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BCMAS Program Review from a Director of Clinical Affairs

As I was going through the Board Certification in Medical Affairs program, I received a lot of inquiries from other physicians. One of the most common questions I received was, what happens to people who have taken the course. Where are they now, after having taken the course?

I was curious myself, so I went onto LinkedIn and typed in "BCMAS" and "Board Certified in Medical Affairs".

Then I reached out to individuals on LinkedIn who have BCMAS listed as part of their descriptions. I noticed that many of these certified individuals are currently in clinical affairs roles in some way.

This is a good sign for those of us taking the course because it means, people who took this course found jobs in medical affairs!

Or if they were already in medical affairs and took the course, it helped them do their job better.

One thing is certain, ALL of them are very impressive and dynamic individuals with extensive educational backgrounds! I was happy to find myself in the company of such awesome people.

 

The first individual who responded to my request to interview him about his experience from the BCMAS program is Dr. Corey Schuler. Dr. Schuler not only serves as the Director of Clinical Affairs for Integrative Therapeutics, but he has also been featured in several podcasts and spoken nationally at seminars and conferences on various topics involving nutrition and science.

Check out his experience with the BCMAS program here:

1. What is your background?

                          a. Advanced practice nurse
                          b. Nutritionist
                          c. Chiropractor
                          d. MBA

2. Why did you decide to take the BCMAS program?

I wanted a broad understanding of pharmaceutical and medical device industry from a medical affairs perspective.

3. What do you currently work as right now? Are you in the pharmaceutical industry?

I am Director of Clinical Affairs for Integrative Therapeutics.

4. How long did it take you to complete the program?

 About 6 weeks

5. Did the program help you break into pharma? Or helped you find a job, or be contacted by recruiters that you would not have if you did not take the program?

I was already working in the industry.

6. If you work in industry right now, would you say the program helped prepare you for your role?

Certification has helped do things differently in my current job.

As a smaller biotech company, we did not have the same structure as far as how medical science liaisons and sales and regulatory all worked together.

After completing the BCMAS, it was clear to me that organization structure could improve how these units work together. I was able to implement changes to the structure.

We also developed SRDs more formally rather than on an as-needed basis and trained our MSL team differently in order to ensure compliance to regulatory environment.

7. Why do we need to take a program for pharma? Wouldn’t my education and experience already give me everything I need to know about pharma and I can learn on the job?

Learning on the job is important, but I think it is also important to learn if you are being taught best practices.

8. Did you get what you wanted out of the program?

Yes

9. Were there things about the program that surprised you once you started taking it?

It is very broad. In fact, it may be too broad. The case studies were helpful for learning though.

10. I am on the fence about enrolling in the program because I have enrolled in a lot of programs in the past and they didn’t really get me anywhere, what advice would you give to me?

I wouldn’t rely on it to “get you a job.” However, it is well recognized and certain hiring managers may see it as an advantage with all other variables equal between candidates.

11. What is the one advice you want those desiring to break into the pharma industry to know?

One of the greatest needs of medical affairs is content generation, whether that is internal or external content.

Developing a portfolio of technical writing is one solid approach as this can be presented during interviews. The other consideration is to network with others in medical affairs.

We are a unique fraternity in that we are clinically trained with an eye towards business. I have found that it is a welcoming network and you can learn a lot from those already doing the work.