In this interview, we will be getting to know Salma Moulana, a student pursuing an MSc in Cosmetic Science at the University of Arts London, who for the last year has been working as Laboratory Technician as part of a paid student placement within IMCD UK's Beauty & Personal Care business unit.
As her placement draws to a close, we had the opportunity to sit down with Salma to discuss her motivations for joining IMCD UK, what technical challenges she’s faced, some of her highlights and key takeaways from her time here, as well as where she sees her career going next.
My roles would consist of tasks such as: assisting my manager with technical requests from team members, suppliers, or customers, organizing the lab since I am the company's first lab technician, staying on top of stock for different lab essentials to ensure readiness for when we get any sudden technical requests, keeping the sample reports up-to-date and ensuring the lab is fully equipped with all the products in IMCDs product portfolio, as it is especially important during the trial and error phase of formulating products.
My most demanding tasks would be during an active project. During an active project, such as product development for our demonstration kits, I would often assist my manager with ‘lab-based’ tasks such as trial and error during product formulation. I am also regularly encouraged to pitch in with my ideas during the brainstorming phase of kit formulation, where we come together as a team to finalise the products we plan to include in the beauty kits.
At IMCD UK, I delved into the dynamic world of cosmetic ingredients and product development, staying up-do-date with the latest trends and innovations in the Beauty & Personal Care sector. Through projects and collaboration with industry professionals, I gained valuable insights into the entire product lifecycle, from sourcing to distribution.
IMCD's role as a distributor offered a unique perspective, exposing me to the collaboration between suppliers and manufacturers. This experience allowed me to develop a holistic view of the industry and strengthened my desire to play a meaningful role in driving innovation and delivering high-quality solutions.
The emphasis on teamwork, collaboration, and customer relationships at IMCD resonated with my values. Working alongside a diverse team, including account managers and industry experts, honed my communication and relationship-building skills, essential for success in the Beauty & Personal Care industry.
I am sincerely grateful for the exceptional support and guidance I received from my colleagues at IMCD UK, especially Kathryn Davies, my line manager. Their welcoming and collaborative environment, coupled with their extensive industry knowledge, proved invaluable.
Kathryn Davies played a pivotal role in my professional growth during my internship. Her mentorship and feedback were instrumental in my development in the Beauty & Personal Care industry. She encouraged me to take ownership of my work, pushing me to exceed what I thought I was capable of.
The camaraderie within the team fostered a collaborative atmosphere, where ideas were freely shared and celebrated. Thanks to my colleagues' support, I made significant progress and achieved success during my time at IMCD UK.
I want to express my heartfelt thanks to all my colleagues at IMCD UK for their exceptional support and positive impact on my internship. Their willingness to share knowledge and offer mentorship has truly contributed to my professional growth in the Beauty & Personal Care industry.
Moreover, my time in the lab has honed my technical proficiency, attention to detail, and formulation skills. Through hands-on experience, I have gained a strong foundation in laboratory practices and procedures, enhancing my product development capabilities. This practical knowledge has equipped me with the skills necessary to conduct successful experiments and contribute to innovative formulations.
Lastly, I have recognised the value of building and nurturing professional networks and partnerships. The connections I have forged at IMCD UK have been invaluable, and I understand the importance of cultivating and expanding these relationships as I progress in my career. Overall, these lessons, coupled with the skills I have acquired in the lab, including product development and formulating expertise, will serve as a robust foundation as I continue my career, equipped with the abilities, knowledge, and mindset needed to excel in the dynamic beauty and personal care industry.
For anyone considering a similar role at IMCD UK, my first piece of advice would be to embrace every opportunity to learn and grow. The beauty and personal care industry is diverse and ever-evolving, so approach your internship with curiosity and a willingness to expand your knowledge and skills. Take advantage of all the resources, mentorship, and hands-on experiences available to you. Secondly, interact with not just your colleagues but everyone you meet throughout the placement and establish professional ties. Networking is a critical skill for success in every industry as it allows you to open doors to fresh opportunities and gives access to advice from first-hand experience. Seek advice from established professionals, collaborate with your peers, and bring your unique perspective to the table. Your internship relationships can have a long-term impact on your future career. Also, don't be scared to venture outside of your comfort zone. Take on new challenges, whether it's working on new projects or learning about new parts of the industry. Accept the unknown because it is typically the source of the most development and learning.
Finally, keep a cheerful and proactive attitude. Approach each assignment with zeal, attention to detail, and a dedication to perfection. Take the initiative, ask questions, and seek feedback. Your internship is a tremendous learning opportunity, and making the most of it will not only help you but will also contribute to the organization's success.
Overall, enjoy your time as an intern and take advantage of the possibilities that are offered to you. Immerse yourself in the industry, network, and strive for personal and professional development. With dedication and a passion for the beauty and personal care industry, your internship at IMCD UK can be a transformative experience.