. That would have made learning the law a little bit easier.

What is it that makes BERLIN-CHEMIE special? What makes BERLIN-CHEMIE an attractive employer for you?

On the one hand, it's the colleagues but also the flexible working hours for example. Apart from that, you've got a lot of development opportunities at BERLIN-CHEMIE and are given active support in your own personal development. That's not something to be taken for granted. Oh yes, and of you also have to mention our company restaurant of course. There's always a bit of a holiday feel to your lunch break.

What motivates you for your work every day?

My work brings me incredible satisfaction. That's mainly to do with the interesting activities and always new challenges in my day-to-day work. No two days are the same, and so I start each one happily but also with a sense of anticipation regarding what's in store for me. Especially the feeling when we've successfully completed a project as a team again – that's something money can't buy.

What for you is the difference between a pharmacy and a job in the industry? In your opinion, what advantages does the industry bring with it?

I like the fact that at BERLIN-CHEMIE, you're part of the big picture. That's not something I ever noticed in the pharmacy. Working with people is a big difference for me between a pharmacy and the industry. I work with a lot of people in the industry as well – although they're from quite different backgrounds. As another advantage, flexible working hours are a big plus, and there's also a greater degree of self-determination in the industry. I'm not dependent on the doctor's consultation hours and can plan my own day.

Why would you advise up-and-coming pharmacists to take a look at the industry or directly at the Regulatory Affairs Department?

The practical year is the best chance to gain a lot of experience in different fields. I can only advise everyone to actually make the most of it. In the pharmaceutical industry for example, you get to know many different working areas in this way. Of course, the "InPharma" series of events for the interns also helps with that. This is also a good option to get talking to other interns about their work assignments and experiences. By doing that, you ultimately know much better what it is you want and perhaps don't want to do later on. Regulatory affairs is a topic that rarely, if ever, comes up in the degree. Nevertheless, it's a very exciting and varied area and always worth taking a look at.

Do you have any other tips to pass on to budding pharmacists?

Don't be afraid of new challenges! The pharmacy degree is extremely wide ranging, and that makes it possible for you to be placed in a wide range of areas. Take the opportunities to have a look at different aspects.

Katharina Voß , Case Management Officer Pharmacovigilance

„The industry offers the right working environment for every type of employee. “

Katharina Voß , Case Management Officer Pharmacovigilance

„The industry offers the right working environment for every type of employee. “


When did you do your practical year with us and in which area? Is there an experience you like to think back on?

I went through my practical year in 2015 at Research and Development in the Stability Testing team. It's the task of the group to define, among other things, the shelf life, the optimum packaging material and any storage instructions that might be necessary for new medicinal products. I was quickly brought on board with routine operations in the laboratory and given my own assignments. I particularly like to think back to one specific research project. Comparing notes with the colleagues involved, I found out about the objective of the project and the progress that had already been made. I also contributed to practical experiments in parallel. At the end of my internship, I outlined in a presentation the theory of the planned drug, the results we got from the experiments as well as the outlook going forward. It was incredibly exciting to be able to look at the project from different angles.

What has happened since then?

After my practical year, I passed the third and final state examination and then returned to BERLIN-CHEMIE/Menarini GmbH. I first of all worked in Analytical Development at Quality Control. This team deals with providing test methods with which the identity or content of an active substance in a medicinal product can be determined for example. A short time later, I took on the role of Project Assistant for Quality Control's relocation. The aim of the project was to accommodate all the laboratories at the Berlin-Adlershof site in one new building. The particular challenge was to ensure continuous operation of the department with the relocation ongoing and, which included guaranteeing the on-time requalification of the laboratory equipment in the process. When the project was completed, I switched to German Drug Safety, where I've now been since 2018.

So you've therefore moved between the sister companies and have traded your former laboratory workstation for a desk. What are the differences in what you do? 

Exactly. With the change in my position, however, the proportion of desk work I do basically hasn't altered. As a pharmacist in the industry, most of your time is spent at a desk anyway – regardless of which area you work in. But with my switch to Drug Safety, the direct link to the lab has dropped off. Against that, new tasks have come along. Besides rating analytical results, I also assess complaints and deviations at Manufacturing for example. Overall, the range of assignments is very diverse and entails close cooperation with the interfaces involved in the respective process. Alongside the medicines and their properties, regulatory aspects like marketing authorisations and contractual obligations are now also playing an increasing role for me. Since then, I've been aware of the group's international reach on a daily basis. So it's since become natural for me to see the central role that drug safety takes on at the company and with respect to the local authority.

What is it that makes BERLIN-CHEMIE special?

In my opinion, BERLIN-CHEMIE/Menarini GmbH stands out through its family-like company culture and the respectful way in which employees treat each other. On top of that, I enjoy the diversity of the departments present at the Berlin-Adlershof site. Despite the international marketing of the products, I've got the feeling that I can find a local expert on every issue. Regular external events like taking part in the Team Relay every year foster getting to know other employees and create an extraordinary sense of community. Regardless of that, flexible working hours, the collective-bargaining conditions of the chemical industry and numerous employee-friendly Works Agreements make BERLIN-CHEMIE/Menarini GmbH an attractive employer for me as well. Last but not least, I'd also like to mention the fantastic company restaurant at the site, where there's an excellent range of snacks on offer during your break, or you can exchange ideas with your colleagues over a coffee in the café bar.

In your opinion, what advantages does the industry offer over the pharmacy?

Compared to a public pharmacy, the pharmaceutical industry is distinctive with a completely different scale and structure. This results not least because of regulatory requirements, which are subject to constant changes. In my view, the pharmaceutical industry therefore scores not only with you having the possibility to specialise in various disciplines but also with the opportunity for individual and sustained development. My opinion is that the industry also offers the right working environment for every type of employee. From routine day-to-day business to project work, there's something for everyone. Besides the professional and personal aspects, you also have to mention the general working conditions. When doing a job in the pharmaceutical industry, you can usually expect more flexible working hours and a higher salary and holiday entitlement compared to a pharmacy.

Why would you advise up-and-coming pharmacists to take a look at the industry or directly at the PD-LDSU Department? Why is it that a "desk job" that may seem boring at first glance can be exciting?

It can generally be said that the knowledge from a pharmacy degree gives you a solid foundation for many jobs in the pharmaceutical industry. This also applies to the German Drug Safety Department (PD-LDSU). In the team I work in, we deal with assessing drug risks, always keeping in mind the product as a whole (i.e. active substance, excipients, packaging, etc.). When processing the various issues, we're therefore in regular contact with other departments such as Manufacturing, Quality Control and Quality Assurance with the common goal of constantly improving the medicines in respect of their tolerability. So it's worth having a look at my team for pharmacists who are particularly interested in pharmacology, analysis and technology and looking forward to exchanging views in our interdisciplinary team of doctors, pharmacists and other scientists. Despite doing a desk job, we're still close to the drug and its users in that we medically evaluate the complaints received from the pharmacies for example. In our team, there's a good mix of routine tasks, projects and spontaneous topics like supporting the Pharmacovigilance Officer with a batch recall. So it's never boring.

Do you have any other tips to pass on to budding pharmacists?

I'd like to encourage prospective pharmacists to use the opportunity of the practical year to take a look at the pharmaceutical industry. A unique opportunity comes up to experience the typical disciplines of drug manufacturing and testing on an industrial scale and to get to know other exciting fields of activity that are only touched on during a university education – for example regulatory affairs and drug safety. You shouldn't be put off by the often sweeping statements doing the rounds among students that slots in the industry are very limited, are allocated well in advance and only to top graduates. Instead, you should apply having confidence in your pharmaceutical expertise. BERLIN-CHEMIE/Menarini GmbH offers numerous internships in the most varied of areas at the company every six months. At the same time, the company provides an in-house information series for pharmacy interns and makes interaction among like-minded people possible. These offers support the young pharmacists immensely in making a decision on their further career path.

Johannes Heibach , Head of Validation and Qualification Management

„In my current position, I can play an active part in very many processes and develop professionally every day.“

Johannes Heibach , Head of Validation and Qualification Management

„In my current position, I can play an active part in very many processes and develop professionally every day.“


Hello Mr. Heibach, your career path as a pharmacist makes interesting reading. Would you please briefly introduce yourself.

After school, I'd first of all started a degree in mechanical engineering in Dresden but then relatively quickly realised I wouldn't want to be working permanently in this field later. So I switched to a pharmacy course in 2007 and came to Berlin. After my studies, I went straight to BERLIN-CHEMIE AG, where I've been lucky enough to have responsibility for the Validation Management Group within Quality Assurance since August 2020.

When did you do your practical year with us and in which area? Is there an experience you like to think back on?

At that time, I spent the first half of the practical year from May 2012 to October 2012 at Pharmaceutical Development. What I particularly liked was that I was accepted as a full-on member of the working group from the first day onwards. After I'd got to know the staff of the group during the first few days, I was assigned my first specialist pharmaceutical tasks by my supervisor. It didn't take long before I was also allowed to carry out the experiments in the laboratory independently and then evaluate them. Back then, we had a laboratory-scale fluid-bed granulator, which I could make (what felt like) endless lots in to determine the ideal composition of the granulating solution and the optimum spraying behaviour. I was always able to discuss the results with my supervisor in between to consider what we could still optimise.

What has happened since then?

After my practical six months at BERLIN-CHEMIE AG, I first had to go to a public pharmacy (in Berlin-Wedding) for another six months to then complete my third state examination. Directly after that, I was able to start as a trainee at Manufacturing in August 2013. After my supervisor at the time left the company in December 2014, I took over her position as "Validation Specialist" in January 2015 and then worked under my own responsibility on the tasks and projects I'd learnt beforehand. As of September 2016, I switched from Manufacturing to Quality Assurance and trained as a GMP auditor to inspect our global suppliers (active-ingredient manufacturers, excipient manufacturers and contract manufacturers) – a job where you learn a lot in a short time and get many new impressions. After four years as an auditor, the opportunity came up in August 2020 to take over group management at QS-V (Validation Management), which brought me closer again to the products made on site by BERLIN-CHEMIE AG and put me in a position to help design the quality-relevant processes even better.

What is it that makes BERLIN-CHEMIE special? What makes BERLIN-CHEMIE an attractive employer for you?

It's been my experience up to now that you're given a very warm welcome in every department, and I could integrate into the team very quickly. Despite a highly regulated environment in the pharma sector, the firm thrives on personal contacts and human interaction. BERLIN-CHEMIE AG often offers good entry opportunities, especially to young people after they've completed their degrees.

What for you is the difference between a pharmacy and a job in the industry? In your opinion, what advantages does the industry bring with it? Can you imagine going from the industry back to the pharmacy?

To my mind, the fields of activity in the industry are much more diverse, and you get much deeper into the specialist (pharmaceutical) topics than in the pharmacy. Through working in the industry, you can get to know all the processes a drug goes through until it ends up in the pharmacy to be dispensed to the patient. You often work in interdisciplinary teams, which isn't something you'll find in the pharmacy. The advantage is that you can develop in a wide variety of areas. So you have more of an influence on your own career path. In addition, the working hours are much more flexible. I can't imagine changing back to the pharmacy at the moment, as in my current position, I can play an active part in very many processes and develop professionally every day.

In the meantime, you yourself supervise a pharmacy intern every six months – what's particularly important to you in cooperation and training?

In doing so, I can benefit from the good supervision I was given at that time and hope to be able to pass on the things that are important for me. A pharmacy intern is part of the team here and also given tasks like every other one of my staff. Of course, a contact person is always available for questions and familiarisation with new topics. I choose the tasks together with my team to make them as diverse as possible and also ensure that the pharmaceutical relevance is always given when assigning them. Just to give one specific example: Our current pharmacy intern is right now assisting with the validation of a manufacturing process for a liquid drug. This means that she has already reviewed the planning document (consulting with the department at Manufacturing) and is now overseeing one of the validation batches on site at the division. She can routinely look at the complete process flow and checks conformity with the planning. Finally, she'll be taking over inspection of the analytical results in a report and getting a full picture of the quality of our production when doing so. The final acceptance of the task is carried out by a qualified supervisor in order for the quality of our products to be ensured. When a pharmacy intern has successfully put in the six month in my team, they should be able to take with them a clear understanding of the quality of pharmaceutical production of medicinal products and the appropriate legally applicable stipulations.

Do you have any other tips for budding pharmacists?

I can only recommend spending half of the practical year in the pharmaceutical industry, as the tasks of a pharmacist there are incredibly varied, and the full extent of pharmaceutical work can't be taught at uni.

Katharina Voß , Case Management Officer Pharmacovigilance

„The industry offers the right working environment for every type of employee. “


When did you do your practical year with us and in which area? Is there an experience you like to think back on?

I went through my practical year in 2015 at Research and Development in the Stability Testing team. It's the task of the group to define, among other things, the shelf life, the optimum packaging material and any storage instructions that might be necessary for new medicinal products. I was quickly brought on board with routine operations in the laboratory and given my own assignments. I particularly like to think back to one specific research project. Comparing notes with the colleagues involved, I found out about the objective of the project and the progress that had already been made. I also contributed to practical experiments in parallel. At the end of my internship, I outlined in a presentation the theory of the planned drug, the results we got from the experiments as well as the outlook going forward. It was incredibly exciting to be able to look at the project from different angles.

What has happened since then?

After my practical year, I passed the third and final state examination and then returned to BERLIN-CHEMIE/Menarini GmbH. I first of all worked in Analytical Development at Quality Control. This team deals with providing test methods with which the identity or content of an active substance in a medicinal product can be determined for example. A short time later, I took on the role of Project Assistant for Quality Control's relocation. The aim of the project was to accommodate all the laboratories at the Berlin-Adlershof site in one new building. The particular challenge was to ensure continuous operation of the department with the relocation ongoing and, which included guaranteeing the on-time requalification of the laboratory equipment in the process. When the project was completed, I switched to German Drug Safety, where I've now been since 2018.

So you've therefore moved between the sister companies and have traded your former laboratory workstation for a desk. What are the differences in what you do? 

Exactly. With the change in my position, however, the proportion of desk work I do basically hasn't altered. As a pharmacist in the industry, most of your time is spent at a desk anyway – regardless of which area you work in. But with my switch to Drug Safety, the direct link to the lab has dropped off. Against that, new tasks have come along. Besides rating analytical results, I also assess complaints and deviations at Manufacturing for example. Overall, the range of assignments is very diverse and entails close cooperation with the interfaces involved in the respective process. Alongside the medicines and their properties, regulatory aspects like marketing authorisations and contractual obligations are now also playing an increasing role for me. Since then, I've been aware of the group's international reach on a daily basis. So it's since become natural for me to see the central role that drug safety takes on at the company and with respect to the local authority.

What is it that makes BERLIN-CHEMIE special?

In my opinion, BERLIN-CHEMIE/Menarini GmbH stands out through its family-like company culture and the respectful way in which employees treat each other. On top of that, I enjoy the diversity of the departments present at the Berlin-Adlershof site. Despite the international marketing of the products, I've got the feeling that I can find a local expert on every issue. Regular external events like taking part in the Team Relay every year foster getting to know other employees and create an extraordinary sense of community. Regardless of that, flexible working hours, the collective-bargaining conditions of the chemical industry and numerous employee-friendly Works Agreements make BERLIN-CHEMIE/Menarini GmbH an attractive employer for me as well. Last but not least, I'd also like to mention the fantastic company restaurant at the site, where there's an excellent range of snacks on offer during your break, or you can exchange ideas with your colleagues over a coffee in the café bar.

In your opinion, what advantages does the industry offer over the pharmacy?

Compared to a public pharmacy, the pharmaceutical industry is distinctive with a completely different scale and structure. This results not least because of regulatory requirements, which are subject to constant changes. In my view, the pharmaceutical industry therefore scores not only with you having the possibility to specialise in various disciplines but also with the opportunity for individual and sustained development. My opinion is that the industry also offers the right working environment for every type of employee. From routine day-to-day business to project work, there's something for everyone. Besides the professional and personal aspects, you also have to mention the general working conditions. When doing a job in the pharmaceutical industry, you can usually expect more flexible working hours and a higher salary and holiday entitlement compared to a pharmacy.

Why would you advise up-and-coming pharmacists to take a look at the industry or directly at the PD-LDSU Department? Why is it that a "desk job" that may seem boring at first glance can be exciting?

It can generally be said that the knowledge from a pharmacy degree gives you a solid foundation for many jobs in the pharmaceutical industry. This also applies to the German Drug Safety Department (PD-LDSU). In the team I work in, we deal with assessing drug risks, always keeping in mind the product as a whole (i.e. active substance, excipients, packaging, etc.). When processing the various issues, we're therefore in regular contact with other departments such as Manufacturing, Quality Control and Quality Assurance with the common goal of constantly improving the medicines in respect of their tolerability. So it's worth having a look at my team for pharmacists who are particularly interested in pharmacology, analysis and technology and looking forward to exchanging views in our interdisciplinary team of doctors, pharmacists and other scientists. Despite doing a desk job, we're still close to the drug and its users in that we medically evaluate the complaints received from the pharmacies for example. In our team, there's a good mix of routine tasks, projects and spontaneous topics like supporting the Pharmacovigilance Officer with a batch recall. So it's never boring.

Do you have any other tips to pass on to budding pharmacists?

I'd like to encourage prospective pharmacists to use the opportunity of the practical year to take a look at the pharmaceutical industry. A unique opportunity comes up to experience the typical disciplines of drug manufacturing and testing on an industrial scale and to get to know other exciting fields of activity that are only touched on during a university education – for example regulatory affairs and drug safety. You shouldn't be put off by the often sweeping statements doing the rounds among students that slots in the industry are very limited, are allocated well in advance and only to top graduates. Instead, you should apply having confidence in your pharmaceutical expertise. BERLIN-CHEMIE/Menarini GmbH offers numerous internships in the most varied of areas at the company every six months. At the same time, the company provides an in-house information series for pharmacy interns and makes interaction among like-minded people possible. These offers support the young pharmacists immensely in making a decision on their further career path.

Elena Hilfer , Staff member responsible for packaging texts

„I’m constantly evolving: just like everything around me.“

Elena Hilfer , Staff member responsible for packaging texts

„I’m constantly evolving: just like everything around me.“


Ms. Hilfer, what do you answer when you are asked what you do for a living?

I say that I create packaging components at a pharmaceutical company, such as folding boxes, foils/films, labels and package leaflets. And I also say: That might sound boring, but it isn't. It's exciting.

Why?

Because we create all the packaging components for our large product range, and that means for lots of different countries. These are countries with different languages and individual requirements for the texts given on the packaging. In addition, the packaging should have a design that appeals to the customer. It must also be printable and compatible with the packaging machines. All of these steps are intermeshed for those of us working in Materials Management. In the end, we create packaging components for a product that will later sit on the shelf in one of our countries and eventually find its way to the patient.

Does that mean you have to be knowledgeable in each of these steps or are there various experts?

Naturally, there is a dedicated department for every step. For example, Marketing is responsible for designing the packaging. However, it can happen that the texts stipulated by Regulatory Affairs are so extensive that they do not fit on the packaging design desired by Marketing. We then work together to find a compromise. In parallel to that, the capabilities of our printing partners must also be considered as well as the technological requirements coming from the in-house or outsourced production. As you can see, there is a lot to coordinate, and potential conflicts must be identified early. That is one of the greatest challenges of our daily work.

In other words, you are the interface between the departments?

Correct. We consolidate the information so that the packaging component ultimately satisfies all the requirements – and we do that for over 50 languages.

50 languages?

That's right. Of course, no one in our department speaks 50 languages. The respective representative offices in the countries are responsible for the final texts that are binding. In our Production Material, Editing team, we only create a base text. This is written in English or Russian and then completed and translated by the departments in the various countries.

Does that mean I would have to speak Russian to work on your team?

Knowledge of Russian is an advantage. But we also have members of the team who have not learned Russian. Nevertheless, they quickly got their bearings and familiarised themselves with the Cyrillic script. They are now able to correctly identify and assign the relevant text passages and instructions. You just can't let yourself be intimidated by it.

How many staff work in the team with you?

There are eight of us in the team for packaging texts.

Eight colleagues who are divided up among 50 languages?

We are not organised by language or country but by active substance and dosage form. In other words, everyone essentially works with every country and every language.

How long have you been working at the company?

It will be ten years soon.

Have you worked in various departments during this time?

No, I am a good example of how someone can sit at the same desk for ten years. (laughs) Sounds boring again, but it never has been for me. Even after almost ten years in my profession, I never have the feeling of no longer being interested in my work. Instead, I find that I am constantly improving myself in the same job. The same goes for everything around me: the company, the processes, the tools. There are always new active substances, new requirements, new campaigns, new people and projects. You are always challenged, and you learn as you go along.

You have a degree in pharmaceutical engineering. Are what you studied and what you do today related?

Definitely. An engineering mindset is frequently required in my job. For example, we have to quickly understand how a packaging machine works, to which production steps our packaging is subject and what consequences these individual steps have on the packaging. To put it simply: how a machine stamps, when the sticker is applied, how the package leaflet gets into the box and much more.

In other words, understanding the machine helps you decide, for instance, where on the package a text can be printed?

That's right. The packaging design must always be adapted to the technological requirements in production. Otherwise it won't work.

Do all of your colleagues have a background similar to yours?

We are pharmaceutical engineers, packaging engineers and industrial engineers. We also have one colleague with a business administration background on the team.

Business administration?

When someone has certain personal attributes, even that is possible.

What kind of attributes are required?

An understanding of technical concepts is very advantageous. You should not fear contact with production machinery and you should be able to read machine drawings. It either suits you or it doesn’t. It is also important to be very diligent, structured and conscientious and to work at a constant speed. You have to be able to recognise all the details at once and merge them. Not even the smallest detail can be overlooked.

Grit Leonhardt , Application Systems Project Manager

„I like that it’s both traditional and international.“

Grit Leonhardt , Application Systems Project Manager

„I like that it’s both traditional and international.“


Ms. Leonhardt, you're an Application Systems Project Manager and describe yourself as an interpreter between software users and software developers. Can you paint a more detailed picture?

In my department, International Division, I act as a link between my colleagues who work in international sales and the software developers at BERLIN-CHEMIE's IT Department. These are areas that sometimes speak very different languages. (laughs) I coordinate joint development projects.

How is it that you speak both languages?

I studied business administration with a focus on international management, marketing and business information technology and then gained professional experience abroad. For example, it was all about software in supply chain management, and of course I was dealing with people and their various cultures in the process.

Whereabouts in the export sector are software solutions needed?

Solutions, plural, is right. We have many, many software applications in sales. It's become very multi-layered and complex over the past years. Most important is our goods management system. This is software we use to create invoices for export customers. In addition, we have software for the various export papers that have to be produced, from the packing list, via the customs declaration, right up to the transport insurance certificates. There are also planning systems for sales-volume planning and systems for coordination between Sales, Production and Regulatory Affairs. We have systems for the management of master data as well as reporting systems for sales statistics and inventory monitoring. And then we also have a database for our prices. Each of the over 30 countries in which we sell our products has its own price list.

If someone has specific ideas for some software or suggestions for improvements, do they then simply come to you?

Yes, that's the way it quite often works. Colleagues frequently come and say: Every month, I have to do so much by hand at this point. Couldn’t we create a software solution for this? I check it over, discuss the idea within the department and then discuss it with the IT Department. Together we consider whether we already have a software solution we can use, whether we have to programme it ourselves or if we would have to purchase an application. But I'm often frequently so involved in the department processes that I notice something myself that calls for a software solution.

You also hold training sessions. How much of your time does that take up?

When new software is introduced, there are training sessions for all staff affected, either face to face or with the aid of user manuals. We prepare English-language manuals and presentations and train our colleagues here in Berlin but also in the foreign offices. In total, there are over 250 colleagues around the world who work with our systems. Supporting all of these users takes up more and more time. BERLIN-CHEMIE is growing and this  means new employees, who have to be trained, are joining.

And when someone has a hard time with some software?

Then we're always the first point of contact. In this way, we take some of the pressure off the IT Department. Our colleagues there should be able to focus on the programming. For questions from users such as “Which button do I press?”, we're the first line of support.

You had already worked at another pharmaceutical company before coming to BERLIN-CHEMIE in 2005. But your work is not necessarily bound to this industry, right?

Yes and no. It's definitely an advantage to have special knowledge of the sector. Production in the pharmaceutical industry is batch based, and this gives rise special requirements for the software. What's important is allocating a batch to the customer and the shelf life, or the remaining shelf life, of the medicines. Documentary evidence of a batch includes the production, warehousing and distribution. That can't be compared with manufacturers of consumer goods. On top of that, we have to consider approvals for medicines from the regulatory authorities of each individual country. All this is also reflected in the software.

Where did you get this knowledge of the sector?

It came through professional experience. In the first pharmaceutical company I worked for, there was a large range of issues to be dealt with. I learned the ropes and then brought this knowledge with me to BERLIN-CHEMIE.

How did it actually come about that you work in the pharmaceutical sector today?

It was more of a coincidence. But I immediately felt at home. On the one hand, I like working for a grounded company, i.e. one that actually produces something. On the other hand, I like the international flavour. When you work in the export sector like I do, you deal with many different countries: such as Russia, Poland, the Balkan countries and even Scandinavian countries. Here, you have to be capable of to handling various cultures.

Which other qualities does someone in your position need?

Besides logical thinking and systematic working, these capabilities include a sense of organisation. Part of it involves bringing the teams together, organising meetings, preparing presentations and being able to convince others of your ideas. In addition, it calls for tact. Not every good idea is accepted immediately. You have to be able to sell them as well. And set priorities when resources are tight. Where can I make compromises? And how do I convey this compromise so that it's acceptable to everyone? That isn’t always so easy. (laughs) The great thing about being at BERLIN-CHEMIE is that I can always explore new areas of activity.

Such as?

Let’s say I'd like to reorganise certain processes because I see that something we've been doing for years is no longer working optimally. Then I can set this project in motion myself. In larger companies, it's frequently the head of department who brings a project into being and perhaps also brings in an outside consulting company. At BERLIN-CHEMIE, these changes are also driven from bottom to top and generally without external consultants. We do have an internal consulting department that supports us, but we also do a lot within our own department. Firstly because we have these two project management positions, and secondly because we have line managers who support this.

You have two young children and spent a year on parental leave after each birth. Are you working full time again?

No, part time. It's very positive that this is possible here, and fortunately it's also easy to manage with my work. I really enjoy working, and at the same time I want to watch my children grow up.

How quickly did you get back into the swing of work after returning from parental leave?

It varied. In 2008, when I came back from parental leave the first time, I got back into the swing of things very quickly. At that time, not so much had changed. In 2010, it was different. During the year I was absent, some very important new planning software was introduced in Berlin and all the foreign offices. This really changed our world fundamentally. That was a major adjustment for me. Fortunately, the colleague who held my position during my parental leave remained with us in our department. One position became two because the new software brought significantly more work with it. It helped me a lot that the two of us were able to work as a pair after my parental leave.

Elena Hilfer , Staff member responsible for packaging texts

„I’m constantly evolving: just like everything around me.“


Ms. Hilfer, what do you answer when you are asked what you do for a living?

I say that I create packaging components at a pharmaceutical company, such as folding boxes, foils/films, labels and package leaflets. And I also say: That might sound boring, but it isn't. It's exciting.

Why?

Because we create all the packaging components for our large product range, and that means for lots of different countries. These are countries with different languages and individual requirements for the texts given on the packaging. In addition, the packaging should have a design that appeals to the customer. It must also be printable and compatible with the packaging machines. All of these steps are intermeshed for those of us working in Materials Management. In the end, we create packaging components for a product that will later sit on the shelf in one of our countries and eventually find its way to the patient.

Does that mean you have to be knowledgeable in each of these steps or are there various experts?

Naturally, there is a dedicated department for every step. For example, Marketing is responsible for designing the packaging. However, it can happen that the texts stipulated by Regulatory Affairs are so extensive that they do not fit on the packaging design desired by Marketing. We then work together to find a compromise. In parallel to that, the capabilities of our printing partners must also be considered as well as the technological requirements coming from the in-house or outsourced production. As you can see, there is a lot to coordinate, and potential conflicts must be identified early. That is one of the greatest challenges of our daily work.

In other words, you are the interface between the departments?

Correct. We consolidate the information so that the packaging component ultimately satisfies all the requirements – and we do that for over 50 languages.

50 languages?

That's right. Of course, no one in our department speaks 50 languages. The respective representative offices in the countries are responsible for the final texts that are binding. In our Production Material, Editing team, we only create a base text. This is written in English or Russian and then completed and translated by the departments in the various countries.

Does that mean I would have to speak Russian to work on your team?

Knowledge of Russian is an advantage. But we also have members of the team who have not learned Russian. Nevertheless, they quickly got their bearings and familiarised themselves with the Cyrillic script. They are now able to correctly identify and assign the relevant text passages and instructions. You just can't let yourself be intimidated by it.

How many staff work in the team with you?

There are eight of us in the team for packaging texts.

Eight colleagues who are divided up among 50 languages?

We are not organised by language or country but by active substance and dosage form. In other words, everyone essentially works with every country and every language.

How long have you been working at the company?

It will be ten years soon.

Have you worked in various departments during this time?

No, I am a good example of how someone can sit at the same desk for ten years. (laughs) Sounds boring again, but it never has been for me. Even after almost ten years in my profession, I never have the feeling of no longer being interested in my work. Instead, I find that I am constantly improving myself in the same job. The same goes for everything around me: the company, the processes, the tools. There are always new active substances, new requirements, new campaigns, new people and projects. You are always challenged, and you learn as you go along.

You have a degree in pharmaceutical engineering. Are what you studied and what you do today related?

Definitely. An engineering mindset is frequently required in my job. For example, we have to quickly understand how a packaging machine works, to which production steps our packaging is subject and what consequences these individual steps have on the packaging. To put it simply: how a machine stamps, when the sticker is applied, how the package leaflet gets into the box and much more.

In other words, understanding the machine helps you decide, for instance, where on the package a text can be printed?

That's right. The packaging design must always be adapted to the technological requirements in production. Otherwise it won't work.

Do all of your colleagues have a background similar to yours?

We are pharmaceutical engineers, packaging engineers and industrial engineers. We also have one colleague with a business administration background on the team.

Business administration?

When someone has certain personal attributes, even that is possible.

What kind of attributes are required?

An understanding of technical concepts is very advantageous. You should not fear contact with production machinery and you should be able to read machine drawings. It either suits you or it doesn’t. It is also important to be very diligent, structured and conscientious and to work at a constant speed. You have to be able to recognise all the details at once and merge them. Not even the smallest detail can be overlooked.

Anne Thieke , Staff member at Parenterals Manufacturing

„You’re challenged and know you’re doing something good. “

Dr. Asgar Ergin , Distribution Manager Clinical Trial Supply

„Working alongside people from such a wide range of cultures makes the job really varied.“

Young professionals

Dr. Florian Kirchner , Junior Medical Advisor at Medicine and Research

„What matters to us is the disease, and not just promoting the product.“

Xenia Danilova , Graduate purchasing trainee

„The trainees in our company are given a lot of responsibility right from the start.“

Xenia Danilova , Graduate purchasing trainee

„The trainees in our company are given a lot of responsibility right from the start.“


Ms. Danilova, you're a trainee at Central Purchasing. How is your training going there?

What I'm doing is not a classic trainee programme. From other companies I was familiar with trainee programmes during which you rotate through the different areas of the company for one-and-a-half or two years. For me this is not the case. I work at Purchasing the whole time, but rotate through the various areas and familiarise myself with different categories of purchasing. This allows me to specialise very well. Actually, what I do, is already comparable to what a Junior Purchaser does. At our company, a trainee has a lot of responsibility and freedom with the planning and management of projects and during the optimisation of purchasing processes right from the start – of course, only if you've achieved a certain level of trust.

And how quickly were you given your own projects?

It was pretty quickly, maybe it took a couple of months. The job description was worded at the time as follows: "Purchasing with a focus on television advertising." I didn't really know what this meant at the time, because purchasing on its own is not something a person can visualise. It's also hardly taught on degree courses. And the purchasing of television advertising is something quite special in its own right.

What exactly then does Purchasing do?

At our company, there are two departments that do purchasing: Materials Management is more what you'd consider to be direct production-related purchasing. I, on the other hand, work at Central Purchasing. We purchase everything that is not required for production. That means that we don't buy machines or active substances, or even chemicals. Instead we buy marketing and event services; we buy cars for our fleet; we deal with the leasing contracts. So really we purchase everything else – but primarily services. Along with this, we have numerous strategic tasks, for example, procurement market research, the development of purchasing strategies, the concentration of purchasing power as well as the assessment and development of suppliers.

Although your focus is the area of television advertising. What does this mean?

Television advertising makes up about 50 percent of my work. I manage seven countries in which we distribute numerous OTC products, meaning products available without a prescription. These products are promoted in the media, primarily on TV. There's a pretty big budget behind it. Our Product Managers in the countries don't handle the promotion alone, but cooperate with a media agency. We at Purchasing chose the media agencies in consultation with the country and Marketing Department, handle the tendering procedure, negotiate the commercial framework conditions and manage the contracts. Additionally, we control adherence to the agreements during the contractual year, are the contact for the agency and the country regarding commercial matters and have the agency assessed by an independent auditor.

Which countries are you responsible for?

I, myself, am responsible for the Baltic States, Caucasus and Albania. So a total of seven countries.

And how did you happen to become responsible for these seven countries?

First and foremost, of course, because my language skills. I'm from Russia. The agencies and our colleagues in the foreign offices abroad do speak English, but a lot of things can be explained better in Russian. And because I'm the only one in our team who can speak Russian, it just sort of came to be.

You studied media management. Does that help you today in your job?

Basically, it is a good mix. I have a bachelor's in media management. When I now purchase media, it helps because I know about media systems. I know for example how media research works and how viewer ratings come about. My studies were also very strongly related to projects. I was able to acquire many helpful skills, for example, how you successfully manage a project and communicate complex evaluations in simple terms. My studies for a Masters degree in European Business were more generally about management with the focus on Europe, on strategy and consulting. There I acquired my commercial knowledge and learned to work in international teams. I think that in order to be good at purchasing, it's not simply just about executing an order transaction, you also have to deal with the services and products being purchased.

Which skills should you definitely bring to your job?

I think the skill to solve problems is number one. You have to work very systematically and question things. Good communication skills, written and also verbal, are the second important point, for when working as a manager there are numerous interfaces. I have many external customers and also cooperate with many departments.

Are there other characteristics that are important?

You need a certain degree of skill and assertiveness to be successful in negotiations. But I think that you also have to be diplomatic. Purchasing doesn't mean exerting pressure on the supplier to get the best price. You have to think strategically long term and strive for a situation that brings advantages to both the supplier and your own company. What else? A good head for figures definitely. We must keep an eye on costs, carry out evaluations, question numbers.

Who provides you with support when something is new for you or when you need advice?

We have "old hands" in the team who have already been here for a while. They're always there to help me, the same applies to my team leader. When I notice that I'm not sure about certain things then I go to my boss. He advises and helps me to make the right decision or refers me to somebody else who can help me.

You're frequently away on business. Where have you been already this year?

First in Kyiv. Our office there wanted to move. We were at viewings, met with potential landlords and analysed the market. After that, I was in the Baltic States and now it's time for the Caucasus countries. I was also in Russia for almost a week. That trip dealt with tendering procedures for media services as well as printing and promotional materials.

Those are very different things, here a search for office space, there a tendering procedure for promotional materials.

Correct. New tasks and projects are continually coming my way. I'm very grateful for that. In my work, I always need new challenges, new areas. I do have my core areas that I enjoy maintaining and optimising, but I am always happy when something new comes up.

Dr. Nicole Dennhart , Research Associate

„Documentation is absolutely essential. Everything we do here must be retraceable. “

Dr. Nicole Dennhart , Research Associate

„Documentation is absolutely essential. Everything we do here must be retraceable. “


Dr. Dennhart, you are actually trained as a food chemist. How is that that you are now working at a pharmaceutical company?

In principle, I had already shifted to another direction – the area of bioanalysis – when I was working on my doctorate This automatically moved me a little bit away from the area of food chemistry. Then I looked around for a new position and saw that many pharmaceutical companies were also looking for food chemists, simply because we are well trained analytically. And in the field of research where I currently work, analytical chemistry, typical analysts are needed.

What exactly do you analyse?

As a food chemist, I naturally analyse all foodstuffs that are on the market. All foodstuffs have a label stating what is in them – how much fat, how much sugar. A food chemist takes the foodstuff and checks whether all the information is correct. In a pharmaceutical company, the situation is the same: A tablet is produced, and on it it states that the tablet contains 400 milligrams of an active substance. It is important that it really does contain 400 milligrams so that the consumer receives what is stated on the package.

But certainly there are differences between analysing foodstuffs and analysing medicinal products, right?

Whether I take some orange juice and analyse it or I dissolve a tablet and look for the active substance, the techniques used are essentially the same. Naturally, however, one must consider additional requirements in the area of pharmaceuticals. For example, there are certain guidelines that must be followed.

You work at the Research and Development Division. Which phase of development are you involved in when a new medicinal product is developed?

First there is always an active substance. This is generally developed by my Menarini Group colleagues in Italy. The active substance must then be formulated into a suitable form, such as tablets or solution. This is handled by our Pharmaceutical Development Department. The colleagues there come up with a formulation, and the medicine is produced in the form in which it should be tested. I am involved here not in one but various development phases.

For example?

It could involve characterising the existing active substance, such as with solubility studies or determining the water content. Or I analytically investigate the desired formulation to show how stable the active substance formulation is in various climate zones and to check whether unexpected decomposition products form.

At this point, the medicine is not yet on the market, right?

No, not yet. First the formulation process must be completed. Then there are various clinical phases, in other words studies, that a medicine must pass through. In addition to the safety of the medicine, these involve determining the dosage and naturally verifying a significant efficacy. When these have all been completed successfully, approval of the medicine is applied for with the competent authorities, and only then does it come on the market. That is a long path, and unfortunately it can happen that a project is suddenly stopped, for example, when it is apparent that an active substance is not sufficiently effective.

Do you get used to the fact that a project can be suddenly ended like that?

It is always something of a blow since you have put so much work and energy into it. For two or three days, I do think: Oh, that’s really too bad. But that is part of the process. That is research and development. And yet you have still moved forward. Even if the development of a cancer medicine is stopped, for example, we have still carried out research in this area and we have come a step further.

What is a typical work day like for you?

In the department where I currently work, I am still in the lab a lot and am able to do practical work. I see this as my little niche that I have here. What I hear from people I studied with is that this is hardly possible anywhere else. Where they are, laboratory technicians have taken over the practical work and they receive and evaluate the resulting data. Here, I can also work in the lab. This is great when developing methods since you are right there and can quickly make changes yourself if you notice that something is going in the wrong direction. That is the great thing about it. After all, I originally trained as a laboratory technician, and I enjoy doing that as well.

How much of your working time is taken up with documentation?

I would say my work is almost two-thirds documentation. Documentation is absolutely essential. Everything we do here must be retraceable. Anything not documented effectively has not been done. You have to get used to that, especially if you are coming fresh from university. I believe there was a question even during my job interview as to whether I thought I could handle the extensive documentation. That simply isn't everyone’s thing.

Are there other properties or skills that are especially important for your work?

Being conscientious is very important. For example, you have to get used to writing everything down immediately. That is important. In a job like this, you also have to be very organised and orderly. But someone without those traits would probably never have completed studies in analysis anyway.

You have been working at the company for a few years now and have changed positions once within research and development.

That's right. First I had a fixed-term position in Quality Control for Pharmaceutical Development, but then a permanent position opened up in the Analytical Chemistry Department. The department head knew me from earlier collaboration and said he would be glad to have me on the team if I were interested in changing positions. Well, it wasn’t hard to say: Okay, I'll apply. And it worked out. Although I was also very happy working in the group I started with.

What is the biggest difference between your old and new teams?

The first team was younger, on average. Now I am in a department where I am among the youngest. But that is also a great experience, I have to say, because my colleagues are so knowledgeable. They approach problems very differently. When you are still gaining new experience in your career, you often get very agitated when something does not work. But my colleagues are very composed in such cases because they have been there many times and there was always a solution. I have to say, that is really great. That is an entirely different way to work, and not everyone has the chance to become acquainted with it.

Do you have the feeling that your colleagues are also open to new ideas that you have to contribute?

Yes, definitely. When I joined, they said to me: Oh, here comes a breath of fresh air. In addition, our department frequently performs services for the department where I was before. That is nice because I know the system and naturally the staff there. That makes things simpler.

What is your general impression of the company, do employees quickly get to know each other?

Yes, they do. I have met many people, for instance, because I play volleyball here. The company supports a club in Adlershof, and we can use their facilities for company sports. Thus, I have met colleagues from many different departments this way. And then there are also the running events, which I often participate in. This way we interact on a private level as well.

You earned your doctorate in Munich and moved to Berlin to work. What was the deciding factor in making this choice at the time?

For one thing, I already knew people in Berlin since I had studied here. For another, I have to say that I found the application process here to be great. It went so quickly at the time. Other large companies always take a very long time before they respond. By then, I had already long since signed the contract here and found a flat in Berlin. (laughs)

Paulina Bastek , Junior Applications Manager

„Constant sharing of know-how and the teamwork.“

Dr. Nicole Dennhart , Research Associate

„Documentation is absolutely essential. Everything we do here must be retraceable. “


Dr. Dennhart, you are actually trained as a food chemist. How is that that you are now working at a pharmaceutical company?

In principle, I had already shifted to another direction – the area of bioanalysis – when I was working on my doctorate This automatically moved me a little bit away from the area of food chemistry. Then I looked around for a new position and saw that many pharmaceutical companies were also looking for food chemists, simply because we are well trained analytically. And in the field of research where I currently work, analytical chemistry, typical analysts are needed.

What exactly do you analyse?

As a food chemist, I naturally analyse all foodstuffs that are on the market. All foodstuffs have a label stating what is in them – how much fat, how much sugar. A food chemist takes the foodstuff and checks whether all the information is correct. In a pharmaceutical company, the situation is the same: A tablet is produced, and on it it states that the tablet contains 400 milligrams of an active substance. It is important that it really does contain 400 milligrams so that the consumer receives what is stated on the package.

But certainly there are differences between analysing foodstuffs and analysing medicinal products, right?

Whether I take some orange juice and analyse it or I dissolve a tablet and look for the active substance, the techniques used are essentially the same. Naturally, however, one must consider additional requirements in the area of pharmaceuticals. For example, there are certain guidelines that must be followed.

You work at the Research and Development Division. Which phase of development are you involved in when a new medicinal product is developed?

First there is always an active substance. This is generally developed by my Menarini Group colleagues in Italy. The active substance must then be formulated into a suitable form, such as tablets or solution. This is handled by our Pharmaceutical Development Department. The colleagues there come up with a formulation, and the medicine is produced in the form in which it should be tested. I am involved here not in one but various development phases.

For example?

It could involve characterising the existing active substance, such as with solubility studies or determining the water content. Or I analytically investigate the desired formulation to show how stable the active substance formulation is in various climate zones and to check whether unexpected decomposition products form.

At this point, the medicine is not yet on the market, right?

No, not yet. First the formulation process must be completed. Then there are various clinical phases, in other words studies, that a medicine must pass through. In addition to the safety of the medicine, these involve determining the dosage and naturally verifying a significant efficacy. When these have all been completed successfully, approval of the medicine is applied for with the competent authorities, and only then does it come on the market. That is a long path, and unfortunately it can happen that a project is suddenly stopped, for example, when it is apparent that an active substance is not sufficiently effective.

Do you get used to the fact that a project can be suddenly ended like that?

It is always something of a blow since you have put so much work and energy into it. For two or three days, I do think: Oh, that’s really too bad. But that is part of the process. That is research and development. And yet you have still moved forward. Even if the development of a cancer medicine is stopped, for example, we have still carried out research in this area and we have come a step further.

What is a typical work day like for you?

In the department where I currently work, I am still in the lab a lot and am able to do practical work. I see this as my little niche that I have here. What I hear from people I studied with is that this is hardly possible anywhere else. Where they are, laboratory technicians have taken over the practical work and they receive and evaluate the resulting data. Here, I can also work in the lab. This is great when developing methods since you are right there and can quickly make changes yourself if you notice that something is going in the wrong direction. That is the great thing about it. After all, I originally trained as a laboratory technician, and I enjoy doing that as well.

How much of your working time is taken up with documentation?

I would say my work is almost two-thirds documentation. Documentation is absolutely essential. Everything we do here must be retraceable. Anything not documented effectively has not been done. You have to get used to that, especially if you are coming fresh from university. I believe there was a question even during my job interview as to whether I thought I could handle the extensive documentation. That simply isn't everyone’s thing.

Are there other properties or skills that are especially important for your work?

Being conscientious is very important. For example, you have to get used to writing everything down immediately. That is important. In a job like this, you also have to be very organised and orderly. But someone without those traits would probably never have completed studies in analysis anyway.

You have been working at the company for a few years now and have changed positions once within research and development.

That's right. First I had a fixed-term position in Quality Control for Pharmaceutical Development, but then a permanent position opened up in the Analytical Chemistry Department. The department head knew me from earlier collaboration and said he would be glad to have me on the team if I were interested in changing positions. Well, it wasn’t hard to say: Okay, I'll apply. And it worked out. Although I was also very happy working in the group I started with.

What is the biggest difference between your old and new teams?

The first team was younger, on average. Now I am in a department where I am among the youngest. But that is also a great experience, I have to say, because my colleagues are so knowledgeable. They approach problems very differently. When you are still gaining new experience in your career, you often get very agitated when something does not work. But my colleagues are very composed in such cases because they have been there many times and there was always a solution. I have to say, that is really great. That is an entirely different way to work, and not everyone has the chance to become acquainted with it.

Do you have the feeling that your colleagues are also open to new ideas that you have to contribute?

Yes, definitely. When I joined, they said to me: Oh, here comes a breath of fresh air. In addition, our department frequently performs services for the department where I was before. That is nice because I know the system and naturally the staff there. That makes things simpler.

What is your general impression of the company, do employees quickly get to know each other?

Yes, they do. I have met many people, for instance, because I play volleyball here. The company supports a club in Adlershof, and we can use their facilities for company sports. Thus, I have met colleagues from many different departments this way. And then there are also the running events, which I often participate in. This way we interact on a private level as well.

You earned your doctorate in Munich and moved to Berlin to work. What was the deciding factor in making this choice at the time?

For one thing, I already knew people in Berlin since I had studied here. For another, I have to say that I found the application process here to be great. It went so quickly at the time. Other large companies always take a very long time before they respond. By then, I had already long since signed the contract here and found a flat in Berlin. (laughs)

Angie Kreutz , Pharmacy Intern

„I can vouch to anyone for the practical year in the pharmaceutical industry.“

Angie Kreutz , Pharmacy Intern

„I can vouch to anyone for the practical year in the pharmaceutical industry.“


Hello Ms. Kreutz, perhaps you could briefly introduce yourself!

I'm currently working as a pharmacy intern in the Stability Testing Group of the Research Development Division at Menarini GmbH. Before that, I studied pharmacy at the Free University of Berlin and was already employed in tandem with the degree as a working student in pharmacovigilance at BERLIN-CHEMIE's Local Drug Safety Unit.

Although you were already able to gain an insight into the industry, why did you decide on another six months there?

The pharmaceutical industry is multi-faceted, and the work in the various departments is in some cases very different. For that reason, I think that six months is exactly the right decision to be in a position to scope out the different options you have as a pharmacist in the industry better. The many specialist events for pharmacy interns help in the process. Apart from that, you work full time in a team and so have a different outlook to when you're a working student.

To what extent do the two departments you've been in differ?

The task of pharmacovigilance is to monitor already authorised medicines, to gauge and minimise the risks of pharmacological therapy for the patient, as well as to judge whether an adverse event is associated with taking the drug.
In Stability Testing at the Research and Development Division, products are tested for stability before approval in order to be able to determine stability and usability periods as well as storage instructions, so that the quality of the drug is given throughout its shelf life. So they're two fundamentally different, exciting areas to work in.

Why did you decide to stay in our group of companies after your placement as a working student?

I felt very much at home at the company and really wanted to get a picture of research in the pharmaceutical industry in my practical year – this opportunity isn't offered to pharmacy interns by many other firms. Also, I think it's great that BERLIN-CHEMIE and Menarini offer a lot of practical-year slots, meaning that you can exchange ideas with the other pharmacy interns and in that way learn a lot about daily working life in other departments.

How are you enjoying your time so far? What are highlights?

Working in a team is a lot of fun: Firstly, because I've got really top-notch colleagues, and secondly, because it's very varied. My highlight up to now has been working in the Cytostatics Laboratory – that was a completely new experience, and oncology is also one of the fields I find particularly interesting.

Are there challenges as well? Or do you see any coming your way?

Of course, there are also challenges – as with any new job – but I'm not just left to get on with it; I can count on the support of the team for all issues. I think one of the biggest challenges for all of us at the moment is the corona pandemic.

How is it in corona times?

One or two things are different, of course: online meetings, wearing a mask, having lunch together with the team or the other pharmacy interns more or less doesn't happen. But I'm very glad I could begin the internship despite the pandemic. Due to the laboratory work, working from home isn't that widespread in our department, so despite corona, I have the chance to get to know the procedures and processes more closely and to actively collaborate in the team, which I find very important to get as much as possible out of the internship.

What advice can you give to future pharmacy interns?

I can vouch to anyone for the practical year in the pharmaceutical industry. There's a very broad spectrum of potential job opportunities. For better orientation as to how your exact career after graduation should look, it's a super experience that you should definitely make the most of. And, of course, use the time properly to get all the questions you have off your chest!

And what does the future hold for you after the practical year? 

I've still got the second six months in a public pharmacy ahead of me, and then I'll be taking the third state examination. After that, I'd like to get into the pharmaceutical industry for the long term and am looking to have a career in which I can develop professionally and personally.

Tim Berger , Pharmacy Intern

„I particularly appreciate the professional exchange with my colleagues.“

Tim Berger , Pharmacy Intern

„I particularly appreciate the professional exchange with my colleagues.“


Hello Mr. Berger, how long have you been with us and how did you notice BERLIN-CHEMIE?

I've been doing my practical year since November 2020. I became aware of BERLIN-CHEMIE when I was still doing my degree by talking with fellow students. A search of potential practical-year slots then sparked my interest in the area of manufacturing.

What made you opt for a pharmacy internship in the industry? And for that speciality in particular?

During my course, the issues of pharmaceutical technology caught my imagination the most. To put all the knowledge I'd gained to the test, I decided to do a practical-year placement in industrial manufacturing of drug substances. I can work practically at the company and apply my previous knowledge broadly and deeply at the other workplace in the office. New requirements not only foster new knowledge and skills, they also make the work varied.

How did you find joining the company?

I found intake to the company and how I was accepted in my working environment very pleasant. Onboarding was very well organised, and I was soon able to start with my first tasks. I also feel welcome in the team. I'd like to stress that the colleagues overseeing me had thought about long-term projects in advance. With the help of these projects, it's easy to get to know the processes in the industry more closely and thoroughly step by step.

What exactly do your duties entail? What do you enjoy most, what are the challenges?

In the area of manufacturing non-sterile liquids, I'm generally responsible for the validation and qualification of processes and pieces of equipment. On top of that, I handle optimisations of manufacturing and filling processes. My projects contribute to constant improvement of certain processes for the benefit of the company. I particularly appreciate the professional exchange with my colleagues on certain issues, as there are some topics that weren't dealt with very intensively on the degree course. As a result, I can mainly work on my projects independently and competently and transform my acquired knowledge at uni.

How do the degree and practice differ?

Of course, the course covers many more topics than I currently need in the industry. It's mainly my knowledge from pharmaceutical technology that's coming to the fore now. Experience has shown that anything to do with to Good Manufacturing Practice is shifting front and centre in the industry. However, general understanding from the degree is a great help in identifying wider contexts and being able to draw conclusions.

And how is it in times of corona?

Many of my assignments require work on site. For that reason, I'm very satisfied with the implementation of the company's hygiene measures. There is the option of working from home, but I've hardly used it. BERLIN-CHEMIE agreed to take over processing of the corona vaccine at the vaccination centre in Treptow, which led to the opportunity to help out there voluntarily. This assignment meant that I was able to gain a lot of interesting insights, and these included practical aseptic working and establishing process for working up the corona vaccine.

Is there a typical working day? If not, can you describe for us an exciting work day/project or activity from the past months.

I'm particularly enjoying a long-term project which I'm jointly responsible for. This covers the launch of a new in-process control, and I'm doing experimental trials and qualifications of the equipment needed for this. As the conduct is geared towards the schedule at Manufacturing, my working days are made very flexible. The tasks are very diverse as a rule, which means that there's really no typical working day.

How do you find the support at BERLIN-CHEMIE? Is there anything you particularly like or weren't expecting?

The support's outstanding. My colleagues are glad to take enough time and lend a hand with any issues or problems. If anybody's interested in the tasks of other specialist areas, there's always the possibility of participating in events specially set up for pharmacy interns. There's also the option of sitting in on what goes on at other departments.

What advice can you give to future pharmacy interns?

The most important thing is to show initiative. If there are interesting topics that you'd like to learn about on top of your daily routine, you should show your interest. Actively address the subjects, and a great deal will be made possible.

What's next for you after the internship?

Next up, I'll be doing my practical year in a pharmacy. I reckon that after that, I'd like to sign up for the pharmaceutical industry again. The impressions I've gained at BERLIN-CHEMIE helped me make this decision.

Angie Kreutz , Pharmacy Intern

„I can vouch to anyone for the practical year in the pharmaceutical industry.“


Hello Ms. Kreutz, perhaps you could briefly introduce yourself!

I'm currently working as a pharmacy intern in the Stability Testing Group of the Research Development Division at Menarini GmbH. Before that, I studied pharmacy at the Free University of Berlin and was already employed in tandem with the degree as a working student in pharmacovigilance at BERLIN-CHEMIE's Local Drug Safety Unit.

Although you were already able to gain an insight into the industry, why did you decide on another six months there?

The pharmaceutical industry is multi-faceted, and the work in the various departments is in some cases very different. For that reason, I think that six months is exactly the right decision to be in a position to scope out the different options you have as a pharmacist in the industry better. The many specialist events for pharmacy interns help in the process. Apart from that, you work full time in a team and so have a different outlook to when you're a working student.

To what extent do the two departments you've been in differ?

The task of pharmacovigilance is to monitor already authorised medicines, to gauge and minimise the risks of pharmacological therapy for the patient, as well as to judge whether an adverse event is associated with taking the drug.
In Stability Testing at the Research and Development Division, products are tested for stability before approval in order to be able to determine stability and usability periods as well as storage instructions, so that the quality of the drug is given throughout its shelf life. So they're two fundamentally different, exciting areas to work in.

Why did you decide to stay in our group of companies after your placement as a working student?

I felt very much at home at the company and really wanted to get a picture of research in the pharmaceutical industry in my practical year – this opportunity isn't offered to pharmacy interns by many other firms. Also, I think it's great that BERLIN-CHEMIE and Menarini offer a lot of practical-year slots, meaning that you can exchange ideas with the other pharmacy interns and in that way learn a lot about daily working life in other departments.

How are you enjoying your time so far? What are highlights?

Working in a team is a lot of fun: Firstly, because I've got really top-notch colleagues, and secondly, because it's very varied. My highlight up to now has been working in the Cytostatics Laboratory – that was a completely new experience, and oncology is also one of the fields I find particularly interesting.

Are there challenges as well? Or do you see any coming your way?

Of course, there are also challenges – as with any new job – but I'm not just left to get on with it; I can count on the support of the team for all issues. I think one of the biggest challenges for all of us at the moment is the corona pandemic.

How is it in corona times?

One or two things are different, of course: online meetings, wearing a mask, having lunch together with the team or the other pharmacy interns more or less doesn't happen. But I'm very glad I could begin the internship despite the pandemic. Due to the laboratory work, working from home isn't that widespread in our department, so despite corona, I have the chance to get to know the procedures and processes more closely and to actively collaborate in the team, which I find very important to get as much as possible out of the internship.

What advice can you give to future pharmacy interns?

I can vouch to anyone for the practical year in the pharmaceutical industry. There's a very broad spectrum of potential job opportunities. For better orientation as to how your exact career after graduation should look, it's a super experience that you should definitely make the most of. And, of course, use the time properly to get all the questions you have off your chest!

And what does the future hold for you after the practical year? 

I've still got the second six months in a public pharmacy ahead of me, and then I'll be taking the third state examination. After that, I'd like to get into the pharmaceutical industry for the long term and am looking to have a career in which I can develop professionally and personally.

Hanna Rulff , Pharmacy Intern

„I'm very grateful I had the opportunity to work in the vaccination centre.“

Hanna Rulff , Pharmacy Intern

„I'm very grateful I had the opportunity to work in the vaccination centre.“


Hello Ms. Rulff, who are you and what do you do at BERLIN-CHEMIE? 

After passing my school-leaving exams, I studied pharmacy at the Free University of Berlin. I'm now doing my practical year at BERLIN-CHEMIE in the Quality Assurance Department, at Compliance Management, in the area of supplier qualification.

You've already completed six months each in a pharmacy and the industry, why are you taking the opportunity of the voluntary third six months?

I decided on another six months on the one hand to get to know a second pharmaceutical company and on the other to work at this company especially, in another field with different topics in focus and in a new team. The two pharmaceutical companies and departments I'm familiar with up to now differ very much from my point of view, and I'd like to make the most of that experience when deciding about my career later on. I couldn't imagine a better time for a pharmacist to learn about various potential jobs at short notice.

How do you find the support offered by BERLIN-CHEMIE? Is there anything you particularly like or weren't expecting?

I like the fact that I can work independently and that I'm given a degree of freedom in terms of dividing time and structure for work on issues and projects. One of the things I'm working on during my six months is my own little project that only I'm responsible for. In the process of this, I'm in contact a lot with a wide range of departments at the company and in this way have also got to know various different areas and colleagues. That, of course, is enormously important at the beginning, when you don't yet have all that much professional experience or many contacts.

Is there a typical working day? If not, can you describe for us an exciting work day/project or activity from the past months.

Personally, I always find team meetings exciting, especially the meeting of QS-C (Compliance Management), which is held every two weeks, where the individual teams present their current work, talk about changes or innovations and discuss issues. You find out what your colleagues are working on at the moment, and how everything is connected, and you have contact with your colleagues – something that's important for me personally when I'm working one or two days from home. So a usual working day consists first of all of reading and answering e-mails, working on changing tasks (like impounding raw materials or audit planning), one or two meetings and working on my own project on formalised risk assessment of excipients and coordinating on it with my supervisor. If everything works out, you have lunch with your colleagues during the break and then have a short walk around the site.

And how do you like it so far? How does it compare to a pharmacy?

In general, there are very, very big differences between the pharmacy and the pharmaceutical industry that are extremely noticeable, mainly in your first few weeks in the industry. Firstly, there's the very family-like atmosphere in the pharmacy, the close collaboration with colleagues on the team, debating things together, the very prompt and in some cases pragmatic solving of problems and real customer cases, dealing with potentially forthright criticism, positive and negative, and at the end of the day, sometimes quite an overload of new impressions. After three months here at BERLIN-CHEMIE, I can say that I don't regret the decision to come here. The insight I get from my internship, both into the company as such and into the areas of work in my department, is worth a great deal. What I find extremely good here at BERLIN-CHEMIE, and this is something I wasn't counting on at all, is the sharing and the contact with the other interns; whether it's through the InPharma offers, the informal meet-ups on legal issues or looking at other people's workplaces.

How is it in corona times? You had the opportunity helping out in the vaccination centre – what was it like?

I'm very grateful I had the opportunity to work in the vaccination centre as a pharmacist in my internship at BERLIN-CHEMIE. Supporting society in this exceptionally difficult situation is extremely important, I think, and it strikes me as very, very positive how well and quickly our colleagues from BERLIN-CHEMIE organised everything to do with the vaccination centre on site and in scheduling shifts. The motivation and the positive atmosphere encountered in the vaccination centre make the work, which at first is unfamiliar and involves a lot of responsibility, go off easily. Over the course of the week, the team grows together, the workflows become routine and the small breaks in the company of random colleagues thrown together from different departments are entertaining. All in all, a very special experience in an extraordinary situation.

Would you recommend to others taking a look at the industry alongside the pharmacy? And if so, why?

Yes, I'd definitely recommend that, unless one or the other rules it out from the outset because he or she wants to stay and work in a public pharmacy or hospital dispensary, then I don't think it's necessary. For everyone else, this is the opportunity to discover a completely different working day, subject areas and areas of responsibility for pharmacists. In the best case, you're also brought on board in the important projects and have the opportunity to bring your own ideas and suggestions to the table as part of the many SOPs and guidelines. And then at the end or already in the meantime, you can consider whether you can imagine working in the pharmaceutical industry in principle or not.

What does the future hold for you after the practical year at BERLIN-CHEMIE?

Spoilt for choice somehow, I liked everything, everything in its own way; but first I'm thinking back to the pharmacy for a bit, back to the customers, life and everyday work "on the front line".

Nico Willershausen , Pharmacy Intern

„The InPharma events make a nice change from the daily routine of the internship.“

Nico Willershausen , Pharmacy Intern

„The InPharma events make a nice change from the daily routine of the internship.“


Hello Mr. Willershausen, who are you and why did you decide to do your practical year at BERLIN-CHEMIE?

I'm 24 years old, studied pharmacy in Marburg and am now a pharmacy intern here at BERLIN-CHEMIE in Quality Control working in the field of instrumental analysis. The decision was relatively spontaneous, as I had to change my plans because of corona. To be honest, there was no particular reason for it being BERLIN-CHEMIE. Since I found the training programme pretty good, I applied.

You studied in Marburg. Did you want to move to Berlin, or how did you end up here?

Exactly, I just had to get out of Marburg because I also grew up and went to school nearby and ultimately studied there as well. I decided on Berlin seeing as I thought that such a big city would be a good place to make a fresh start and would also offer good opportunities regarding jobs or a doctorate after the practical year.

Which team are you assigned to? What are the typical tasks?

I'm working in HPLC analysis. My tasks are collaborating in the routine analysis of various tablets where we test for content, purity and uniformity of dosage units, as well as performing verifications of methods.

How is that in the times of corona? You had the opportunity helping out in the vaccination centre – what was it like?

Of course, without corona, all of it would be a lot more pleasant. Comparing notes with other pharmacy interns for example is more difficult, as you can't just go to the canteen together during the lunch break. The stint in the vaccination centre was very interesting, and I'm glad I was allowed to help out there and contribute a small part to fighting the pandemic. I was on duty for five days twice days in vaccine processing. That means we diluted the vaccine with saline, drew it up into syringes and then packaged it for transport to the doctors. Naturally, it's fairly hard work staying concentrated right the way through when over 800 syringes have to be prepared in one shift, but we still always had a lot of fun as a group. On top of that, it was great to meet new people from different departments who you'd probably never have got to know normally during the internship.

Would you recommend others to take a look at the industry alongside the pharmacy? And if so, why?

Yes – I think it can't hurt to discover the various working areas open to you as a future pharmacist. However, it's only a brief glimpse at one of many departments, of course. If you already know for sure that you want to work in a pharmacy or hospital dispensary later, and that's what you've got your heart set on, then it's better to do without an internship in the industry.

How do you like the training programme next to the internship?

I think the regular informal meet-ups on legal issues in preparation for the third state examination are quite good. They give you a rough overview of the most important topics and where the best place is to start studying. Plus you can ask your questions and exchange ideas with the other pharmacy interns. The InPharma events, where other departments are presented, or you can tour the Manufacturing Division, also make a nice change from the daily routine of the internship.

Have you got any tips for future applicants or pharmacy interns?

As regards the application, you shouldn't think that it's almost impossible to get an internship spot in the industry, or that you need the best grades, but should just apply. I find it was always presented at uni as being particularly hard to get a place, which isn't really true. I myself got my slot at quite short notice. And otherwise start the internship with a completely open mind and just see what's in store for you.

And what does the future hold for you after the practical year at BERLIN-CHEMIE?

At the moment, I'm planning on starting a doctorate after getting my licence topractice. However, I think that at the present time with corona, it's difficult to count on anything, and a lot will turn up spontaneously. If it doesn't work out directly after licensure, I can see myself more working in a pharmacy or hospital dispensary for a start.

Hanna Rulff , Pharmacy Intern

„I'm very grateful I had the opportunity to work in the vaccination centre.“


Hello Ms. Rulff, who are you and what do you do at BERLIN-CHEMIE? 

After passing my school-leaving exams, I studied pharmacy at the Free University of Berlin. I'm now doing my practical year at BERLIN-CHEMIE in the Quality Assurance Department, at Compliance Management, in the area of supplier qualification.

You've already completed six months each in a pharmacy and the industry, why are you taking the opportunity of the voluntary third six months?

I decided on another six months on the one hand to get to know a second pharmaceutical company and on the other to work at this company especially, in another field with different topics in focus and in a new team. The two pharmaceutical companies and departments I'm familiar with up to now differ very much from my point of view, and I'd like to make the most of that experience when deciding about my career later on. I couldn't imagine a better time for a pharmacist to learn about various potential jobs at short notice.

How do you find the support offered by BERLIN-CHEMIE? Is there anything you particularly like or weren't expecting?

I like the fact that I can work independently and that I'm given a degree of freedom in terms of dividing time and structure for work on issues and projects. One of the things I'm working on during my six months is my own little project that only I'm responsible for. In the process of this, I'm in contact a lot with a wide range of departments at the company and in this way have also got to know various different areas and colleagues. That, of course, is enormously important at the beginning, when you don't yet have all that much professional experience or many contacts.

Is there a typical working day? If not, can you describe for us an exciting work day/project or activity from the past months.

Personally, I always find team meetings exciting, especially the meeting of QS-C (Compliance Management), which is held every two weeks, where the individual teams present their current work, talk about changes or innovations and discuss issues. You find out what your colleagues are working on at the moment, and how everything is connected, and you have contact with your colleagues – something that's important for me personally when I'm working one or two days from home. So a usual working day consists first of all of reading and answering e-mails, working on changing tasks (like impounding raw materials or audit planning), one or two meetings and working on my own project on formalised risk assessment of excipients and coordinating on it with my supervisor. If everything works out, you have lunch with your colleagues during the break and then have a short walk around the site.

And how do you like it so far? How does it compare to a pharmacy?

In general, there are very, very big differences between the pharmacy and the pharmaceutical industry that are extremely noticeable, mainly in your first few weeks in the industry. Firstly, there's the very family-like atmosphere in the pharmacy, the close collaboration with colleagues on the team, debating things together, the very prompt and in some cases pragmatic solving of problems and real customer cases, dealing with potentially forthright criticism, positive and negative, and at the end of the day, sometimes quite an overload of new impressions. After three months here at BERLIN-CHEMIE, I can say that I don't regret the decision to come here. The insight I get from my internship, both into the company as such and into the areas of work in my department, is worth a great deal. What I find extremely good here at BERLIN-CHEMIE, and this is something I wasn't counting on at all, is the sharing and the contact with the other interns; whether it's through the InPharma offers, the informal meet-ups on legal issues or looking at other people's workplaces.

How is it in corona times? You had the opportunity helping out in the vaccination centre – what was it like?

I'm very grateful I had the opportunity to work in the vaccination centre as a pharmacist in my internship at BERLIN-CHEMIE. Supporting society in this exceptionally difficult situation is extremely important, I think, and it strikes me as very, very positive how well and quickly our colleagues from BERLIN-CHEMIE organised everything to do with the vaccination centre on site and in scheduling shifts. The motivation and the positive atmosphere encountered in the vaccination centre make the work, which at first is unfamiliar and involves a lot of responsibility, go off easily. Over the course of the week, the team grows together, the workflows become routine and the small breaks in the company of random colleagues thrown together from different departments are entertaining. All in all, a very special experience in an extraordinary situation.

Would you recommend to others taking a look at the industry alongside the pharmacy? And if so, why?

Yes, I'd definitely recommend that, unless one or the other rules it out from the outset because he or she wants to stay and work in a public pharmacy or hospital dispensary, then I don't think it's necessary. For everyone else, this is the opportunity to discover a completely different working day, subject areas and areas of responsibility for pharmacists. In the best case, you're also brought on board in the important projects and have the opportunity to bring your own ideas and suggestions to the table as part of the many SOPs and guidelines. And then at the end or already in the meantime, you can consider whether you can imagine working in the pharmaceutical industry in principle or not.

What does the future hold for you after the practical year at BERLIN-CHEMIE?

Spoilt for choice somehow, I liked everything, everything in its own way; but first I'm thinking back to the pharmacy for a bit, back to the customers, life and everyday work "on the front line".

Anne Jeschke , Pharmacy intern

„I wasn’t aware of what actually goes into the production of medicinal products. “

Anne Jeschke , Pharmacy intern

„I wasn’t aware of what actually goes into the production of medicinal products. “


Ms. Jeschke, you are a pharmacy intern and spending half of your practical year at BERLIN-CHEMIE. Why? You could have, for example, also spent the entire year at a pharmacy.

Because I'm still not really sure what I want to do after the third state licensing examination. I know that I want to have contact with people during my work, whether it's at a pharmacy or company. That's why I wanted to get to know something else besides a pharmacy. You never again have the possibility to get to know an area as easily as during this internship. I wanted to take advantage of this and have the feeling that I have learnt quite a bite.

You work at which department at BERLIN-CHEMIE?

I work at the Regulatory Affairs Department. We manage all of the marketing authorisations for products approved in Germany. But this also includes marketing authorisations in the EU. We act as the point of contact for the German regulatory authority, the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices, for the often long procedures for new registrations and renewals. If for example something about a product changes, the changes are first assessed from a regulatory standpoint and compiled by different departments.

What was the application process for the internship actually like?

All intern positions for the individual departments are advertised on BERLIN-CHEMIE's website. You can apply there. Originally, I'd chosen another position that however had already been assigned. Then somebody from BERLIN-CHEMIE called me and said that there were yet other positions still available, and I thought the one at Regulatory Affairs looked very interesting.

What are the other departments you have contact with during your work?

We interact with numerous departments. For example, I work with colleagues responsible for the quality documentation. In that documentation, everything is recorded that has to do with the quality of a drug, like the stability data and information on how it's manufactured and tested. The colleagues have their offices on the same floor. If we have questions, we can always just go by. I also work with the Medicine and Research Department, which is responsible for the drafting of product information texts. Those are, for example, package leaflets for drugs. Additionally, we have to do with Marketing to establish a regulatory strategy and with International Division, as the international marketing authorisations are often based on the regulatory status in Germany.

Overall you'll be spending six months at BERLIN-CHEMIE. Will you change departments again during this time?

No, I'll stay at the same department. But there are two-hour events at BERLIN-CHEMIE for pharmacy interns during which we visit other departments and thus get to know the most important ones. We for example have already visited Quality Control. In addition, I've also received tips from my supervisor on which colleagues I can talk to during my internship to get to know other departments.

How quickly were you able to really start working at the department?

It went pretty fast. The first two days my colleagues explained things to me, on the third day I learnt how the authority is notified and then I had my own tasks on the table. Of course, my supervisor goes over my work at the end, but I learnt a lot by just being able to try things myself.

How did you actually experience the shift from theory in your studies to practice at BERLIN-CHEMIE?

At the beginning it was definitely specific and didn't have much to do with what I'd learnt at the university. Everyone talks in abbreviations and it was all just Greek to me. But after a few days, I slowly began to understand what the abbreviations mean. During my studies, I couldn't even imagine what a pharmaceutical company does in detail. I thought that the company produces and controls drugs and then brings them to market. But I couldn't even picture how much really stands behind this and how many departments there are. In general, the daily routine is varied and demanding. That's why it's never really possible to not make any mistakes. Which initially isn't really bad thing. That's why I always discuss my work with my supervisor. We double-check our work so that everything we submit to the authorities is free from errors.

Who do you ask questions when you don't know how to proceed?

Usually I ask my supervisor. She sits across from me and can be addressed at any time. And when she is in a meeting, I can go to the next office and everyone takes time out to help. There is always somebody available.

Maike Günther , Working Student Human Resources

„My expectations of the internship were exceeded.“

Maike Günther , Working Student Human Resources

„My expectations of the internship were exceeded.“


Hello Ms. Günther, would you like to introduce yourself briefly and tell us why you decided to work at BERLIN-CHEMIE?

My name is Maike Günther, I'm 27 years old and am studying business administration at the Berlin University of Applied Sciences. I applied to several companies looking for an internship. BERLIN-CHEMIE convinced me through its current projects with very interesting tasks.

Why did you decide to stay on with our company after your internship?

The work was great fun because it was very varied. My expectations of the internship were exceeded, as the insight I received was far more extensive than I'd thought. During my internship, I was able to work in almost all areas of HR Development and take on challenging tasks. Unlike my experience at other companies, where I did a lot of routine work, there were very few repetitive tasks here, but varied assignments and exciting projects. Apart from that, the chemistry was right with the team at HR Development, where I felt at home from the start.

What is it that makes BERLIN-CHEMIE special?

At BERLIN-CHEMIE, constant development takes place – both of the company through projects and of the employees. The tasks are varied, you get the opportunity to work on exciting projects and bring your ideas to the table. BERLIN-CHEMIE's staff are open-minded, and all ages are represented. Alongside further training, the company offers its staff a company restaurant and a cafeteria with a wide range of delicious food. If you come by car, you can park in the staff car park. Time tracking and flexitime make it easy to combine work, uni and free time.

How do you find the support offered by BERLIN-CHEMIE in general? Is there anything you particularly like or weren't expecting?

My team integrated me fast. Lunch breaks together made it possible for me to connect with and get to know my colleagues better. I felt like a full member of the team very quickly.

You've already done an internship at BERLIN-CHEMIE. Can you tell us about it? 

I did my internship at HR Development. During the internship, I had the opportunity to work in almost all areas of HR Development. My main focuses of my duties were:

  • Supporting the organisation of training;
  • Drafting training contracts;
  • Evaluation and support for target-setting meetings and performance reviews;
  • Research activities;
  • Collaborating in various ongoing projects

I had fun particularly working on the projects as well as organising training. The first few weeks of onboarding were challenging for me, as it takes time to find your way around the structure of a company with over 5,000 employees and the varied new assignments. Getting to know my colleagues in the HR Department wasn't easy due to corona, as most of them work from home.

Tell us about your job as a working student. 

I'm at HR Development as part of my working-student placement as well. My tasks are still as varied as they were during my internship. Now it's settled that I'll be working here for longer than four months, I've taken on a few assignments of my own that I'm working on independently, for example organising two training sessions.

Could you apply the theoretical knowledge you acquired during your studies in practice during your time as a working student?

Yes, especially the theoretical knowledge from my specialisation in human resources and organisation. These have made it easier for me to understand processes and backgrounds. My experience and knowledge from my apprenticeship and several years of work helped me a great deal to familiarise myself quickly.

Can you imagine a professional future at BERLIN-CHEMIE? Do you already have an idea of what you'll be doing after your degree?

Yes, definitely! My wish is to write my bachelor's dissertation at BERLIN-CHEMIE next year. I'd like to carry on working in the Human Resources Department at BERLIN-CHEMIE after finishing.

Looking back on your experience at BERLIN-CHEMIE up to now, what tips would you give future applicants?

If there's no suitable job description, send off a speculative application, like I did. BERLIN-CHEMIE is working on several innovative projects where you can contribute with your ideas.

Anne Jeschke , Pharmacy intern

„I wasn’t aware of what actually goes into the production of medicinal products. “


Ms. Jeschke, you are a pharmacy intern and spending half of your practical year at BERLIN-CHEMIE. Why? You could have, for example, also spent the entire year at a pharmacy.

Because I'm still not really sure what I want to do after the third state licensing examination. I know that I want to have contact with people during my work, whether it's at a pharmacy or company. That's why I wanted to get to know something else besides a pharmacy. You never again have the possibility to get to know an area as easily as during this internship. I wanted to take advantage of this and have the feeling that I have learnt quite a bite.

You work at which department at BERLIN-CHEMIE?

I work at the Regulatory Affairs Department. We manage all of the marketing authorisations for products approved in Germany. But this also includes marketing authorisations in the EU. We act as the point of contact for the German regulatory authority, the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices, for the often long procedures for new registrations and renewals. If for example something about a product changes, the changes are first assessed from a regulatory standpoint and compiled by different departments.

What was the application process for the internship actually like?

All intern positions for the individual departments are advertised on BERLIN-CHEMIE's website. You can apply there. Originally, I'd chosen another position that however had already been assigned. Then somebody from BERLIN-CHEMIE called me and said that there were yet other positions still available, and I thought the one at Regulatory Affairs looked very interesting.

What are the other departments you have contact with during your work?

We interact with numerous departments. For example, I work with colleagues responsible for the quality documentation. In that documentation, everything is recorded that has to do with the quality of a drug, like the stability data and information on how it's manufactured and tested. The colleagues have their offices on the same floor. If we have questions, we can always just go by. I also work with the Medicine and Research Department, which is responsible for the drafting of product information texts. Those are, for example, package leaflets for drugs. Additionally, we have to do with Marketing to establish a regulatory strategy and with International Division, as the international marketing authorisations are often based on the regulatory status in Germany.

Overall you'll be spending six months at BERLIN-CHEMIE. Will you change departments again during this time?

No, I'll stay at the same department. But there are two-hour events at BERLIN-CHEMIE for pharmacy interns during which we visit other departments and thus get to know the most important ones. We for example have already visited Quality Control. In addition, I've also received tips from my supervisor on which colleagues I can talk to during my internship to get to know other departments.

How quickly were you able to really start working at the department?

It went pretty fast. The first two days my colleagues explained things to me, on the third day I learnt how the authority is notified and then I had my own tasks on the table. Of course, my supervisor goes over my work at the end, but I learnt a lot by just being able to try things myself.

How did you actually experience the shift from theory in your studies to practice at BERLIN-CHEMIE?

At the beginning it was definitely specific and didn't have much to do with what I'd learnt at the university. Everyone talks in abbreviations and it was all just Greek to me. But after a few days, I slowly began to understand what the abbreviations mean. During my studies, I couldn't even imagine what a pharmaceutical company does in detail. I thought that the company produces and controls drugs and then brings them to market. But I couldn't even picture how much really stands behind this and how many departments there are. In general, the daily routine is varied and demanding. That's why it's never really possible to not make any mistakes. Which initially isn't really bad thing. That's why I always discuss my work with my supervisor. We double-check our work so that everything we submit to the authorities is free from errors.

Who do you ask questions when you don't know how to proceed?

Usually I ask my supervisor. She sits across from me and can be addressed at any time. And when she is in a meeting, I can go to the next office and everyone takes time out to help. There is always somebody available.

Tim Kwiatkowski , Working Student Supply Chain Management

„The flexibility with regards to working hours and other topics struck me as positive.“

Tim Kwiatkowski , Working Student Supply Chain Management

„The flexibility with regards to working hours and other topics struck me as positive.“


Hello Mr. Kwiatkowski, since when have you been at the company, and what activities have you already performed here, or are you pursuing at the moment?

My first point of contact was an application for an internship position advertised at Events Management. I was kindly asked if, as a logistics student, I wouldn't rather do an internship at Logistics. So the first placement was an internship position for 20 weeks at the Logistics Department in Großbeeren from February 2019 onwards. Since September 2019, I've been a working student in the Master Data Management Group at Supply Chain Management in Adlershof. Today, I'm continuing this work at A. Menarini Business & Research GmbH and am in the meantime writing my bachelor's dissertation at BERLIN-CHEMIE AG, for which I did an internship at Manufacturing beforehand.

Why did you decide to stay with the company after your first placement at BERLIN-CHEMIE? What reasons prompted you to take up your slots with us in different specialist areas?

The decision to stay on at BERLIN-CHEMIE was an easy one: Contact with all my colleagues was without any problems; the industrial field interested me; I wanted to get to know the company better; and I like the working environment. My main reason for wanting to become familiar with various areas is that I'm very interested in getting an overview of cross-departmental processes and structures and gaining a better understanding of my own work by doing so. This understanding then of course affects the learning curve of various new processes and working steps. Apart from that, I had the opportunity of getting to know other colleagues from different departments in this way.

What is it that makes BERLIN-CHEMIE special? 

The flexibility with regards to working hours and other topics struck me as positive. Due to this flexibility and the support of my boss and Human Resources, it was possible for me to continue my work at A. Menarini Research and Business GmbH despite my bachelor's internship being at BERLIN-CHEMIE. Another plus point for BERLIN-CHEMIE is my colleagues. When there are questions or problems, you always find an open ear, and the hierarchies you encounter at the company seem very flat through that.

How do you find the support offered by BERLIN-CHEMIE in general? Is there anything you particularly like or weren't expecting?

As I said already, it's been easy for me to click with my colleagues in every team so far. The atmosphere's very pleasant, friendly and open, and these characteristics also describe the support very well. Training sessions are often held by different team members, meaning that you have the opportunity to get to know everyone right from the start. Plus, the tasks change over the time you spend in a department. New, more responsible assignments are added, and others are dropped due to restructuring of processes – that's exciting!

You've already done two internships at BERLIN-CHEMIE. Can you tell us about them? 

I completed both my internships at BERLIN-CHEMIE in the course of my degree. As I described at the beginning, the first was at the Logistics Department and the second at Manufacturing. At Logistics for example, my task was booking goods movements or helping out with goods supply, but I also provided support in restructuring the warehouse. In the internship I did in preparation for my bachelor's dissertation, the tasks were very different from the one before that. Primarily, I held interviews with various departments and carried out research for the dissertation I was planning. In the first internship, I could apply knowledge from my degree, which I liked because now I not only knew the theory but was also able to back it up with practical knowledge. The second time round, I especially enjoyed holding the interviews, as I learnt more about processes that were new to me, which I could then link to tasks I was familiar with. Although the interviews were also challenging: Communication at the beginning was a bit hesitant, as I didn't know most of the interviewees yet, and I hadn't worded questions understandably. Thanks to the internship at Logistics, I also had the opportunity to get to know the Großbeeren site and make contact with colleagues you only rarely see in Adlershof.

Is there another exciting project from the last internships you can remember? Tell us about it.

In my first internship, I wrote a paper on the implementation of factory traffic with the aid of alternative drive technologies. The aim was to find out whether a switch like this could be worthwhile and workable in the first place. Given this goal, there were a lot of tasks to work on, for example conditions for the transport of pharmaceutical products, maximum range of e-lorries, understanding the transport plan for BERLIN-CHEMIE AG's factory traffic, making inquiries with lorry manufacturers and so on. Even though I certainly didn't manage to account for all important aspects, it was incredibly fascinating and exciting to take on and solve many of these problems that were new to me.

Tell us about your job as a working student. 

The job I did the longest was being a working student at Master Data Management. It's mainly about the system-based creation and maintenance of properties of raw materials, packaging materials, bulk and finished products. The tasks here are very varied, from creating bills of materials and manufacturing processes in the ERP system, sorting out errors in the ERP system (for example wrong weights) up to organising the circulation of forms and other assignments. What's also great is that you can work with different systems, are given more responsibility over time, and the tasks change. The changing tasks, i.e. learning new processes, are also challenging of course and need time and repetition for you to be on top of them. But in my opinion, the recognition you get from more responsibility and the pleasure of discovering new things outweigh the effort you have to put in.

Could you apply the theoretical knowledge you acquired during your studies in practice during your time as a working student?

Here, I can clearly divide it into two categories. In the first, there are modules such as "Transport logistics" and "Material-flow management" for example, which, due to the difference between my course (logistics) and what I'm doing as a working student, have no touchpoints at all and are therefore not helpful. The modules of the second category were at least able to provide me with the basics for dealing with certain systems or operations. For example, "ERP 1 and 2" and "Databases" were useful when handling different systems and database queries, but also in forming an understanding of notions like data consistency and coherence; the "Statistics" module was an advantage for creating tables, and "Statistics" and "Computer Science 1 and 2" helped me learn Excel functions and be able to apply them during my time as a working student.

Which job assigned did you like best at BERLIN-CHEMIE and why?

I liked the work in Master Data Management the best. This is where I had the most time to learn new processes and operations. I also very much enjoyed having the opportunity to learn new content that was different from my degree. But I had the most fun working together with the team. Although there was a great sense of unity whatever I was doing at BERLIN-CHEMIE, and it was a pleasure everywhere, this is where I had the most time to grow together with the team and build up a good relationship.

Can you imagine a professional future at BERLIN-CHEMIE? What's next for you after the degree?

As I haven't had any bad experiences here so far, I can definitely imagine working at BERLIN-CHEMIE later on and possibly getting to know other areas. The possibility of working for Menarini abroad is also very appealing. After the bachelor's degree, I'll do a master's in logistics and supply chain management, but I don't know yet where I'll end up after that.

Looking back on your experience at BERLIN-CHEMIE, is there anything you'd like to say to future applicants?

BERLIN-CHEMIE is a company with many facets that has exciting areas to offer for everyone who's not completely uninterested in the pharmaceutical industry. Even if application processes and interviews are always tense, you don't need to worry here. Communicate your goals and wishes openly and honestly, and solutions will be found. Don't be afraid to ask questions, they'll be answered without you being looked at the wrong way. And lastly: Enjoy your time at BERLIN-CHEMIE!

Timm Batschke , Thesis writer

„Colleagues and the respective management personnel make up a community that contributes to the success of the company.“

Timm Batschke , Thesis writer

„Colleagues and the respective management personnel make up a community that contributes to the success of the company.“


Hello Mr. Batschke, since when have you been at the company, and what activities have you already performed here or are pursuing at the moment?

I've been with BERLIN-CHEMIE AG for some years now. Before my degree, I successfully completed an apprenticeship as a pharmaceutical operator at the company. Following on from my vocational training, I was placed in Granulation at the Manufacturing Division and was able to gain my first experience of everyday working life. As I was very interested in the technical side of the production of medicines, I decided to do a bachelor's degree, and I'm currently in the last stages. This includes the 12-week practical phase as well as the dissertation.

Why did you decide to stay with the company after your first placement at BERLIN-CHEMIE?

First and foremost, I wanted to get back into the team. Plus, it helped me a lot that I was familiar with the processes through the training. This made it possible for me to understand complex contexts and to find a contact person when help was needed.

What is it that makes BERLIN-CHEMIE special? 

BERLIN-CHEMIE is a business that's run very much along family lines. Colleagues and the respective management personnel make up a community that contributes to the success of the company. The sense of unity between colleagues is a one-off. If there are problems in the manufacturing process, or a helping hand is needed, everyone can be relied on.

How do you find the support offered by BERLIN-CHEMIE generally? Is there anything you particularly like or weren't expecting?

The support was tip-top at all times. Even in my colleagues' stressful working day, everyone had an open ear for me and tried to help me out. I was particularly struck by the openness of my colleagues – no matter what the situation was.

You've already done an internship at BERLIN-CHEMIE. Can you tell us about it?

The aim of the internship was getting to know the first working steps after the degree. As part of the practical phase/internship, I was allowed to register and characterise the various flow meters at the Manufacturing Division's Granulation in Britz. A report was prepared for this.

Is there another exciting project from the internship that you can remember? Tell us about it.

To check the flow meters for correct measurement, I organised and oversaw a flow walkdown carried out by an external firm, with the manufacturer reviewing the measuring technology and making various suggestions for improvement.

Tell us about your dissertation. 

I'll also be writing my dissertation at the Manufacturing Division in Britz at Granulation. Its goal is to bring about an optimisation of the flow-measurement technology. In the course of the work, it'll be discussed whether a replacement or a change to the measuring technology currently in use will lead to an improvement.

Can you imagine a professional future at BERLIN-CHEMIE? What's next for you after the degree?

There's only one answer to that: "Yes." After my bachelor's degree, I'll carry on studying and go for a master's. For the time of my studies, I very much hope I'll continue to be employed as a working student and able to apply my knowledge practically.

Looking back on your experience at BERLIN-CHEMIE, is there anything you'd like to say to future applicants?

Even if you're unsure, send in an application. Due to the large number of opportunities there are at the company, the road is open for everyone.

Tim Kwiatkowski , Working Student Supply Chain Management

„The flexibility with regards to working hours and other topics struck me as positive.“


Hello Mr. Kwiatkowski, since when have you been at the company, and what activities have you already performed here, or are you pursuing at the moment?

My first point of contact was an application for an internship position advertised at Events Management. I was kindly asked if, as a logistics student, I wouldn't rather do an internship at Logistics. So the first placement was an internship position for 20 weeks at the Logistics Department in Großbeeren from February 2019 onwards. Since September 2019, I've been a working student in the Master Data Management Group at Supply Chain Management in Adlershof. Today, I'm continuing this work at A. Menarini Business & Research GmbH and am in the meantime writing my bachelor's dissertation at BERLIN-CHEMIE AG, for which I did an internship at Manufacturing beforehand.

Why did you decide to stay with the company after your first placement at BERLIN-CHEMIE? What reasons prompted you to take up your slots with us in different specialist areas?

The decision to stay on at BERLIN-CHEMIE was an easy one: Contact with all my colleagues was without any problems; the industrial field interested me; I wanted to get to know the company better; and I like the working environment. My main reason for wanting to become familiar with various areas is that I'm very interested in getting an overview of cross-departmental processes and structures and gaining a better understanding of my own work by doing so. This understanding then of course affects the learning curve of various new processes and working steps. Apart from that, I had the opportunity of getting to know other colleagues from different departments in this way.

What is it that makes BERLIN-CHEMIE special? 

The flexibility with regards to working hours and other topics struck me as positive. Due to this flexibility and the support of my boss and Human Resources, it was possible for me to continue my work at A. Menarini Research and Business GmbH despite my bachelor's internship being at BERLIN-CHEMIE. Another plus point for BERLIN-CHEMIE is my colleagues. When there are questions or problems, you always find an open ear, and the hierarchies you encounter at the company seem very flat through that.

How do you find the support offered by BERLIN-CHEMIE in general? Is there anything you particularly like or weren't expecting?

As I said already, it's been easy for me to click with my colleagues in every team so far. The atmosphere's very pleasant, friendly and open, and these characteristics also describe the support very well. Training sessions are often held by different team members, meaning that you have the opportunity to get to know everyone right from the start. Plus, the tasks change over the time you spend in a department. New, more responsible assignments are added, and others are dropped due to restructuring of processes – that's exciting!

You've already done two internships at BERLIN-CHEMIE. Can you tell us about them? 

I completed both my internships at BERLIN-CHEMIE in the course of my degree. As I described at the beginning, the first was at the Logistics Department and the second at Manufacturing. At Logistics for example, my task was booking goods movements or helping out with goods supply, but I also provided support in restructuring the warehouse. In the internship I did in preparation for my bachelor's dissertation, the tasks were very different from the one before that. Primarily, I held interviews with various departments and carried out research for the dissertation I was planning. In the first internship, I could apply knowledge from my degree, which I liked because now I not only knew the theory but was also able to back it up with practical knowledge. The second time round, I especially enjoyed holding the interviews, as I learnt more about processes that were new to me, which I could then link to tasks I was familiar with. Although the interviews were also challenging: Communication at the beginning was a bit hesitant, as I didn't know most of the interviewees yet, and I hadn't worded questions understandably. Thanks to the internship at Logistics, I also had the opportunity to get to know the Großbeeren site and make contact with colleagues you only rarely see in Adlershof.

Is there another exciting project from the last internships you can remember? Tell us about it.

In my first internship, I wrote a paper on the implementation of factory traffic with the aid of alternative drive technologies. The aim was to find out whether a switch like this could be worthwhile and workable in the first place. Given this goal, there were a lot of tasks to work on, for example conditions for the transport of pharmaceutical products, maximum range of e-lorries, understanding the transport plan for BERLIN-CHEMIE AG's factory traffic, making inquiries with lorry manufacturers and so on. Even though I certainly didn't manage to account for all important aspects, it was incredibly fascinating and exciting to take on and solve many of these problems that were new to me.

Tell us about your job as a working student. 

The job I did the longest was being a working student at Master Data Management. It's mainly about the system-based creation and maintenance of properties of raw materials, packaging materials, bulk and finished products. The tasks here are very varied, from creating bills of materials and manufacturing processes in the ERP system, sorting out errors in the ERP system (for example wrong weights) up to organising the circulation of forms and other assignments. What's also great is that you can work with different systems, are given more responsibility over time, and the tasks change. The changing tasks, i.e. learning new processes, are also challenging of course and need time and repetition for you to be on top of them. But in my opinion, the recognition you get from more responsibility and the pleasure of discovering new things outweigh the effort you have to put in.

Could you apply the theoretical knowledge you acquired during your studies in practice during your time as a working student?

Here, I can clearly divide it into two categories. In the first, there are modules such as "Transport logistics" and "Material-flow management" for example, which, due to the difference between my course (logistics) and what I'm doing as a working student, have no touchpoints at all and are therefore not helpful. The modules of the second category were at least able to provide me with the basics for dealing with certain systems or operations. For example, "ERP 1 and 2" and "Databases" were useful when handling different systems and database queries, but also in forming an understanding of notions like data consistency and coherence; the "Statistics" module was an advantage for creating tables, and "Statistics" and "Computer Science 1 and 2" helped me learn Excel functions and be able to apply them during my time as a working student.

Which job assigned did you like best at BERLIN-CHEMIE and why?

I liked the work in Master Data Management the best. This is where I had the most time to learn new processes and operations. I also very much enjoyed having the opportunity to learn new content that was different from my degree. But I had the most fun working together with the team. Although there was a great sense of unity whatever I was doing at BERLIN-CHEMIE, and it was a pleasure everywhere, this is where I had the most time to grow together with the team and build up a good relationship.

Can you imagine a professional future at BERLIN-CHEMIE? What's next for you after the degree?

As I haven't had any bad experiences here so far, I can definitely imagine working at BERLIN-CHEMIE later on and possibly getting to know other areas. The possibility of working for Menarini abroad is also very appealing. After the bachelor's degree, I'll do a master's in logistics and supply chain management, but I don't know yet where I'll end up after that.

Looking back on your experience at BERLIN-CHEMIE, is there anything you'd like to say to future applicants?

BERLIN-CHEMIE is a company with many facets that has exciting areas to offer for everyone who's not completely uninterested in the pharmaceutical industry. Even if application processes and interviews are always tense, you don't need to worry here. Communicate your goals and wishes openly and honestly, and solutions will be found. Don't be afraid to ask questions, they'll be answered without you being looked at the wrong way. And lastly: Enjoy your time at BERLIN-CHEMIE!

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