Why did you choose to study Biopharmaceutical Development?
I graduated from the University of Leeds in 2016 and decided to apply for laboratory-based jobs with companies such as Covance. It became clear quite quickly that although I had achieved a 1st in my degree, my industry experience was lacking.
I found out about the MSc Biopharmaceutical Development course in July 2016 and I applied straight away and started in September 2016. This Masters offers what is essentially training for industry which is what I needed to gain. Therefore, I chose to study on this course because it was offering me invaluable industry experience and teaching me, in detail, about every aspect of biopharmaceutical development from drug discovery through to commercialisation. Not only will I have gained industry experience (coincidently at Covance), but I will have gained knowledge way beyond my current understanding of the biopharmaceutical industry.
What do you enjoy about the course?
With this being the first year of this Masters course, I wasn’t sure how it would be taught and organised. I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find each module equally engaging and well-taught. Assignments seem daunting at first but the teaching style brings everything together, allowing you to see your own progress in understanding concepts and tackling problems. The teaching is very different to my undergraduate degree as there is a lot of self-teaching and research that you have to do independently. I particularly like this as it gives flexibility to assignments and gives you a chance to expand your knowledge in areas that you are particularly interested in.
What have been the highlights of the course so far?
A lot of the assignments revolve around team work and I have found this quite rewarding. A semester-long project was completed on developing a bio-better drug for Herceptin, which was challenging at times. A 45 minute presentation was given to members of biopharmaceutical companies in which we “pitched” our bio-better drug. This was an unusual assignment as I’d never done anything like it before, however my team worked really well together and we actually ended up with a pretty good bio-better idea.
What parts of the course are you looking forward to?
I am looking forward to starting the industry placement at the end of semester 2. I have never worked in an industry setting before and so don’t really know what to expect. However, as I wish to pursue a career in the biopharmaceutical industry, I am quite eager to get started and see what it’s really like.
What was your greatest challenge during the course so far and how do you think this course will benefit you in the future?
The greatest challenge has been keeping up with all of the assignments. It started off slow and then by the beginning of November, assignments were due almost every week. Although that might be seen like a negative aspect of this course, it is representative of the work-load that you would experience in industry.
This course will give me experience that not many others will have, that want to go into the biopharmaceutical industry. With the placement module aside, each taught module teaches me a different aspect to the drug development process. It’s unusual for a person to know about every step of the process in industry and so having this knowledge will put me in a very good position when it comes to applying for jobs.
What are your ambitions for the future? Do you have specific career plans?
Before starting this course, I wanted to be a research scientist either in oncology or neurobiology. Learning about the drug development process has opened my eyes to the different fields that are involved in developing a drug and I now have an interest in preclinical analysis for drug discovery. I still think that research is where I want to end up, but having experience in different areas will be invaluable. I haven’t personally visited the careers centre however, this course in itself is helping me to achieve my career goals.