Although many of the rewards of being part of this industry come from improving other people's health and quality of life, they certainly don't stop there.
All the other challenges, opportunities and incentives that you'd expect from one of the UK's biggest industries mean you can get as much satisfaction from working on a cost saving device, or marketing tool, as you can from discovering a new chemical compound that has the potential to save someone's life. After all, it's all part of the same process.
In general, people in the pharmaceutical industry are lively and enthusiastic about their work. As well as being state of the art, it's a very sociable environment and many companies promote sports and social activities and charity events. Rather than being characterised by long hours and solitary endeavour, the industry is more concerned with striking up a healthy balance between life inside and outside work. This usually makes for a hard working but flexible culture.
Then, of course, there are the financial rewards. These will vary from company to company but, as a rule, all areas of the industry pay well. And with so many successful, well-established companies and so much competition, many companies offer extremely competitive benefits packages too.
For individual career perspectives from people who actually work in the industry, explore the Case studies section of this website.
I have much firmer career plans now that I have completed a placement year, and working in a large organisation has opened my eyes to the breadth of roles that are available in the pharmaceutical industry.