Mandeep works as a scientist at Pfizer Global R&D. He graduated with a degree in chemistry from the University of Nottingham in 2003.
I always enjoyed learning chemistry, and I knew that I would develop a broad range of skills by studying the subject at degree level that would be applicable to a variety of job roles. This comforted me greatly, as at that point in my life I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Nottingham University had a very good reputation for this particular course and I felt it was the right choice for me, having visited the campus prior to making my final decision.
During my degree, I developed my organisational, teamwork and communication skills. The analytical skills I developed during practical laboratory sessions have also proven to be highly relevant.
I chose a career as a scientist because I knew I wanted to use my core chemistry skills. I didn’t want three years of hard work to go down the drain! However, I wasn’t aware of just how many different areas in which I could apply my skills, from the confectionery industry through to household cleaning companies.
I used the Careers Service, especially during my final months at university. It was the perfect portal for obtaining the latest graduate recruitment guides and company information. I also utilised the department’s CV and job application review service, from which I got lots of great advice on how to make my application really stand out.
I got my first graduate job having seen an advertisement for analytical chemist positions, via the internet, at 3M Healthcare Ltd. Having researched the role, I completed an online application form and was invited to an assessment centre for a day of tests and interviews.
I am currently employed as a scientist at Pfizer Ltd, working on the development of inhaled drug products within an analytical group. I joined Pfizer in September 2004 as an associate scientist, and have seen my responsibilities and position within the group grow within the time that I have been there.
My main job role is to assess inhalation drug products in development for key parameters such as potency, impurities and performance. I work with the project team to design suitable experiments, and use a number of analytical and spectroscopic techniques to generate data upon which important decisions are based about the path for progression of the product. I also generate data which are included in regulatory filings for clinical trials. I regularly communicate with my formulation and device engineer colleagues, and therefore get to learn about all aspects of the development process for inhaled drug products. I have recently started to assess analytical tools for bridging invitro and invivo observations on inhaled products.
I don’t think my job role can be described by a typical day, as each day can vary greatly depending on the project I am working on, and the phase of development which the product is in.
I have received a vast amount of practical and theoretical training since leaving university; I am always learning something new! Specific training is required in all new techniques and equipment that I use. I have also received training in areas such as statistical design of experiments and pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics which have helped to enhance my role within the group.
I enjoy the variety that I get with my job and the fact that I am constantly learning new things, even after five years in the industry. I also like that my job role involves interactions with others in the pharmaceutical world, including clinicians, statisticians and engineers, all of whom offer a different insight into the industry.
For graduates considering this career area, I would definitely recommend getting some work experience in the industry whilst at university. Having been involved in the recruitment process in the pharmaceutical industry, I know that relevant experience is one of the first things that stand out on a CV. An understanding of the regulations that govern the pharmaceutical industry will also be beneficial, as it is a very different work environment in comparison to academia.
In order to progress in this field you need to be self motivated and work on your own initiative to find the opportunities that you want. Teamwork and communication skills are also key.
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