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Getting to the heart of the Saltire experience

By Chantelle Christian - Posted on 15 August 2017

A total of 26 Strathclyde Business School undergraduates were selected for Saltire Foundation internships which has seen them work in international companies around the world this summer. Here, Chantelle Christian shares her experiences so far.

This summer, I have been given the amazing opportunity of working in Nyon, Switzerland as part of a Saltire-organised ten week internship with Edwards Lifesciences - a leading multinational medical device company specialising in the treatment of aortic stenosis.

Now at the half-way point, I have settled into Swiss and French (I’m living just over the border) culture quite nicely. I enjoy figuring out the ‘verlan’ in French rap songs - a creative type of slang which involves taking a word, dividing it into syllables and then reversing the syllables (c’est ouf de ne pas lepar le cefran). I’ve drunk Rivella (Switzerland’s equivalent of Irn Bru) while floating down a river near Zurich, been to some amazing local festivals and even reached the top of a 3000 metre glacier with a view of 24 snow-capped 4000 metre mountains while on a team building event!!

In the office, I report to three different managers and work on a variety of projects within the marketing department: from leading a translation project for new materials, to social media mapping and monitoring, to tracking marketing events and ROI, and even researching new initiatives. I am learning so much every day, especially as the marketing is completely different to other industries given the high regulation and specific, specialised clientele, as well as having to understand the medical lingo and appreciate how the product works. 

Just the other day, a kind (and extremely patient!!) surgeon showed me step by step, using a simulator, the operating procedure of inserting a trans-catheter aortic valve implant - one of Edwards' main products, which was very cool!

Furthermore, the company culture is incredibly open and has allowed me to meet and chat with colleagues from many different functions and positions over lunch. I can then place their role and their team’s role in the overall strategy of the company and learn how they help to maintain Edwards’ leadership position. 

I have also been able to chat to and exchange views with a very successful millionaire and social entrepreneur from Yorkshire, who has sponsored me through Saltire as part of the Ardoch scholarship. His experiences have inspired me to make the most of this opportunity and to continue to seek new ones. 

Overall, the internship has reinforced why I study what I do. Speaking French and Spanish has enabled me to feel included in the cross-cultural environment and see first-hand that people appreciate the effort put in to learning their language. Plus, it’s always fun to quash the stereotype that native English speakers are bad at languages! 

Secondly, through studying International Business, I am more aware and sensitive to different cultures and can better adapt to different working styles. Indeed, I am appreciating more and more every day the importance of understanding different cultures in the workplace (my lecturers would be so proud!). 

I can also understand better the company’s overall strategy and business model, and complement, contrast and analyse the practices I am observing here to what I have studied throughout university, to see which ones I will carry forward with me in my future career.

Whether my career is in languages, the healthcare industry or another sector, one thing is for certain - learning is what remains at the centre of success, and I can’t thank Strathclyde enough for giving me a solid foundation and Saltire for giving me the chance to build on this. 

I would definitely recommend Saltire in a heartbeat - and now I have a greater understanding of the working of the heart, that is definitely not said lightly!

To find out more about the Saltire experience, please click here.




Contact details

 Undergraduate admissions
 +44 (0)141 548 4114
 sbs-adviser@strath.ac.uk 

 Postgraduate admissions
 +44(0)141 553 6118 / 6119
 sbs.admissions@strath.ac.uk

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University of Strathclyde
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