What are your main responsibilities or activities in your current position?
I lead an international team developing novel therapeutic drugs and medical devices. I coordinate work activity, technical guidance on pharmacological methods, manage research projects and lead the development of effective new products. I also help guide the creation of new facilities required to manufacture these products.
How does your current work relate to your graduate degree?
The work I now perform is directly related to the knowledge and skills that I gained during graduate school. Apart from the excellent training provided by UBC's Department of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology, and Therapeutics, the most valuable skill I learned in grad school was how to expose myself to as many experiences and people in my field as possible. You never know when one person or event may be the springboard to achieve your dreams.
What do you like and what do you find challenging about your current position?
The thing I enjoy the most about what I currently do is being on the vanguard of drug research. This also means that I am always being challenged with some technical obstacle. It is very similar to the process of acquiring a PhD, except now there are direct commercial implications.
Is your current career path as you originally intended?
No, it is way better!
What motivated you to pursue graduate work at UBC?
It offered a mix of being a fantastic program in an equally fantastic city.
What did you enjoy the most about your time as a graduate student at UBC?
Getting to meet people from across the world and exploring the beautiful BC countryside.
What key things did you do, or what attitudes or approaches did you have, that contributed to your success?
Persistence. Not being scared to talk with anyone who would listen. Having a goal (even if a bit fuzzy) for my future dream job.
What is your best piece of advice for current graduate students preparing for their future careers?
Network, network, network with the people in your desired field or industry. They will be instrumental in helping you achieve your career goals.
Did you have any breaks in your education?
No breaks, I just plowed on through to finish as quickly as possible.
How did you find out about/obtain your current position?
It is very hard to describe because I chose a very unconventional path. Essentially, I chose a postdoc at UBC in order to give me some time to start a consulting company in Vancouver. This company grew and then merged into a larger biotech firm with help from a key contact I had retained from early in grad school. That experience allowed me to then join an international firm and help them with their continued expansion into other markets.
What challenges did you face in your graduate degree, or in launching your career?
Grad school is just a string of continuous obstacles and challenges that must be overcome in order to obtain a degree. This taught me that even when things seem overwhelming, I should not lose hope. For every problem, there is always a solution. I learned so much from my mistakes that I would not change anything.
How are jobs normally posted and filled in your organization or industry?
Although many job openings are posted online, the principal way to land a job like this is to show initiative and approach individuals directly if possible. Be persistent, talk with as many people as you can, and do not take rejection personally (it will happen A LOT).