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Series: A Day in the Life of an NCG

November 3, 2014 | Life at Lam

At Lam Research, we are committed to helping bright, enthusiastic new college graduates (NCGs) transition to successful and rewarding careers in the workplace. Now in their first jobs after graduating, NCGs working at Lam are truly enjoying their new positions. We caught up with a few of these busy grads to chat with them about their experiences and what they’re learning—and we’re glad we did. In addition to providing insightful workplace perspectives, their stories highlight the importance of decisions they made while in school and during their first jobs following graduation.

In the first of this series, we spoke with Elyse, a Ph.D. graduate in chemical engineering from Stanford University. Elyse works in Lam’s Supply Chain organization, which manages supplier quality and compliance to company standards. In her role as a product engineer, she supports these activities by overseeing existing supplier relationships and qualifying and recommending new suppliers.


What is a typical day at work like?

I spend my time each day in a variety of ways, such as visiting suppliers, researching supplier characterization methods, and completing legal documentation. I do much of my work on my own, although I am part of a multi-person team. Some days, I spend a lot of time at my desk, for example, sending email messages, working on presentations, and reading to continue my learning. Several times a week, I attend meetings for project reviews, conference calls, department updates, etc. A few days each month, I visit suppliers, auditing or evaluating their facilities.


How do you like your job and the work you are doing?

In general, the experience of my first “real” job in industry has been very exciting. I like being involved in multiple projects and overseeing both product quality and execution. I also enjoy constantly learning new things.


Is your job and the workplace what you expected?

I did not anticipate some of the differences I’m seeing between academia and industry. For example, in academia, it is considered quite an accomplishment to have reliable, reproducible data. However, at Lam, every step of a procedure for data collection must be documented and consistent, from material receipt and processing all the way to packing and labeling. I had no idea that standards could be so rigorously defined before delving into my new job.


What helped you transition to the workplace?

In school, I learned to work hard, think systematically, and use scientific literature effectively. These skills have proven helpful in my transition to the workplace.


Why did you choose Lam Research?

I knew I wanted a technical position when I graduated and to work for a large company, and I thought I would fit in well with Lam’s collaborative culture.


What do you like about working at Lam?

I like the high standards, influx of new challenges, and teamwork—which I think is important for being able to make a real impact. Because Lam provided me with a mentor, it was easy to learn how to fit in and feel comfortable. I was even able to find an “unofficial” mentor who was willing to help me grow in more specific project-related knowledge. Finally, I am excited about my future career opportunities, given the company’s promising outlook and ongoing industry need for new technologies.


What advice might you offer other recent graduates on transitioning to the workplace?

Industry has shorter timelines and more deadlines, so learning to multi-task and prioritize while in school helps. Also, the workplace is fast-paced and dynamic, so being mentally prepared to learn, anticipate change, and adapt to unfamiliar situations can help you enjoy your work and keep growing.


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To learn more about NCG opportunities at Lam, please visit the College Programs section on our website.



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