27 Apr 2021 A Challenging Yet Rewarding Career Pathway for an IMU Pharmaceutical Chemistry Alumnus

IMU alumnus, Danny Tan Hock Siang (PC112), started his studies in Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the International Medical University (IMU) in 2012. Upon graduation, he had the opportunity to work as a product specialist in Mundipharma. Currently, he has secured a position as key account manager in 3M Malaysia. Danny tells us more about his IMU journey and his working life after graduating from IMU.

“After graduating from A-Levels, I was clueless on what to pursue next for my degree but there is always a passion in me whereby I have interest in exploring the field of chemistry.

That was when, I came across the BSc (Hons) in Pharmaceutical Chemistry programme at IMU, a 3-year programme accredited by Royal Society of Chemistry. During my three years in this programme, I have learned so much about pharmaceutical-related courses such as pharmacology and pharmacokinetics module, and are currently benefiting from it, in my career now.

After my graduation in IMU, I am well equipped with both knowledge and interpersonal skills, as students were given opportunities and platforms to present their work and ideas during presentations and PBL sessions. In addition to that, I was also given the opportunity as an assistant batch representative for two semesters, thus allowing me to develop my soft skills such as responsibility and leadership skills. It had been an enjoyable and my fondest moment during my time in the university especially with the presence of supportive classmates and lecturers. I even made good friends with some of my lecturers during my time in IMU. With their help and dedication in teaching as well as guiding, it makes the classroom experience both educational and fun!

When it comes to my career path, it has been fortunate that I was an IMU graduate as the degree and the fame of the university carry weight in securing my first job as a product specialist in Mundipharma right after my internship in Novartis. I chose to be a product specialist or also known as medical sales representative because I like to communicate and interact with people and at the same time, have high enthusiasm in detailing pharmaceutical products to healthcare professionals such as doctors, nurses and pharmacists. To be honest, I have so much more confidence and knowledge in detailing to them because I understand how the products or drugs works in and out of the body.

It is also an honor to bring good quality of life towards patients and consumers from the products we introduced. I even have the opportunity of my lifetime to organise and lead a huge continuous medical education (CME) symposium for doctors from all over the states in Malaysia.

Being a product specialist could be a challenging pathway but at the same time is rewarding too! It was a 4-year journey as a product specialist before I ventured to key account management in Mundipharma for a year followed by a year in RB Health and now as key account manager in 3M Malaysia. In 3M, I have been given ample exposure in handling trade pharmacy sales, demand planning, key account negotiations as well as continuing my role as a professional educator to pharmacists on our consumer health products which would improve people’s quality of life.

It had been a great and wonderful journey during my time in IMU for preparing me to be who I am today. I would like to thank every Pharmaceutical Chemistry lecturer for the efforts, patience and care towards me and my other classmates too. Special thanks to Dr Lipika Chatterjee for being the first lecturer to encourage and support me to pursue my role in the medical sales line and Dr Cheong Kok Whye for approaching me to do this write-up.

Some words to my juniors in the Pharmaceutical Chemistry programme:
There are moments where you feel that you are down especially during this time with the Covid-19 pandemic where most of the courses have moved online or to e-learning but remember life always change and things will get better! Adaption is a vital part of a response to the challenge. It will take some time but surely you guys will be able to do it and believe in yourself!

On your career path in the future, do take some time to reflect when you are about to graduate on what you wish to do or keen to explore. As for myself, I never thought that I will be a product specialist but nevertheless I have no regrets and have been enjoying my role thus far which drives me to go further. Most important tips from me will be to go and explore, go for part-time roles (if only you can manage to balance your studies, working and resting time) and understand the role of different departments during your internship period – these will definitely give you a good insights on what you wish to become. Cheers!”

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