While I am currently in a clinical role, I have been focusing on improving my skill set so I can one day make the transition to non-clinical roles, if I were to desire to.
Pharma has always been something in the back of my mind, so after extensive research into how to break into this industry, I decided to enroll in the Board Certification in Medical Affairs Specialist program (BCMAS).
Three years, before starting my current role as a medical director, I tried to enter into the pharmaceutical industry. It made perfect sense, I have an MD as my background and I live in an area with dozens of pharmaceutical companies. Not only that, I had several friends who were already in these companies who could do personal referrals for me.
I really thought that if I made the perfect resume, reached out to recruiters, and got personal referrals from friends at their companies, I'd be a shoe-in. On top of that, I took free online courses on every website I could find about "clinical research", patching together information to create a baseline knowledge.
But, I didn't know how difficult it would be to break into the role.
Not only that, I still actually had no idea what medical affairs actually entailed. Every recruiter I spoke to, asked me what experience in clinical research I had, and every job application asked for some type of clinical research experience.
No, research in the medical field did not count. It also did not matter that I had a medical background.
Things got so difficult, I even considered taking on an intern role to get the experience in the pharma industry. Even those roles were difficult to land and I was beaten out by undergraduates looking for internships in their last year of college.
Obviously, I did not know what I know now. That there is an accredited program to give you baseline gold standard knowledge in medical affairs.
I don't know where it was when it popped up, probably when I started looking into non-clinical roles and searched "MSL and medical affairs". After that, I read reviews about the program, listened to podcasts with people who had taken the course, and done a lot of research on the program.
I decided to take it for several reasons:
1) It is the ONLY program that is accredited, meaning it meets the highest quality and standard
2) 70% of the BCMAS graduates actually work in pharma right now
3) There's mentorship and help with obtaining a role as an MSL after completion of the program
4) You become part of a database for pharma companies recruiters to reach out to you for open positions
5) You get CME
6) It is entirely online and self-paced so you can do it while you have your current job (perfect for me with my full-time job, while making my transition into non-clinical roles)
7) It's affordable at 1,999 dollars (my annual conferences I go to are 1,000 for registration alone)
So my plan is to take this course, become board certified, fix up my resume, reach out to recruiters, and apply to pharma companies again.
I will take you along every step of the way.
I'm excited this time around because I know, I will actually be prepared and a better candidate with this program experience.
I'll see you in the next post, when I start the first module!