Career Story: Medical Education Manager For A Pharmaceutical Company

Medical Education Manager For A Pharmaceutical Company

Job Title: Senior Manager Medical Education And Meetings

Type of Company: I work for a major biopharmaceutical company.

Education: AS, Medical Laboratory Technology •• BA, English (major) and Allied Health (minor) •• MA, Technical and Professional Writing

Previous Experience: I started work in a hospital lab. After getting my bachelor's I took a job in the marketing department of a medical diagnostics company. I went back to school and earned my master's and took a job in corporate communications at a medical diagnostics company. When my job moved to New York, I took the severance package and worked as a freelance medical writer for five years. I decided to go back to work in industry to gain pharmaceutical experience, starting out as a medical writer, but did not enjoy writing in a corporation as much as I did freelance. I saw an opportunity to try something different and ended up managing scientific education programs and later scientific education grants.

Job Tasks: I review grants that come in through the on-line grant system and schedule monthly grant reviews with the medical director and legal and finance representatives (grant committee).

After the grant committee decides which grants will be approved and declined I notify the grant submitters of their decision. I process all the paperwork needed to get checks for the approved grants and mail them out when I get them. I also manage the budget for the grants. This involves creating a budget for each quarter, estimating how much we will need based on past years' activities. We plan 16 months out.

In addition, I ensure that the medical affairs department has booth space for major meetings. I work with vendors to design panels and collateral materials for the booths. I manage the budget for these meetings as well. This involves looking ahead and letting the finance department know a year in advance what I believe I am going to need for funds to support the activities scheduled.

If we supported a symposium for a conference with a grant, I attend the symposium and provide the business unit with a summary of the event and my impressions.

I also help with advisory boards by developing slides, attending the meetings and summarizing the outcomes. These advisory boards are held so that we can hear what the people who use our products think of them and learn what kinds of information they'd like or need -- more clinical trials, more pharmaco-economic analyses, etc.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best and worst part of my job is managing the budget. There are so many things to keep track of that it is like a big puzzle and getting all the pieces to fit feels great. However, a small miscalculation or one piece of missing data can have a significant impact on the business. But ensuring accuracy can be stressful.

The job also involves travel, which many people love. I have traveled often for jobs and it has lost its appeal for me. I try to travel less than 2-3 times each quarter and prefer to be gone no more than two nights. But for those who like to travel it would be considered one of the better parts of the job.

Job Tips: Just try to get your foot in the door. Getting a job in pharma can be difficult. Be willing to start anywhere and then do your job to the best of your ability so when another job of more interest comes along your boss will give you a great reference. All good companies encourage their best employees to seek opportunities for growth.

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