Stephanie Krogmeier is a director of Global CMC Regulatory Affairs Strategy at Vertex Pharmaceuticals. She received her Ph.D. in pharmaceutical chemistry from the University of Kansas in 2005.
Since beginning my career in the pharmaceutical industry nine years ago, I have learned a great deal about how success in graduate school can look different than success in industry. I have seen candidates who are excellent on paper not make it in the front door or fail to excel in the work place. So what can you do to avoid this? It is self-evident that graduate students need to excel technically, demonstrate intelligence in their chosen field, and develop sound problem solving skills. Other traits, such as integrity, confidence, and leadership are highly valued as well. But there are two essential qualities that shape graduate students into exemplary industry professionals: flexibility and attention to detail. These qualities go hand in hand to create a well-rounded candidate and are critical to success for the following reasons:
- The pharmaceutical industry is fast paced. A candidate who is rigid and unwilling to react to daily circumstances is difficult to work with.
- Innovation is a cornerstone of the pharmaceutical industry and flexibility demonstrates an ability to rise to this challenge.
- The pharmaceutical industry has diverse stakeholders across multiple departments, which requires a flexible and adaptable communication style.
- Attention to detail cannot be sacrificed in a fast-paced, challenging work environment, and a candidate needs to demonstrate that they can excel to the highest standards under these circumstances.
- Demonstrating the ability to process and address subtle details instills confidence in your abilities and will quickly translate to additional responsibilities and professional growth.
In summary, graduate students should not lose sight of these fundamental traits as they strive for excellence in their chosen fields.