IPhO News

Filter By
IPhO News
Professional Development
Fellowship Central
Paths to Industry
Fellow Feature
Member's Journey
Coach's Corner
Senior Exec Spotlight
Enya Guo, PharmD
June 23, 2019

Enya Headshot

Company and Department: Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Regulatory Affairs

Current Role: Regulatory Submission Project Management Specialist

Alma Mater: Rutgers University, Class of 2019

During pharmacy school, I wanted to explore the variety of career paths pharmacists could take before deciding on my own. I tried community pharmacy and hospital pharmacy, but it was during my summer internship at Pfizer when I realized I wanted to pursue an industry career. After researching various areas of industry to learn more about what would interest me most, I set out to pursue Regulatory Affairs.

When selecting APPE rotations, I intentionally chose a rotation in Global Regulatory Affairs at Merck before Midyear because I wanted to be able to share my experiences during interviews. I also applied to a part time job at a Regulatory Affairs agency so I could gain even more hands-on experience. My hope was to secure a fellowship at Midyear.

Read More
Harris Nguyen, PharmD
January 13, 2019

Harris Headshot

Company and Department: Parexel, Pricing & Market Access

Current Role: Associate, Pricing and Market Access

Alma Mater: Temple University School of Pharmacy, Class of 2018

One of the reasons I chose pharmacy school was the versatility of the degree. The option to choose among retail, hospital, and industry was enticing and I set out to make my time in school valuable by experiencing as many different potential avenues as I could, which I did through internships/IPPEs/APPEs and various jobs. I was fortunate enough to have two of my fourth-year rotations at Teva and Genomind. These experiences made me want to pursue a career in the pharmaceutical industry.

The opportunity to make an impact on a large scale and have a dynamic set of day-to-day responsibilities while maintaining work-life balance appealed to me on a major level. So, like many students, I attended Midyear with the goal of attaining a fellowship. I spent an absurd amount of time on applications, cover letters, resumes, and interview prep. At the time, I truly had everything planned down to the most meticulous of details—like the weight of the paper my resume was printed on and the general statements to be included on my thank you notes. Midyear and the subsequent months were an anxiety-ridden blur, filled with interviews and waiting. At the end of it all, despite three on-sites, nothing lined up for me and I was distraught, especially since I was graduating in two months.

Read More
Mitchell Linton, Howard University, Class of 2019
December 27, 2018

Professional shot

Future Company and Department: AbbVie, Sales

Future Role: Immunology Sales Representative in Rheumatology

Since the beginning of pharmacy school, I knew I wanted to eventually work behind the scenes in a field that had the potential to improve patient health on a global scale. At the time, I hadn't yet learned that the pharmaceutical industry would provide that exact opportunity. Over the past few years, I connected with many pharmacists currently working in industry who shared their experiences and helped me realize that what I really wanted was the ability to marry my clincal knowledge with my business acumen—that's how I could truly make a difference.

Though many secure a fellowship after graduation, the landscape is growing increasingly competitive and I knew I needed to research alternative pathways to industry. After consulting my mentors, I learned more about pursuing sales full time and the doors that could open for me. I attended a sales conference where I had the opportunity to interview and apply for my future role in sales at AbbVie Pharmaceuticals. While interviewing, I felt like I was able to effectively demonstrate the value that my education and background would add to the company. Many commercial fellowship programs have rotations in sales because of its focus on product knowledge and company insight. I knew this was the right starting point for me.

Read More
Chirag Shah, PharmD, RPh
November 10, 2018

chirag_hs Company and Department: Arena Pharmaceuticals, Program Management

Current Role: AD, Global Program Management (R&D)

Alma Mater: Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, Class of 2014

My career path has been filled with curiosity and opportunity. But before I dive into the details, I think it’s important to appreciate the tremendous amount of opportunities available for pharmacists—in hospital, retail, managed care, or the pharmaceutical industry. No matter what role you pursue, at the end of the day, your doctorate in pharmacy will serve you well and provide you with a strong scientific acumen. The beauty of the pharmaceutical industry is that there are countless opportunities that require you to apply your scientific knowledge and ultimately learn to develop a solid understanding of the business.

Read More
Sarica Vieda Klein, PharmD
August 10, 2018

Sarica Klein Company and Department: Sanofi Genzyme, Medical Affairs

Current Role: Medical Science Liaison

Alma Mater: University of Southern California, Class of 2006

After earning an undergraduate degree in biology, I started working at Amgen in the preclinical research department. It was there that I discovered my love for working in the pharmaceutical industry. More than anything, I enjoyed being surrounded by innovation and cutting-edge science, where the ultimate goal was simple: to help patients. I was encouraged by a PhD coworker to continue my education and I decided to pursue a doctorate of pharmacy. I was admitted to USC pharmacy school, where I spent every day gaining knowledge and growing more appreciative of my education. With the help of two other classmates, I started the Student Industry Association where pharmacy students could learn about careers in industry.

Read More
Niren Shah, PharmD, MBA
July 5, 2018

Niren Shah Head Shot

Company and Department: PTC Therapeutics, Business Operations

Current Role: Senior Director, Business Development and Strategic Partnerships

Alma Mater: University of Florida, Class of 2010

During my first rotation, I came up with what I thought was a great idea for an article. I spent a number of hours researching the topic and finally mustered up the courage to share the idea with one of my professors, Dr. Epstein. While he appreciated the enthusiasm, he gave me a particularly skeptical look when I told him I would like to publish the paper in The New England Journal of Medicine. We ultimately collaborated on a different project, which became the start of a great relationship that would end in a journey to industry and beyond.

I then decided to pursue a fellowship at the East Coast Institute for Research (ECIR) with Drs. Epstein and Choksi. My two years would be spent teaching, researching (phase 2-4), and publishing manuscripts. ECIR also had a separate arm that consulted for a wide range of pharmaceutical companies like AZ and Novartis. This was where I got my first exposure to industry and I absolutely fell in love.

Read More
Mudit Verma, PharmD
July 2, 2018

Mudit Verma Headshot_1 Company and Department: Accelovance, Inc., Medical Writing

Current Role: Medical Writer

Alma Mater: University of Maryland, Class of 2018

Throughout pharmacy school, I sought a non-traditional career path and perceived the pharmaceutical industry to be a world of endless excitement and innovation. The core of my pharmacy training was clinically-focused, so I gained skills that would help me prosper in industry.

I spent most of my extracurricular time engaging in international pharmacy enterprises by traveling to six different countries throughout pharmacy school: Honduras, Argentina, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Singapore, and Australia. My key strategy for retaining the clinical skills I acquired in each location was to thoroughly document my experiences and reflections and share them with my professional network. I sought out opportunities to publish my reflections via a variety of pharmacy platforms and learned very quickly that I enjoyed writing – so much so that I would then pivot into industry by showcasing my communication and articulation skills.

Read More
Heidi McClelland, PharmD, BCACP
May 11, 2018

Heidi Headshot

Company and Department: Pfizer, Medical Affairs

Current Role: Medical Outcomes Specialist

Alma Mater: University of Wisconsin–Madison, Class of 2004

When I entered pharmacy school in 2000, an industry career was not on my radar. I was working as a pharmacy technician at a large retail chain and planned to continue my career there as a pharmacist. During my fourth year of pharmacy school, I was in a 6-week rotation with a pharmacist working in Medical Affairs at Pfizer. This was when I first became fascinated by the idea of an industry career path.

Despite my fascination, I did continue to work as a retail pharmacist after graduation. I worked in various locations and positions, including a staff pharmacist and pharmacy manager. Although I enjoyed working closely and directly with patients, I realized after 7 years that I was ready to make a career change.

Read More
Diane Ammerman, PharmD
January 29, 2018

Ammerman Headshot

Company and Department: Genentech, Field Medical

Current Role: Senior Medical Science Liaison

Alma Mater: University of Pittsburgh, Class of 1998

I first learned about postions for pharmacists in industry while observing my faculty mentors move into Medical Science Liaison (MSL) roles. They were strong leaders and outstanding clinicians at the University of Pittsburgh, so their transition caught my attention. My residency was clinically-based in ambulatory care and managed care at the University of Maryland. I then moved into a clinical pharmacy position in managed care, where I had significant exposure to and involvement in new drug presentations from MSLs and Industry Account Managers, many of whom were recruiting me to work in the Pharmaceutical Industry. My clinical experience in managing psychiatric patients in insurance initiatives gave me insight that was helpful as I learned about open positions in industry. I decided to make the switch and interview for my first industry MSL position in neuroscience, and I was offered the job.

What's the bottom line?
Your clinical knowledge and experience gained during rotations and/or residency are valuable assets to industry employers. Utilize those skills as you network to help you break into industry in a nontraditional way.

Read More
Francesca Bastone, PharmD
January 3, 2018

francesca bastone

Company and Department: Prometic, Field Medical

Current Role: Medical Science Liaison

Alma Mater: Fairleigh Dickinson University, Class of 2017

I have always wanted to impact patient lives and health care on a global scale, and I ultimately discovered that the best way for me to do that was through the pharmaceutical industry, although the road to getting there was not a straightforward one.

Read More
Jonathan Douek, PharmD
August 1, 2017

douek

Company and Department: Amgen, Regulatory Promotion Compliance

Current Role: Senior Associate Reviewer

Alma Mater: Temple University, Class of 2017

I have heard countless times how important networking is, but I did not truly understand its value until it helped me land my first job in industry.

Like many student pharmacists, my interest in the pharmaceutical industry as an alternative to traditional pharmacist roles was strong, but my knowledge of what one can do in industry was lacking. Therefore, in my first year at Temple University School of Pharmacy, I co-founded our chapter of IPhO. This was in an effort to increase my classmates, and my own, understanding of the avenues that were available to us in industry upon graduation. We gained valuable insight from each speaker that came in, and we learned some of the nuances of each position, from regulatory to medical affairs, to marketing and much more.

Read More
Hyun Ik Kim, PharmD
April 16, 2017

Hyun Ik Kim, PharmD

Company and Department: Taro Pharmaceuticals, Clinical Research

Current Role: Manager, Clinical Research

Alma Mater: Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, Rutgers University 2013

If you are interested in entering the pharmaceutical industry, you may want to consider contract employment. I never imagined I would contract my way to a career in industry.

In the winter of 2012, during my last year of pharmacy school, I arrived at the Midyear meeting in Las Vegas, full of youthful optimism and hope for one goal: a fellowship. As an intern at an agency that provided medical writing services for pharmaceutical companies, I felt industry was the natural progression to pursue my interest in researching and applying scientific information to understand and develop drugs. However, despite great effort, my aspirations at the Midyear Clinical Meeting did not come to fruition.

Read More
Rajvir Amin, PharmD
March 13, 2017

IMG_9334

Company and Department: Janssen, Medical Communications/Medical Affairs

Current Role: Medical Communication Specialist/Medical Writer: Hematology-Oncology

Alma Mater: Long Island University, Class of 2016

In recent times, career choices for pharmacists have evolved significantly. There are now many different areas in the healthcare system that pharmacists can work in. However, most students are not exposed to all the available opportunities during pharmacy school. After very detailed research on all types of different roles pharmacists can hold in the pharmaceutical industry, I knew that is where I wanted to pursue my career. To gain more exposure, I joined an organization related to pharmaceutical industry at my school. This organization helped me understand the roles and responsibilities of a pharmacist working in the industry. I later became a vice president of the organization, which allowed me to develop my leadership skills and use my knowledge to educate other students about industry career opportunities.

Read More
Sonia Talwar, PharmD
October 24, 2016

Sonia Talwar1

Company and Department: The Medicines Company, Global Health Science Center

Current Role: Director, Global Health Science

Alma Mater: Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, Rutgers University 2009

The PharmD degree can lead to a variety of professional opportunities. While this can allow someone to be creative with their career, it can also be overwhelming as one approaches graduation. Before I had entered pharmacy school, I worked at a local pharmacy. While I enjoyed the patient interaction, I was also curious about the companies that developed the drugs used by patients. After entering pharmacy school, I earned different internships for companies such as Ranbaxy, Wyeth (now Pfizer), and Schering-Plough (now Merck) and networked with pharmacists in those companies to learn about their career paths and how they got there.

As I approached graduation, I knew that I would pursue a career in the pharmaceutical industry. I attended Midyear and interviewed for an industry fellowship. While the program was very selective, I too was selective with who I would entrust my career with. I applied for two positions, but was unable to secure a fellowship. I stayed positive and knew that there were other ways of getting a position in the industry as demonstrated by other pharmacists that I had networked with. I used the extensive preparation for interviewing for Midyear and applied for positions, including contract positions. While contract positions ranged from 6 months to 2 years, I saw this as an opportunity to experience a position with the flexibility to potentially change my path (e.g. work in drug safety for six months, then maybe medical information for 6 months).

Read More
Aksh Sharma, PharmD
June 14, 2016

aksh-headshot (1)

Company and Department: GSW Advertising, inVentiv Health

Current Role: Associate Scientific Director

Alma Mater: Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, Rutgers University 2013

During the spring of 2016, I came to a pivotal place in my career path and decided to engage a professional coach at IPhO.

The IPhO Coaching Service helped me clarify my early career goals, customize my CV, review potential positions, and navigate the interview process including reviewing specific job offers.

Jerry Silverman, BS Pharm, RPh and VP of Professional Development and Coaching helped me to thoroughly analyze my professional interests and to establish appropriate short, medium, and long term career goals. I had strong clinical and analytical experiences throughout my pharmacy rotations and was able to secure a 24-month contracted position in drug safety after graduating from pharmacy school. While I could have built upon this initial industry experience to secure another similar position, it became clear to me that I desired to switch tracks and pursue new opportunities in marketing and collaborating with scientific, clinical, and creative teams. In discussing this with my coach he impressed upon me that going directly from a position such as drug safety to marketing was nearly impossible and that we would need to methodically identify the steps over the next several years to make that possible.

Read More
Mehul Patel, PharmD
June 4, 2016

580857_10151954986460252_1308092482_n

Company and Department: Allergan, Medical Affairs

Current Role: Medical Director

Alma Mater: Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, Rutgers University 2002

Entering pharmacy school, a career in the pharmaceutical industry was not on my mind. During my 4th year, I realized that I would be interested in a non-traditional role for a PharmD, and I sought out some recent graduates to learn more about potential pathways. I also diversified my experiential rotations as much as possible and spent my “off cycle” at a pharmaceutical company. At that point I knew I wanted to work in the pharmaceutical industry.

Read More
Roma Bhavsar, PharmD
April 21, 2016

IMG_9086

Company and Department: Bristol-Myers Squibb: Medical Contact, Content and Insight (MCCI) Contact Center

Current Role: Medical Information Manager-Oncology

Alma Mater: MCPHS University, Class of 2015

Like a growing number of student pharmacists today, I was intrigued to learn about the different roles that pharmacists could hold in industry by the end of P2. I grew to like the idea of pursuing a non-traditional pharmacy practice career and began looking into opportunities to get exposure in this field of work. I was very fortunate to be able to participate in two pharmaceutical industry rotations through my school, MCPHS University in Boston. These APPEs were very competitive to secure and gave me the experience I needed to help me decide which commercial industry function I wanted to pursue. Most importantly, it gave me confirmation that industry was where I wanted to be.

Read More