29 Nov 2019 From a Degree to a Masters at IMU
Dave Ling has always dreamt of becoming a scientist, to invent new drugs which ends disease epidemic, such as AIDS and cancer, and getting himself a Nobel Prize. Currently, he is a Business Development Manager in Oncode, a molecular lab that offers cancer genetic profiling services. We managed to catch up with Dave recently and found out more about his journey to where he is now.
“Ever since I was young, I thought it would be cool to name a medicine after my name. I researched and found out that studying a pharmacy course allows me to explore multiple career options, including becoming a scientist. Besides, the pharmacy profession was in demand at that point of time (about 2009), so I decided to study pharmacy.
6 years ago, I have completed my Pre-University programme (STPM), it wasn’t easy to get into pharmacy programmes of a local university because the seats are limited and it requires top CGPA. So, I decided to study in a private university and attended an education fair. At the fair, I compared IMU to other higher learning institutions participating in this education fair in terms of the programmes they provide. This was when I found out that IMU Bachelor of Pharmacy (BPharm) particularly focuses on clinical knowledge and comprehensively covers other fields as well including industrial, retail and business, so I chose IMU.
Upon graduating from BPharm programme, I have ventured into industrial setting because I would like to try new things other than hospital and retail. I worked as a pharmacist in the Product Development Department in a local pharmaceutical manufacturing plant (Yung Shin Pharmacetuical, aka. YSP). My job scope was to source for possible new molecules/technology that could bring new health benefits to the Malaysian market, in other words, new business opportunities for the company.
Along my journey with YSP, I realised the importance of precision medicine / pharmacogenomics in the future of healthcare because more and more pharmaceutical companies are investing into targeted molecules to treat niche diseases.
I was seeking for a new hunting ground to fulfil my desire of learning, so I have left YSP and joined a precision medicine-based life science company, Oncode Scientific Sdn Bhd. This is a company which owns a laboratory that runs gene sequencing on human specimens to find out targeted treatment options for disease, mainly for cancer patients. With Oncode, I hold the position as a Business Development Executive, mainly doing field works which involves detailing about the diagnostic services to the oncologists and haematologists, there is also a sales target to achieve.
With scientific background and understanding of pharmacology as strong platforms, I have decided to venture into the commercial world. This is because in today’s rapidly changing world, the ability to change and seize new opportunities is more important than ever. I thought that this could be a chance for me to develop the necessary entrepreneurial abilities and to expand my career horizon. However, I find there is a huge knowledge gap in the understanding of cancer genetics and molecular biology, so I have chosen to enrol in a part-time study MSc in Molecular Medicine programme at IMU to fill up this gap.
IMU has provided me a platform to not only study but to learn and apply. We were provided the chances to develop soft skills and presentation techniques via PBL sessions, discussions and various group projects. On the other hand, thanks to the external courses arranged by IMU, I have obtained a wider perspective on all career options and on what I want to achieve in life.
During my master programme at IMU, the lecturers and supervisors have given me time flexibility and guidance for my research projects. As for what have been motivating me to juggle between work, study, friends and family and yet still meet my goals? The answer would be my parents. They have been fully supporting my studies financially and mentally. Thus, this has always been my motivation – to study hard and do well in my career, so that I am able to provide them with a good life.
IMU is always full of activities, campaigns and many interesting events. I had enjoyed joining these activities, so my student life was very contented and well balanced. During my degree, I was given the opportunity to be the Vice President of Pharmacy in the Student Representative Council in 2010. This has helped me to be more confident and has gained me networking and negotiation skills. I was also active in the Swimming Club, because it keeps me fit physically and distracted from unnecessary stress.
My academic certificates have guaranteed me a job but in order to progress inevitably in career, continuous learning is a must, whereas good communication and problem-solving skills are what makes you stand out from the others. With strong willpower, determination and healthy drive, I believe everyone can achieve their dreams”
Besides studies and work, Dave is active in KLPAC orchestra as the Principle of viola section and he had formed a music band to play for charity events. He is also working as a locum pharmacist, to maintain his pharmacist dispensing skill and obtain updates on new medications. During weekends, Dave enjoys working as a swimming coach.
Being ambitious, upon the completion of his MSc in Molecular Medicine in 2019, Dave will focus on completing his Thai language course in half a years’ time, and then proceed on to learn the Japanese language.