5 Steps to Becoming a Pharmaceutical Product Manager
As a pharmaceutical product manager, you will be responsible for the coordination and overseeing of every element of medical products. This starts with funding new research to advertising new products to the market. This means that, in order to excel in this job, you will not only have to be a managerial expert, but also have knowledge in science. Let’s take a look, therefore, at the five broad steps you will need to take in order to become a pharmaceutical product manager.
1. Start with an Undergraduate Degree
First of all, you need to look into gaining an undergraduate degree. Although this is just the first step, it is also the most important one, as it what will greatly determine how the rest of your career will develop. It is important, therefore, to choose something that is broad enough to give you a range of different career options, while being specific enough to allow you to demonstrate you have the required skills and knowledge. As a result, you could choose such things as a science (chemistry or biology for instance), management or even chemical engineering. If you do choose something with a business major, try to take scientific elective courses as well. For instance, you may want to consider an engineering management or biotech degree.
2. Get Internship Experience
As you are studying towards your bachelor’s degree, it is likely that you will have to complete an internship for your degree. Even if this is not a requirement, you may want to consider taking part in one anyway, as this will give you important real life experience. Additionally, it is an opportunity to network with potential future employees as well as employers if you continue on to become a manager. Indeed, it is quite common for those who are on an internship to find a permanent position within that same company, and then climb the corporate ladder within that organization.
3. Get a Graduate Degree
After you have completed your bachelor’s degree and have obtained a number of years work experience, you should consider studying towards a master’s degree as well. This is not a requirement for most positions, but it will certainly give you an edge in this competitive world. Additionally, the pharmaceutical industry is following suit with the regular healthcare industry in trying to only attract highly educated people. Hence, having a master’s degree is more and more frequently a requirement for the job. Additionally, it is a very good idea to try and sell yourself to your current employer, who may be interested in funding your master’s degree for you.
4. Try to Become Group Leader
Once you have worked for a number of years and have gained a lot of real world experience, you may end up being promoted to a group leader position. This may take quite a lot of time to achieve, but you should continuously try to sell yourself and always ask to be put forward for these positions. If you ask to be allowed to take the lead on a certain short term project, for instance, it will give you the opportunity to showcase your skills and advance your career. Once you do become involved in a project, make sure that you take a lot of initiative, and that you can demonstrate organizational skills. The goal is to come up with brand new ideas for projects, thereby demonstrating that you have received the necessary training and have developed the required skills to be a great product manager.
5. Never Stop Learning
Finally, you must be fully committed to your own continuous personal and professional education. Whenever possible, you should take part in trade conferences and other classes specific to the pharmaceutical industry. It is a rapidly growing field of work and you will only be able to be the best pharmaceutical product manager if you are also able to demonstrate that your skills and knowledge are fully up-to-date. Additionally, you should become a member of such groups like the ISPE (International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineers).
Finally, here are a few things to think about in terms of your overall career. Firstly, after three to five years in one position, you should start looking for jobs higher up the ladder with different organizations. This will widen your opportunities and experiences. Secondly, remember that you will only be promoted if you tell your employer that you want to get promoted. They must be aware of you. Lastly, always make sure that you have excellent writing skills. As a pharmaceutical product manager, you will have to write regular reports for other top level executives and these have to be of high quality, and easy to read and understand.