Letícia Pires Rodrigues recently took part in the STEP program. She is a registered pharmacist and can very well imagine working for EMD again once she has earned her doctorate
© EMD/picture alliance/Andreas Gebert
Finding talented young people and fostering their loyalty to the company early on are important objectives at EMD. Through the loyalty-building “Student Excellence Program” (STEP), EMD supports enthusiastic students until they have completed their studies. The program is a big success — for the students and the company alike.
EMD is not leaving the search for the best employees to chance. Since 2003 it has been using its Student Excellence Program (STEP) to identify especially talented and enthusiastic students and doctoral candidates at an early stage in their development and foster their long-term loyalty to the company.
"Through this recruitment tool we address students who have demonstrated excellence during their internships here at EMD," explains Carolle Müller, Employer Brand Manager in the Human Resources department at EMD. "This is how we stay involved with them as they complete their studies and postgraduate work."
“In the competition for the best employees, we inspire excellent and talented people to develop a sense of connection to the company.“
Employer Brand Manager in Human Resources at EMD
Approximately one thousand students complete internships, work as student trainees or write their final theses at EMD every year. Of this group, only those individuals who are the "best fit" for the company are invited to join the program. The supervisor in each specialized area decides whether or not a nomination for STEP is appropriate.
"We invite the students who are nominated and who meet the standardized selection criteria to come on specific days and participate in a selection process that was developed especially for EMD," says Müller. This fostering of young talent has paid off. "In 2011, for example, around 70 percent of the students supported by the program decided to come to work for EMD when they graduated. The advantages for EMD are obvious. In the competition for the best employees, we inspire excellent and talented people to develop a sense of connection to the company. At the same time, we increase our appeal as an employer," Müller adds.
One such talented young person is Letícia Pires Rodrigues from Brazil. During her six-month internship in research and development at EMD Serono, the biopharmaceutical division of EMD, she heard about the STEP program and successfully cleared all of the hurdles in the selection process. Rodrigues, a licensed pharmacist, was finishing her degree in pharmaceutical sciences at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich in order to pursue a doctorate in pharmaceutical technology and biopharmacy afterwards.
One example of many: Martin Schraub took part in the STEP program beginning in 2007. After earning a doctorate, he went back to EMD, where he is now a lab head
© EMD/Lichtbildatelier Eva Speith, Darmstadt
EMD supports the participants of the program until they complete their education. "The mentoring program is the real heart of the student program," says Letícia Pires Rodrigues. "I can talk about career issues with my professional tutor — for example, my recent decision to earn a doctorate. One thing I consider very important is that the mentors are showing me what kind of career I could have at the company."
Although Rodrigues misses Brazil’s weather and cuisine, she appreciates the German love of structure. This is one of the main reasons why she envisions a future in Germany. "But the first priority is to earn my doctorate. I will be dedicating all my energy to this goal for the next three years. After that, I can well imagine going back to work for EMD. I really liked the working environment there," she says.
Flashback. Martin Schraub, a STEP graduate, joined the program in 2007. Schraub, a chemist who is now 33 years old, was already very familiar with the company by then, having trained there as a chemical lab technician before he began his studies. By the time he graduated with a doctorate in 2011, he had taken full advantage of the many opportunities the program offers. He has worked for EMD since September 2011 — and today he is head of laboratory.
“Among my most vivid memories are the exciting STEP workshops and seminars on themes such as self-marketing,” says Schraub. “Especially for scientists, who would rather spend their lives in the lab, it is very important to know how to present their work to the public.” The program also offers events and panel discussions with members of the EMD Executive Board and representatives of the Merck family. “I think that these exciting and informative meetings show how important promoting young talent is to EMD,” he says.
Regular interaction with his mentor was also extremely important to Martin Schraub. In addition to supporting Schraub’s scientific development, his mentor also encouraged him not to neglect the commercial aspects of his work and to look at the bigger picture. “This knowledge has really helped me in daily life,” Schraub says. Schraub enjoys living in Darmstadt. One major reason for this is the short lines of communication, even though EMD is a big company. Recently he was assigned his own intern, and he is now this young man’s mentor in the loyalty-building program. “Because of his enthusiasm, I recommended him for STEP right away,” Schraub says.
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