Case study

Regulatory affairs associate — Kiran Chima

Kiran uses the expertise she gained from her medical science degree to make a difference to the lives of patients through the manufacture of medical devices

How did you get your job?

When I finished my degree, I was awarded a place on UK Trade and Investment's Sirius Programme, a start-up programme for businesses. I created a start-up called Kinesic and developed medical equipment with technology that transformed muscle activity into digital signals to produce movement.

I then worked in a couple of data analyst posts, before securing my current job working for a leading medical device manufacturer as a regulatory affairs associate.

What's a typical working day like?

I'm responsible for maintaining international regulatory requests for implant systems. Most of my day goes to keeping the products we have on the market and includes reviewing labelling, instructions for use and manufacturing changes, which can affect patient safety.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

What I do makes a difference to the lives of patients every day. My role contributes to innovation, clinical trials and ultimately what products are placed on the market. In addition, I enjoy working on a variety of projects internationally and it's a pleasure to work with colleagues from across the globe.

What are the challenges?

The most challenging aspect is meeting deadlines. There are often many projects and the deadlines can be at short notice depending on the task. Managing time well is important and including team members with the correct expertise early can help in achieving the deadline.

How relevant is your medical sciences degree?

Studying medical science widened my awareness of medical conditions and how they can be treated. My final year project covered a therapy for prostate cancer and I became interested in the next steps; clinical trials, product lifecycle and how we could measure the effects of a product on the patient.

On the course, I read lots of research journals and developed the ability to extract key points quickly. This now supports me in my role when I review marketing materials and test reports.

During my time at university I covered a variety of modules, and through this learned how to manage each workload at the same time. This was especially tough when I once had three essays and a presentation due in the same week.

What are your career ambitions?

Since joining the company, I've developed my experience by attending webinars and have taken on work projects of increasing responsibility. In my spare time, I attend courses to gain knowledge and conferences for new technologies. Through these experiences, I improve my interpersonal skills with colleagues, learn how to manage regulatory requests and handle challenging situations at work.

In the next few years, I aim to advance in my role and become an expert in my field. I would like to find the best solutions to the challenges of the new European medical device regulations and Brexit.

How could someone get into a medical science-related role?

Network at industry events - learn about the micro and macro factors affecting the industry and company you would like to work for. You'll be able to put your attendance of industry events on your CV.

Talk to people working in the companies that you're interested in to gain an insight into the roles available and projects on offer. Enquire about vacancies - you never know, those contacts could secure your next interview.

Learn the lingo so you can understand the terms and processes used in this line of work.

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