Fellowship Sponsor Company: MCPHS/Novartis
Function/Discipline: Clinical Quality Assurance
Fellowship Years: 2018—2020
Alma Mater: Ohio Northern University, Class of 2018
Having gone to school in the Midwest, industry wasn't on many people’s minds and it certainly wasn’t on mine. I interned at an independent compounding pharmacy and a hospital pharmacy, and always planned to become a clinical specialist at a hospital. After an internship in the Investigational Drug Service at Johns Hopkins Hospital, I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in clinical research that would enable me to deliver new treatment options to patients who needed them.
I discovered that I could most actively contribute to clinical research in the industry setting, and chose a fellowship in quality assurance because of my interest in protecting patient rights and designing safe processes and systems. Although I did not have industry-specific experience when applying for fellowships, I was able to demonstrate the value of the experience that I did have to obtain my fellowship position. My favorite fellowship memory has been hosting Friendsgiving and Christmas cookie decorating with my Novartis co-fellows!
Fellowship Sponsor Company: ECIR Medical Communications
Function/Discipline: Scientific Communications/Medical Affairs
Fellowship Years: 2018—2019
Alma Mater: Keck Graduate Institute School of Pharmacy, Class of 2018
I knew early on when I started pharmacy school that I wanted to pursue a career in industry. My interest was peaked when my pharmacy school provided a 10-day introduction to industry experience, giving me the opportunity to visit Amgen. I learned about the various roles that pharmacists in industry play and the global impact they make on patients and healthcare.
My coursework and industry experience through rotations helped me determine the areas of insdustry that interested me most. I leveraged my rotations, leadership experience gained through IPhO, and the network I built throughout pharmacy school to prepare for a fellowship.
While on rotations, I set up as many 1:1 meetings with individuals in different roles as possible, and always offered a helping hand so I could gain exposure to their day-to-day responsibilities. I took on several leadership roles, including my role with IPhO, to improve my public speaking skills as well as to learn from others. Finally (and importantly), I turned to my mentors for guidance and advice. Ultimately, I decided to pursue a fellowship in scientific communications/medical affairs to advance my skills and knowledge in pharmacy and expand my career options. As a current fellow, I am grateful for my role and being part of a supportive team and work environment that allows me to grow personally and professionally each day.
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.
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.
Fellowship Sponsor Company: PRI Healthcare Solutions
Function/Discipline: Medical Communications
Fellowship Years: 2018—2019
Alma Mater: St. John’s University, College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Class of 2018
Throughout pharmacy school, I always set my sights on the “bigger picture.” I felt that the knowledge I was acquiring could be used to benefit a larger group of people than just the patients I would see if I worked in a retail or hospital setting. I wanted to make a bigger impact by sharing the healthcare information I learned regionally, nationally, or even internationally. This desire sparked my interest in the pharmaceutical/medical communications industry.
After talking with former pharmacy students who shared their experiences with fellowships and industry, it became even clearer to me that pursuing this path would help satisfy my personal and professional aspirations. To better understand industry, I decided to select elective rotations in medical communications during my final year of pharmacy school. I learned all about the value of a pharmacist in the collaborative medical communications/ medical affairs field. Because of the experience gained during my rotation, I knew that pursuing a fellowship was the best next step for me.
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.
IPhO would like to thank Nina Johnson, New England Regional Student Officer and PharmD Candidate 2019, for leading the development of this valuable student resource.
The Rutgers Professional Industry Fellowship (RPIF) program will be hosting its annual Fellowship Information and Networking Day (FIND) on November 16, 2018. Hundreds of fourth-year pharmacy students from across the country attend this event to learn more about the nationally recognized fellowship program.
The event is broken down into three sessions: a didactic session, an information session and Q&A panel, and a networking session.
Members of the IPhO National Fellows Council (NFC) and leadership team have provided their FIND insight—including how to prepare for the fellowship application and interviewing processes—to help students make the most of their time at the event.
Fellowship Sponsor Company: USC/Allergan
Function/Discipline: Medical Affairs- Global Phase IV
Fellowship Years: 2018—2019
Alma Mater: University of Cincinnati, College of Pharmacy, Class of 2018
I knew I wanted to be a pharmacist at a young age. However, figuring out my niche in the field took some exploration. During my first year of pharmacy school, a pharmacist came to campus to speak and he introduced me to industry pharmacy. His talk sparked my interest and from there, I began to research more about what industry pharmacy was, types of fellowships available, and where I would fit best. Like many other schools, my college of pharmacy was better versed in information relating to residency or community pharmacy. It became my responsibility to discover what industry opportunities existed and to take advantage of them.
Fellowship Sponsor Company: MCPHS/Sanofi Genzyme
Function/Discipline: US Medical Affairs/Medical Science Liaison (MSL)
Fellowship Years: 2018—2020
Alma Mater: Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (ACPHS), Class of 2018
Like many pharmacy students, I did not enter pharmacy school with the goal of pursuing a career in industry. Although pharmacy school prepares students for several different careers, often the pharmaceutical industry and fellowship programs are left behind. I learned about industry through friends and past fellows and was able to secure two APPE rotations at Bayer and Sanofi Genzyme during my P4 year. In fact, I met my eventual Sanofi Genzyme APPE preceptor at an ACPHS IPhO networking event my P3 year, where she agreed to work with me as a student. Two years later, I am living in Boston as a Sanofi Genzyme fellow. Talk about a small world!
Fellowship Sponsor Company: United Therapeutics (UNC)
Function/Discipline: Clinical Research & Drug Development
Fellowship Years: 2018—2020
Alma Mater: University of the Pacific, Class of 2018
My pharmacy school had an accelerated program, which meant I completed the typical 4 year pharmacy curriculum in 3 years. Consequently, we had no summer breaks, so my industry knowledge was limited by not having the time to intern at a biopharmaceutical company.
I always believed that I would pursue a traditional career path through residency. However, all of that changed when I began working on a clinical trial, spearheaded by a professor at my school, and my interest in clinical research and industry grew immensely.
This opportunity, along with my involvement with IPhO, solidified my decision to pursue a career in industry. Obtaining a fellowship in clinical research was the next logical step for me.
I’m happy to have found a career path that combines my passion for novel research with the ability to apply my clinical knowledge. I look forward to all the new skills I’ll learn during my fellowship.