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How to Break Into the MSL Role

Learn the secrets of success from hundreds of MSLs and Managers.

If you are struggling to break into the MSL profession and aren’t sure why, this program will guide you step-by-step on what it takes to successfully break in.

Even for highly qualified candidates, becoming a Medical Science Liaison is a challenging endeavor!

It’s nearly impossible to achieve on your own without the proper preparation and guidance.

This one of a kind 15 hour program will guide you, step by step, how to successfully search for, apply, interview, and ultimately land your first MSL role. The program reveals how to address your lack of MSL experience, strategies for standing apart from the competition, what MSL hiring managers look for when considering candidates, and what gets the right candidates hired.

This eLearning Program is based on the following 

Amazon #1 Bestseller The Medical Science Liaison Career Guide: How to Break Into Your First Role

The Amazon #1 Bestseller The Medical Science Liaison Career Guide: How to Break Into Your First Role book has received over 170 5-Star Amazon Reviews and helped countless aspiring MSLs launch their careers. The information provided in the original publication has been updated for this program.

Insights from 185 MSL Hiring Managers

The MSL Society conducted the first-ever global MSL hiring survey in which 185 MSL Managers participated and responded to 39 questions related to what they are looking for in MSL Candidates including: appropriate length of CV, most relevant information on CV, the importance of cover letters, reasons for not moving a candidate forward in the phone and in-person interviews, behavioral-style interviews, qualities they look for, and a presentation checklist.

22 Interviews with 14 MSL Leaders

In addition to the multiple techniques you will learn throughout the program, you will also learn from 14 MSL hiring managers and MSL recruiters who have volunteered their time to participate in the program to share their insights, tips, and advice for aspiring MSLs over the span of 22 interviews. These leaders provided their perspectives on the topics covered in each module.

Here’s What You’ll Learn 

This first-ever self-paced online eLearning training program will teach you exactly what you need to do to successfully break into the highly competitive Medical Science Liaison career!

Understand what 185 MSL Hiring Managers want and look for in successful applicants
What is an MSL and what is the purpose of the role?
What does an MSL do and what are the typical activities of MSLs?
How to effectively network with MSLs and hiring managers
How to format and what to include in your CV so it gets noticed by MSL hiring managers
How to succeed in each step of the interview process including virtual interviews
How to address and overcome your lack of MSL experience
How hundreds of MSLs broke into their first role
How to research the role, companies and hiring managers
Why most applications get rejected and what you can do about it
What salary to expect as a new MSL
How to effectively work with recruiters and understand contract MSL organizations

PLAY SAMPLE CONTENT FROM THIS PROGRAM

Here’s what some MSLs that we helped break into their first MSL role are saying about our training programs 

Dillon Muth, DVM, PhD

Medical Science Liaison at Adaptive Biotechnologies Corp.

Research and network your way into the MSL role

When first researching the MSL role, I did a deep dive and poured through Samuel Dyer’s book: “The Medical Science Liaison Career Guide: How to Break Into Your First Role”. I was hooked and quickly realized becoming an MSL was the correct career path for me, following completion of my clinical and research degrees. I joined the MSL Society once I had my mind made up, and began doing as much research and networking as I could.

When I saw the MSLS was conducting a Webinar with actual hiring managers from major pharmaceutical companies and was being facilitated by Dr. Dyer, I did not hesitate to sign up for that as well and I was not disappointed… I would recommend any aspiring MSL to spend the time attending and take advantage of this program.

Bernadette Mamone, PhD

Senior Medical Science Liaison at Eisai US

Determination & Persistence Gets The Job

BIG Thank you to Dr. Samuel Dyer, Heliana Sula and Jeffry Kraemer for this extremely valuable training which immediately led me to pursue my first MSL role! Do you know what an MSL actually does & what are the basic fundamentals of this role & how you can successfully break in? You will find all your answers during the training and this is the ONLY training which can truly prepare you not just to succeed during the interviews, it also helps you to thrive as an MSL!

“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.” – I can highly recommend everyone to be determined, persistent, look for the best MSL job description which describes you & your current skills then for sure you will succeed just like I did. I DID IT!

Tiama Chaar, PhD, MSL-BC

Sr. Oncology MSL at AAA/Novartis Company

It’s great breaking in with the necessary knowledge

Thank you Samuel! It is indeed great to break into the first role with a lot of knowledge about the job and many tips on how to move forward.. Am also very happy to know that our feedback is motivating other candidates to attend the training and to see that their impression and feedbacks are even are greater than the one we had in our training!!!
Congrats to all 🙂

What’s Inside This Program?

This comprehensive training program includes 10 modules and 22 interviews with 14 MSL Hiring Managers and Recruiters covering every aspect of applying and interviewing for the MSL role.

Within and at the end of each module, there are several assessment questions of newly acquired knowledge on the topic covered. These assessments will help you master the material and in doing so, increase your chances of breaking into your first MSL role.

Overview - What is a Medical Science Liaison?
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  • What to expect and how to use the program
  • What to expect on your journey to becoming an MSL
  • Defining the MSL role and who is a suitable candidate
  • How and why the MSL role is crucial to the success of a company
The MSL Role: Past, Present, and Future of the MSL
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  • The history, evolution, and future of the MSL role
  • What is an MSL and what is their primary purpose
  • What is a KOL and their importance
  • The most common terms for Medical Science Liaisons and Key Opinion Leaders
  • Regulations related to pharma (OIG, etc.)
  • The importance of the OIG Guidelines on the MSL role
  • Reporting structure of MSL teams
  • What MSLs do (typical activities of MSLs)
  • Guidelines for MSL activities
  • The typical academic background of MSLs in the U.S. and globally
  • MSL/KOL Scientific exchange and education
  • The growth and expansion of the MSL Role over the next few years
  • MSL hiring managers’ experience and willingness to hire aspiring MSLs
  • Interviews with MSL hiring managers
The MSL Role: MSLs Discuss How They Got Started
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  • Success factors for breaking into the MSL role (based on multiple surveys)
  • Global survey results from hundreds of MSLs reveal:
  • The typical academic background of NEW MSLs (with less than one year of MSL experience) in the U.S. and globally
  • Most successful sources to find MSL roles
  • MSL salary expectations for new MSLs
  • How long it typically takes to break into the MSL role
  • The average time required to break into your first MSL role
  • Average number of roles interviewed for prior to breaking in
  • The importance of networking
  • The importance of demonstrating knowledge of the company and/or company product(s) during the interview process
  • The importance of demonstrating effective communication and/or presentation skills
  • MSL managers reveal how long the typical MSL interview and hiring process lasts
  • Interviews with MSL hiring managers
MSL Job Search Strategy: The Importance of Research
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  • The importance of researching the role, the industry, and companies, before applying to MSL roles
  • The 4 keys to successful research in order to break into the MSL role
  • What managers expect and how to demonstrate knowledge of the company and company product(s) during the interview process
  • How to integrate knowledge of company products into your interview answers
  • The MOST common reasons that prevent MSL hiring managers from moving an applicant forward in the hiring process
  • How to define, identify, and research target companies
  • The best online resources to help you understand and research the pharmaceutical industry and companies
  • Key information you need to know and be able to discuss with a hiring manager about a company and their product(s)
  • Interviews with MSL hiring managers
MSL Job Search Strategy: Professional Networking
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  • Understand how networking is an essential component of any successful MSL job search
  • Identify strategies to network online
  • How to use social media to build and communicate with your MSL network
  • How to use LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to build an online presence
  • How to network as an aspiring MSL
  • What works and what does not
  • Passive vs active networking
  • MSLs reveal how networking was important to their success and how aspiring MSLs should network
  • How to maximize your efforts of networking
  • Goals for networking with MSLs and managers
  • Most effective ways and how to approach MSLs and managers to network with
  • What sources MSL managers utilize most to obtain applicants for MSL positions
  • Platforms that MSL managers utilize to review and evaluate MSL applicants
  • How often MSL managers use social media to research/evaluate applicants
  • How to effectively use LinkedIn, create a profile, network with MSLs and managers and mistakes to avoid
  • Strategies for using Twitter, creating an appropriate professional profile, network with MSLs and managers and researching target companies
  • How to use Facebook to search for jobs or for professional networking and four options for maximizing its impact and mistakes to avoid
  • Techniques on using other tools including google, blogs, discussion forums, publishing articles, YouTube to increase your chances
  • Interviews with MSL hiring managers
MSL Job Search Strategy: Crafting the Perfect CV and Cover Letter
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  • The essential elements that a qualified MSL CV must possess
  • The 3 primary reasons an MSL CV is rejected
  • The importance of and how to match your MSL CV to the employer’s needs
  • What MSL managers think is the most relevant/important information on a CV/Resume
  • What MSL managers think is the appropriate length for an MSL
  • How to use keywords and which keywords to include on your CV
  • How to structure and format an MSL CV, what sections to include and what NOT to include
  • Do’s and don’ts for each section of an MSL CV
  • How to list relevant disease state experience, accomplishments and other key information
  • An MSL CV template you can use
  • How to improve the chances that your CV will not be immediately eliminated
  • What mistakes to avoid when writing an MSL CV
  • The 3 successful strategies to get past an applicant-tracking software to increase your chances that your CV will land in front of an MSL hiring manager
  • The importance of a cover letter and when to use one according to MSL hiring managers
  • Guidelines for formatting an MSL cover letter
  • Do’s and don’ts for each section of an MSL cover letter
  • How a cover letter can be used as a way to distinguish yourself
  • Interviews with MSL hiring managers
MSL Hiring Process: The Phone Screen and The Phone Interview
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  • The primary purpose of the phone screen
  • What to expect during a phone screen
  • How a phone screen is different with someone at a company vs a recruiter
  • Typical questions you will be asked and the questions that you should ask during a phone screen
  • Recommendations on how to prepare for the phone screen
  • Successful MSLs reveal the importance of researching the individuals, the company, and the company’s pipeline that the MSL position supports prior to the phone screen/interview
  • Tips for effective communication during the phone screen
  • How to effectively end a phone screen
  • The primary purpose of the phone interview
  • What to expect during a phone interview
  • MSL hiring managers reveal on average, how long they typically speak to an applicant during a phone interview
  • Differences in format between the phone screen and phone interview
  • The importance of preparation and tips for effective communication skills during the phone interview
  • Strategies for a successful phone interview
  • MSL managers reveal a very important quality they expect applicants to demonstrate during a phone or in-person interview (often overlooked by aspiring MSLs)
  • Typical questions you will be asked and the questions that you should ask during a phone interview
  • The difference between traditional and behavioral style interviews
  • MSL hiring managers reveal how often they use behavioral style questions
  • MSL hiring managers reveal the most common reasons that prevent an applicant from being invited for an in-person interview
  • Essential tips to effectively end a phone interview
  • Successful MSLs reveal how often they write a “Thank You Letter”
  • The importance of the “Thank You Letter” according to MSL hiring managers
  • Guidelines and template on how to format a “Thank You Letter”
  • Interviews with MSL hiring managers
MSL Hiring Process: The In-Person Interview
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  • The primary purpose of the in-person interview
  • MSL Managers reveal how many applicants are typically selected for the in-person interview
  • How to prepare for the in-person interview
  • Who you will typically interview with (not just the hiring manager)
  • What to expect during an in-person interview
  • The typical process of the in-person interview
  • What interviewers will be evaluating
  • The typical length of each interview during the day
  • MSL hiring managers reveal who ultimately decides if an applicant will be offered a position
  • Typical questions you will be asked and the questions that you should ask during an in-person interview
  • MSL hiring managers reveal how important it is for an applicant to demonstrate strong presentation skills when making a hiring decision and how to prepare
  • Strategies to prepare for and be successful during an in-person interview
  • MSL hiring managers reveal how often applicants are required to deliver a scientific presentation and the topic of the presentation during the interview
  • MSLs reveal how often they were required to give a presentation during the interview process
  • MSLs reveal the typical length of the interview presentation
  • Tips for a successful interview presentation
  • The most common mistake to avoid when creating the interview presentation
  • Guidelines on what to wear during the interview
  • Strategies to prepare for and be successful during virtual interviews
  • Best practices to follow before and during the in-person interview
  • MSL managers reveal a very important quality they expect applicants to demonstrate (often overlooked by aspiring MSLs)
  • MSL hiring managers reveal the most common reasons that prevent them from moving an applicant forward in the hiring process during the in-person interview
  • Essential tips to effectively end an in-person interview
  • MSL hiring managers reveal the importance of receiving a “Thank You Letter” after an interview
  • Guidelines for when to send a “Thank You Letter”
  • 10 tips for successfully preparing for a virtual MSL interview
  • How to effectively handle 4 common unexpected scenarios encountered during virtual interviews
  • Interviews with MSL hiring managers
MSL Hiring Process: The Offer and Salary Expectations
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  • What to expect during the offer stage
  • How to respond to a verbal offer
  • The components and details of the typical written offer
  • Factors that are utilized in determining what starting salary you will be offered
  • Researching MSL salaries utilizing accurate and reliable sources
  • MSLs reveal the starting salary for experienced and NEW MSLs
  • MSL hiring managers reveal how often the base salary offered to an applicant is negotiable
  • New MSLs reveal how many negotiated their most recent base salary offer
  • New MSLs reveal how much of an increase they gain by negotiating
  • 6 key steps to successfully negotiate a higher starting salary
  • The final job offer process
  • Interviews with MSL hiring managers
Working with Recruiters and Understanding Contract MSL Roles
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  • New MSLs reveal how many found their first role through a recruiter
  • Understand how MSL recruiters work
  • How to work with MSL recruiters
  • Understand contract MSL organizations and contract MSL roles
  • How to work with a contract MSL organization
  • Interviews with recruiters and a contract MSL organization leader

MSL Leaders and Recruiters Featured In This Program

Samuel Dyer, PhD

CEO and Chairman

JR Rizkallah, MD, MSL-BC

Director MSLs

Judith Vensak, MS, MBA

Field Medical Team Director

Elizabeth Kupferer, PhD

Regional Director, MSLs

Ralph Rewers, PharmD

National MSL Director, Anti-Infectives/HCV/Virology

Davida White, MD

US Oncology Field Medical Alignment Director

Ellen Shannon, PhD, RN, MSL-BC

US Head of Medical Affairs

Linda Traylor, PhD, MSL-BC

Vice President, Clinical Development & Medical Affairs

Belinda Gist, PhD

Director, Medical Affairs Learning & Development

Cherie Hyder, PharmD, MSL-BC

Medical Excellence Lead

Larry Dollar, PharmD, MS, MSL-BC

VP of Medical Affairs

Susan Giacalone, MSN, MSL-BC

Senior Director, External Research & Medical Strategies

Tom Caravela

Medical Affairs and MSL Recruiter

Mary Morton

Director of Recruiting

Stacey Benefiel

Senior VP, Global Medical Affairs

3 additional unique benefits included in this program!

Live Q/A with MSL Hiring Managers

Program participants will be able to attend one live program and ask any questions you want to 2 – 3 different managers.

These managers will share what makes a candidate successful, and what does not. They will provide their perspective on what it takes to successfully break into your first role and what they are looking for in a successful candidate.

This is a unique opportunity to ask ALL your personal questions directly to MSL hiring managers and gain immediate feedback!

CV Template

There are essential elements that a qualified MSL CV must possess before it’s ever even considered by HR or an MSL hiring manager.

A downloadable CV template with these essential elements is included as an additional feature in the program to help increase the chances of standing out and being noticed. This template will help you create the perfect CV that helps you highlight your relevant background and match your experience to the role.

In the program, you will learn what MSL hiring managers look for when reviewing a CV and what the most common mistakes are to avoid.

Official Certificate of Completion

All participants who complete the program will be awarded an official certificate of completion from the MSL Society that can be added to their CV and LinkedIn profile.

This is an excellent way to demonstrate to hiring managers and HR your gained level of knowledge.

Here’s what MSL Leaders are saying about our training programs

Jonathan Anderson, MD, PhD

Regional Head of Medical Affairs, Asia Pacific, Seqirus

…The MSL Society recently ran a three-day workshop for our Medical Affairs team, a mixture of infield and office roles (who also go in the field). The program was well-received with a feedback rating of 4.38/5 for “the program will help me work more efficiently or effectively in my role” where 5 strongly agrees. Most valuable learnings for the team were practical considerations for KOL engagement planning, insights capturing and sharing, structured processes to help decision making and effective KOL calls, clear communication tips, consistent terminology, and importance of preparation. The workshops had a good mix of discussion and information provision with a focus on immediate learnings that could be incorporated into real-life examples. Samuel has strong presentation and moderation skills and brings an immense amount of energy and passion that kept the energy high in the room throughout.

Belinda Gist, PhD

Director, Medical Affairs Learning & Development, Kite Pharma, a Gilead Company

The MSL Society is a tremendous training partner. The team is an expert at developing and delivering relevant, specific, and applicable learning opportunities for our MSL and Medical Affairs colleagues. Because of their complete integration into the MSL community, the MSL Society also always keeps the MSL needs at the center of the training and takes great effort to ensure that the topic or skills are going to be applicable in the field and improve the quality and value of KOL interactions.

Elizabeth Kupferer, PhD

Regional Director, MSLs, Novartis

The Medical Science Liaison Society provides a great deal of up to date, pertinent and valuable resources (written, WebEx, live events) for Medical Science Liaisons (MSL), MSL Managers, Medical Affairs leadership as well as those wanting to enter into the MSL role. The Society pulls upon a vast amount of clinical experience from the members as well as a strong advisory board of experts in the field. Dr. Samuel Dyer brings to the table a strong career background that includes the development and training of MSL teams. Live and WebEx training for MSL candidates is extremely well received and feedback is very positive. I feel the MSL Society would be a great choice for an MSL onboarding program.

Learn What It Takes To Break In!

This program includes exclusive insights from 185 MSL Hiring Managers on what they look for in a successful candidate. This information has never been published!

Each module includes interactive content, 22 recorded interviews with MSL hiring managers and recruiters, and assessments to test your knowledge.

Throughout the 15 hours of the program, you will gain insights on how to address your lack of MSL experience, successfully prepare, craft the perfect CV, interview, and ultimately break into your first MSL role!

* Student level membership required. Join Now!

* Professional or Organizational level membership required.

* This price includes a 1-year Professional level membership which will be activated upon purchase of the program.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do I have access to the program?

You will have access to this eLearning Program and all materials for one full calendar year from the day you register.

Is there a limit to the number of questions I can ask during the live Q/A session with MSL Hiring Managers?

No, there is not limit on questions, however, questions should be focused on the MSL role, hiring process, etc. Keep in mind not all questions may be answered live during the event. If this is the case, we will reach out to you following the session to answer these questions.

What is the difference between a certificate and a certification?

A certification is often confused with a certificate, which is often promoted as certification. However, there are key differences between the two. The primary purpose of a certificate program is to simply provide training.

In contrast, the primary purpose of a certification is to assess and evaluate one’s acquired knowledge, skills, and competencies related to a particular role. Another key difference is that after an individual passes a certification, they will be awarded a professional credential that will be recognized and used to highlight their certified status.

A credential is awarded following an advanced level examination that follows rigorous exam development protocols and standards which is psychometrically validated.

Furthermore, unlike a certificate program which is typically a one-time training, certifications have routine requirements over time which must be met in order to maintain the credentials.

According to the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE), certificate programs and certification programs are designed to meet different needs.

When will I receive the Official Certificate of Completion?

Upon completing all the course modules, passing the final assessment with a minimum score of 70%, and completing the course evaluation, an official Certificate of Completion will be issued by the MSL Society immediately.

How often are the live Q/A sessions with MSL hiring managers scheduled?

These will be scheduled as frequently as needed but likely will be scheduled at least quarterly.

How do I display the certificate of completion?

You can display the Certificate of Completion on your CV and LinkedIn Profile by simply stating the program under “Licenses & Certifications”.

Name: “Breaking Into the MSL Career”

Issuing Organization: “Medical Science Liaison Society”

Credential ID:

Credential URL: “https://www.themsls.org/breaking-into-the-msl-career/”

Can I attend multiple Q/A sessions with MSL Hiring Managers?

No. Program participants will be only be allowed to attend one live Q/A session. During the session you can ask any questions you want to 2 – 3 different managers.

How can I submit questions for the MSL hiring managers participating in training?

You may submit questions during the registration process, as well as throughout Q/A session. Please note: not all questions may be answered live during the event. If this is the case, we will reach out to you following the program to answer these questions.

How do I enroll in the live Q/A sessions with MSL hiring managers?

Program participants will receive an email with a link to register for the next upcoming scheduled live Q/A session. Program participants will only be allowed to attend one live Q/A session.

Will this program really help me break into the MSL career?

Although we can not guarantee this program will help you break into the MSL career, it will certainly increase your chances because the information taught in this program is not available anywhere else and is facilitated by those that have actually managed and hired MSLs.

The aspiring MSL training programs offered by the MSL Society work!

In fact, over the last few years we have helped launch hundreds of MSL careers. For inspiration, here are over 115+ MSL careers we have helped launch.

CEO

A personal note from Dr. Samuel Dyer

Before considering enrolling in this program or any other, it’s important to understand that you absolutely do NOT need to spend any amount of money in order to break into the MSL career!

You can definitely break into the MSL career on your own through a lot of research, networking, preparation and persistence. However, our goal with this program, through unique resources, data, and insights from 15 MSL leaders who have actually hired, managed, and interviewed MSLs, is to significantly reduce the learning curve, time, and frustration the typical aspiring MSL experiences when trying to break in.