Dr. Yishan Chuang & Dr. Christiane Carney Explain How an MSL Can Be Successful in Their First Year

Dr. Yishan Chuang & Dr. Christiane Carney Explain How an MSL Can Be Successful in Their First Year

1.What are 2 ways that an MSL can have a great start to their MSL career?

Our talk will highlight several different strategies to facilitate a smooth start to your first year as a new MSL as well as an experienced MSL starting a new role. 2 to keep in mind are first to identify the core value added as an MSL for your organization. Second, to work smarter not necessarily harder when managing your time, travel and interactions.

2.Why is it important to capture success in your first year as an MSL?

It is always a good idea to come out strong when starting a new position, where your manager and colleague are building trust in your abilities. The first year sets a tone for your career trajectory.

3.Once this concept is mastered, what type of impact can an MSL have in the field?

You can start to bring value to the team as well as to the KOLs/thought leaders in your territory sooner. As you get to know your KOLs and their interest, you can begin to advocate on their behalf for partnership opportunities that align with your company’s goals.

Copyright 2013-2018 The Medical Science Liaison Society. All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without prior written authorization. The MSL Society is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization dedicated to advancing the global MSL career.

How to research a company prior to a Medical Science Liaison Interview

The key to successful interviewing is preparation. This preparation includes performing thorough research on the company that you will be interviewing with.  Too often MSL candidates seek to limit the research stage and as a result appear disinterested and uninformed during the interview process. Insufficient preparation can seriously jeopardize your chances of moving forward in the interview process and ultimately obtaining a job offer. 

Areas of Research

Many hiring managers and other interviewers will disqualify those candidates who don’t seem to have in-depth knowledge of the company and its products especially those that the MSL will be working with.  Your research should include:

  • What products the company manufactures or if it is big company its blockbusters?
  • What is the history, mission, and goals?
  • What is the company’s primary Therapeutic Area or Disease State focus?  Who are its primary customers?
  • Is the company a National company or does it maintain a global presence in its specific market or the Pharmaceutical Industry?
  • How large is the company in terms of the number of employees and revenue generated?
  • How is it positioned in the industry so that it differentiates itself from its primary competitors?
  • Who is the leadership team composed of? What are their backgrounds?
  • How does the company carry out corporate responsibility in terms of social and environmental issues?
  • Find out if the company is on the Fortune 500 list and where it is positioned?  Find out how it was positioned in the prior year and ask why the change?
  • Thoroughly researching a company will prepare you to be able to confidently and accurately respond to questions regarding these topics. There is a wide range of research tools that MSL Candidates can utilize to research a pharmaceutical/biotech/medical device company.

Tools for Research

  • The company’s website for its history, mission, marketed products, research pipeline, organizational structure, and staff bios.
  • Read any press releases as they will highlight current news, such as new product offerings or staff changes.
  • Review industry-based publications not only to obtain information regarding your target company specifically but to obtain the latest news related to industry trends and issues.
  • Use Google alerts to stay current with regard to company news.
  • Use social media to keep current on company and industry news.  Follow key decision-makers on Twitter and search for their profile on LinkedIn.  Use Linked In groups to establish a presence and build rapport with company and industry insider.

Online directories such as Bloomberg and Standard & Poor’s also provide financial and market data on many types of businesses.

Discuss the Research

At some point during almost every interview, you will be asked to describe how well you fit into the company culture and values, along with what you know about the company beyond the information contained on the company website. If you have performed sufficient research, this will give you an opportunity to potentially stand out from other less prepared candidates by allowing you discuss and share relevant responses to these questions. Taking the time to show interest in potential employers will likely result in their showing interest in you as well.

 

 

Copyright 2013-2018 The Medical Science Liaison Society. All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without prior written authorization. The MSL Society is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization dedicated to advancing the global MSL career.

 

Dr. Samuel Dyer is the Chairman of the Board of the MSL Society and the author of “The Medical Science Liaison Career Guide: How to Break Into Your First Role“, the first step-by-step guide ever published on how to successfully land your first MSL role.

What is a Medical Science Liaison?

The MSL is a therapeutic specialist (i.e. Oncology, Cardiology, CNS) within the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device, and CRO companies who have advanced scientific training and generally “terminal D” degrees in the life sciences (Ph.D., PharmD., M.D.).  It’s important to note that MSL’s are not sales reps and their function is very different.  The primary purpose of the MSL role is to be scientific or disease state experts for internal colleagues (sales and marketing), but more importantly for doctors in the Therapeutic Area of the Medical community in which they work (i.e. Oncology, Cardiology, CNS etc.).  The focus of the role has changed over the years, but the primary responsibility of the MSL role remains to establish and maintain peer-peer relationships with leading doctors, referred to as Key Opinion Leaders (KOL’s).

Medical Science Liaisons (MSLs) were first established by Upjohn Pharmaceuticals in 1967 as a response to the need for professionally-trained field staff that would be able to build rapport with Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) in various therapeutic areas of research.  Although originally called Medical Science Liaisons by Upjohn, over the years and today, pharmaceutical companies have used various names for the role including Medical Liaisons, Medical Managers, Regional Scientific Managers, Clinical Liaisons, and Scientific Affairs Managers among others.  Originally, the first MSLs were selected from experienced sales representatives that had strong scientific backgrounds to bring a higher degree of clinical and educational expertise to the medical professionals they were working with to influence sales.  

Over the years, MSL teams have been made up of individuals with various scientific backgrounds including “super” sales reps, those with nursing backgrounds, those with various doctoral level degrees or other clinical backgrounds.  However, the required educational and scientific background and purpose of MSL’s has progressively changed over the years since they were first established.  In the late 1980’s, a number of companies began to require those applying to MSL roles to hold a terminal “D” degree such as an MD, PharmD, or Ph.D.  

Although, historically, the educational standard in the industry did not require MSL’s to have a terminal “D” degree, however, today the terminal “D” degree has become standard in the industry.  Today according to one benchmark study more than 90% of current MSLs hold terminal “D” degrees.  Although the MSL role has received some attention, including a CNN Money article entitled “#1 Job in Pharmaceuticals-10 Jobs for Big Demand-Good Pay”, it remains one of the best-kept secrets and one of the most difficult roles to break into.  Few people know about it, and little is written about the role.  In fact, the MSL community is quite small when compared to other professions in the pharmaceutical industry however there has been an explosion in the growth of the position. According to a recent benchmark study, there has been an average growth of 76% of the MSL role at top 10 pharma companies since 2005 in the U.S. 

 

Copyright 2013-2018 The Medical Science Liaison Society. All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without prior written authorization. The MSL Society is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization dedicated to advancing the global MSL career.

 

Dr. Samuel Dyer is the Chairman of the Board of the MSL Society and the author of “The Medical Science Liaison Career Guide: How to Break Into Your First Role“, the first step-by-step guide ever published on how to successfully land your first MSL role.
Medical Science Liaison Society Launches New MSL Internship Program with the University of North Carolina

Medical Science Liaison Society Launches New MSL Internship Program with the University of North Carolina

The Medical Science Liaison Society is excited to announce the launch of a new Internship Program in conjunction with the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill.

Interns will be paid by the university, and gain invaluable exposure and knowledge about the MSL role by engaging with MSL leaders, assisting in original research projects, and participating in a variety of training events that prepare them for MSL careers. We are excited to also announce after a lengthy application process that Kara Jensen has been selected as the first intern and began her internship this month.

“We are very excited about the new Internship Program between UNC and the MSL Society,” commented Patrick Brandt, PhD, Director of Career Development and Training at the UNC-Chapel Hill Office of Graduate Education. “The MSL Society is the credible source of information for aspiring MSLs. Many of our trainees at UNC are interested in the career path but lack a deep understanding of the MSL role. The MSL Society’s Internship Program will give interns unique experiences and the necessary knowledge, experience, and confidence to be successful MSLs.”

The MSL role is dynamic and rapidly-growing. The new Internship Program is a unique opportunity for UNC students who wish to pursue an MSL career. Interns will develop a level of knowledge and perspective that cannot be gained elsewhere. We are excited to be working with UNC on this unique Internship Program.

 

Copyright 2013-2018 The Medical Science Liaison Society. All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without prior written authorization. The MSL Society is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization dedicated to advancing the global MSL career.

 

Dr. Samuel Dyer is the Chairman of the Board of the MSL Society and the author of “The Medical Science Liaison Career Guide: How to Break Into Your First Role“, the first step-by-step guide ever published on how to successfully land your first MSL role.