Meet Leila Ashakova, Intern within Junior Project Management

Tell us a bit about yourself

I come from Kazakhstan, a beautiful and hospitable country. For the past eight years I have been living and studying here in Switzerland. Both countries have inspired me to learn, expand my horizon and meet new people. It energises me to make new acquaintances and friends. These are the three adjectives that describe me best: curious, organised and solution-oriented.

Learning languages is my passion and I already speak four: Russian, English, French and German. My goal is to learn at least three more languages over the next five years. Working and living in such an international environment motivates me and makes it easier for me to achieve this goal.

Where did you study?

I received a Master’s degree in International Relations from the Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations. As part of my study programme, I completed several internships in international organisations.

Before pursuing my Master’s degree I earned a Bachelor’s degree from the Swiss Hotel Management School in Caux/Montreux and in Leysin/Aigle, also in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. This was an exciting journey, too. Between studies I completed internships in Lausanne and in London.

What is your current Roche location?

I work in Rotkreuz, which is situated in central Switzerland. I enjoy being at this site very much.

What can you tell us about this location?

The first thing that makes the Roche site in Rotkreuz special is the diverse range of people here – you can meet people of different ages and with different nationalities, hobbies and educational backgrounds.

The site also has a very special layout: more than ten buildings are scattered around the main “Evolution Square” and when you walk around the site it feels spacious, like a university campus. People at this site are very friendly and helpful, so the culture of openness and friendliness is somehow in the air.

Why did you decide to join Roche?

Well, there are two main reasons why I wanted to join Roche. I dreamed of a job where I would have a two-way relationship with the organization. Roche is this kind of employer. It is an organisation that values employee engagement and is truly a great place to work.

I also wanted to work in an organisation that values and implements Corporate Social Responsibility projects with regards to the environment, society and its employees.

What is your current job?

I am an intern and work as a Junior Project Manager, Deployment Assistant and Training Coordinator.

What makes it such a great job?

First of all I would say that contrary to some general stereotypes about internships, being an intern at Roche does not mean doing purely administrative work and making coffee. I am directly involved in the project itself and am responsible for tasks related to the actual content.

Working on a project is great, especially in my case, where the project involves sites throughout the world and I have opportunities to communicate not only with my local team but with stakeholders in different parts of the world.

Another thing I like about my work is that I have a considerable amount of freedom, yet I also have frequent contact with my line manager and on-site mentor. I have bi-weekly meetings with my mentor in order to talk about challenges that might arise, assistance that might be needed, and so forth. It is great that they are interested in my opinions, in the progress I am making in my work, and in my development.

Can you select at least three Roche attributes and explain in detail what they mean to you?

  • Work-Life Balance: Many expats find themselves in the same situation I do. My husband and I live and work in Switzerland, but our families and some of our close friends live in Kazakhstan. It is important for me to be able to travel back home to see them. Thanks to the flexible working solutions available at Roche, I can take my holidays and combine them with my overtime hours. This gives me the flexibility to travel to my home country for a longer period of time.
  • Respect: In Roche you can see and experience the respect colleagues show each other and their organization, and vice versa. And as I’ve already mentioned, Roche’s Corporate Social Responsibility projects demonstrate the organisation’s respect for the environment and society, and mean a lot to me.
  • Development opportunitiesThere are great opportunities to learn and improve within Roche. You just have to be willing to absorb the information and to invest time in learning.

Please complete the following sentence:

Roche is a great place to work because of… the knowledge available to you, the way you are treated with respect, the freedom you are given and the contribution you can make towards the company’s success.

How would you describe the people at Roche?

Generating ideas


Educated (highly)


Twenty-first century

What advice would you give job seekers interested in joining us?

Come with an inquiring and open mind – there are abundant opportunities within the company for those who are flexible and eager to learn.

I highly encourage them to visit our career website today. Even if there are no suitable vacancies, you can join the Roche talent pool to learn about the new opportunities that arise on a regular basis.

Tags: Early In Career, Rotkreuz, Switzerland