Kim – Communications Director

When I began my PhD in cancer sciences I was full of enthusiasm and adamant that a career in research was for me. However, I soon found that I was enjoying the theory much more than performing experiments, and had started to find laboratory work quite repetitive. Disappointingly, and contrary to my initial expectations, a lot of the time doing a PhD did not feel like a very intellectual pursuit, and I missed using my brain every day. By the penultimate year of my studies, I had come to accept the fact that life at the bench was not for me, and so started to research careers outside of academia. I heard about medical writing at a careers event and it soon became clear that, far from plugging away at the keyboard writing manuscripts all day, the role is very varied. After taking the opportunity to speak to the presenting medical writer, I made a speculative application to Oxford PharmaGenesis and, following a writing test and interviews, started work there a few months later.

Five years on, I definitely do not regret my decision. At Oxford PharmaGenesis, writers are involved in real projects from day one; and even in the early days, the company gave me the support that I needed to build on my existing skills as well as giving me the chance to develop in new areas, such as digital media. One thing that differentiates Oxford PharmaGenesis is that writers are encouraged to work through projects from start to finish and to build strong relationships with clients. This is a great way to make sure that we take responsibility for projects and really understand our clients’ goals and the aims of each individual project. For me, this was and is a big incentive to make sure that everything we deliver is of a very high standard and makes it even more rewarding when a project is completed successfully.

As writers progress, new opportunities arise. One option is to go down the principal writer route, developing extensive experience in medical communications. I was interested in taking on line management responsibilities, which has allowed me to become more involved with the resourcing and business development aspects of our work, and it has been very rewarding to see our team grow. Oxford PharmaGenesis allows people to play to their strengths whenever possible, and if someone wants to try a new initiative or gain experience in a certain field, everyone will do their best to make this happen. This policy has allowed me to work on a wide variety of deliverables, which has both helped me to progress and made my experience more relevant to many of our clients. Recently, I have been given the chance to get more involved with internal company strategy and policy, which has enabled me to learn more about the nuts and bolts of running a company and to provide input into how to adapt to the evolving field of medical communications. There is a real sense of career progression here and no shortage of opportunities to grow and develop.

I feel very lucky to have found a job I enjoy that allows me to continue learning and developing new skills. I would thoroughly recommend medical writing to PhD students or postdocs who have a passion for science and are looking for an alternative to a life of pipetting.