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Subhan Mian, PharmD
April 3, 2020

Subhan Mian

Company: Celgene

Current Role: Global Regulatory Affairs Specialist

Alma Mater: UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy

The road to a career in research and development is as long and tough as it is rewarding. To be honest, I’d never pictured myself being able to get my foot in the door for a major company, but life had other plans—and my journey to a position at Celgene was very nontraditional. After my second year of pharmacy school I was selected to participate in a short-term contract position with the Small Business and Technology Development Center in Durham. The application was provided through the university and my resumé stood out, probably due to my involvement in extracurricular activities, more so than academics alone. Through this, I was matched to two start-up pharmaceutical companies, and served as an Associate Clinical Consultant. I realized that this was an opportunity to truly understand the research and development side of pharmaceuticals, and I immediately became immersed in FDA guidance, regulatory affairs, grant proposal writing, and giving presentations to key opinion leaders. I learned more about the regulatory and medical affairs side of drug development, and over time, better recognized the importance of pharmacists in the industry.

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Frank Son, PharmD
April 1, 2020

Frank Son

Company: VeganMed, Inc

Current Role: Medical Scientist

Alma Mater: University of the Pacific: Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

Entering pharmacy school, I envisioned myself as a retail pharmacist impacting patients’ lives on the frontlines post-graduation. However, my curiosity for nontraditional pharmacist roles grew as I progressed through school and accumulated exposure to various aspects of healthcare where pharmacists played an integral role. Persistence in seeking out varying career paths ultimately led me to discover my passion for industry.

During my final years of pharmacy school, I sought out every opportunity to build my industry-relevant skills. I engaged in a startup environment as a Clinical Research Associate with a physician looking to develop his own nutraceutical, managed cardiovascular research trials as a Primary Investigator at the David Grant USAF Medical Center, and completed a medical affairs internship focused in multiple myeloma at Amgen with the Intercontinental Scientific Affairs team.

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Nicholas Gast, PharmD
March 30, 2020

Nick Gast Headshot

Company: ApotheCom

Current Role: Senior Medical Writer

Alma Mater: Northeastern University

Do I want to wear a suit or a white coat, maybe both? Going into pharmacy school I had a strong inclination of pursuing a career in the pharmaceutical industry. I was working as a pharmacy technician at a retail chain when I applied to pharmacy school and knew I wanted to explore different roles. However, at the time I really did not know how pharmacists could get involved in the industry. I am originally from the Boston area so after being accepted to Northeastern University I decided it would be a good idea to stick around this booming biotech area.

During my time at Northeastern University I took advantage of being involved in the IPhO organization as much as possible. The organization through partnerships with MCPHS was able to host presentations from several pharmacists in various roles throughout the industry. The value of networking and interacting with industry pharmacists while you are in pharmacy school cannot be understated! Hearing from those involved in the industry first-hand gave me major insight into the types of roles I wanted to pursue.

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Romy Bury, PharmD, MBA
March 25, 2020

Romy Bury Headshot

Company: Bristol Myers Squibb, US Commercial

Current Role: Project Manager

Alma Mater: Rutgers University, Class of 2010

In all honesty, I didn’t picture myself working in industry and my journey to BMS was a little non-traditional. I started working at Walgreens during my first year in pharmacy school and absolutely loved retail. Retail can be tough, but patient interaction was incredibly important to me.

I continued to work for Walgreens after graduation and soon became a Pharmacy Manager. I got the chance to work on various special projects such as leading Immunization CEs and working on the recruiting team, but after 12 years in retail, I knew I was ready for a new challenge. I started looking into getting an MBA with the intention of moving up the ranks at Walgreens or finding a job on their corporate team. Life had a different plan.

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Nada Yassein, PharmD
March 3, 2020


Company: ETHOS Health Communications

Current Role: Medical Writer

Alma Mater: University of South Florida College of Pharmacy

Make no mistake, getting into industry is as rewarding, as it is difficult. My goal during pharmacy school was to explore all paths a pharmacist could take in order to get a better understanding about what I wanted to do. I started my career in a traditional role as a retail pharmacy intern. I found myself uninspired and undervalued. It was from here I was determined to pursue alternative options that would fulfill my never ending desire and passion to grow.

After my first year of pharmacy school I became an intern at Elsevier/Gold Standard where I started to learn about the nontraditional roles available to a pharmacist. I learned the impact a pharmacist had on drug information, which sparked my interest in further understanding what pharmacists could do within a drug company. I applied for a rotation at Bristol-Myers Squibb, which helped me understand the importance of a pharmacist in the pharmaceutical industry.

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Shogheeg Apkarian, PharmD, RAC (US)
February 2, 2020


Company: AstraZeneca

Current Role: Associate Pharmacovigilance Scientist - Oncology

Alma Mater: Notre Dame of Maryland University, Class of 2017

As a student, I completed a rotation at AstraZeneca for Pharmacovigilance. When my rotation ended, my preceptor's manager felt my work was strong and asked to keep a copy of my CV on file. My rotation took place after Midyear ended, and unfortunately I had not matched with a fellowship program, so it was critical that I maintained a strong professional network after my rotation and after graduation.

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Opeoluwa Fagbemi, PharmD
January 26, 2020


Company: Arbor Pharmaceuticals

Current Role: Territory Business Manager

Alma Mater: University of Maryland–Baltimore, Class of 2016

While fellowships are a great way to break into the pharmaceutical industry, many pharmacists have landed various positions within the pharmaceutical industry without a fellowship. Fortunately, I was able to secure a commercial role through an unconventional route by connecting the dots of my past experience to procure my current role. I worked in retail for two years after pharmacy school, becoming a pharmacy manager in the process. Not long after, I worked as a clinical pharmacist in the private practice setting. These positions helped me develop a strong business acumen and build relationships with healthcare providers.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Jonathan Douek, PharmD
August 1, 2017


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.

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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.

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Rajvir Amin, PharmD
March 13, 2017


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.

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