On September 27th, 2019 students from all three levels of the Biomedical Discovery and Commercialization (BDC) program at McMaster University attended a faculty-organized Industry Preview Event. With over 20 companies, the event exposed students to a wide range of industries in the pharmaceutical space.
BDC Director Dr. Andrew McArthur began the event with opening remarks, welcoming all in attendance and setting the stage for a new initiative – Career Talks from BDC alumni. The three alumni came from diverse industries (large pharma – GlaxoSmithKline; consulting – Cannabis Compliance; and Biotech – Enhanced Medical Nutrition), which gave students a sense of the wide range of opportunities available to them. Their talks touched upon both their current endeavours and how BDC prepared them with the skills they needed to succeed.
Third year student Cole Shulman found these talks especially engaging. “The talks gave me a good understanding of what I can expect to learn from this program going forward. The presenters did a great job highlighting both technical and soft skills that are instrumental in the pharmaceutical space.”
The subsequent networking session gave students the opportunity to talk to the many companies in attendance. Some used this time to focus on specific industries or companies that they found interesting. Others took it as a chance to learn about different roles and opportunities available in pharmaceuticals. Regardless of which route was taken, students found it to be a very valuable experience.
Simultaneously, many of the industry partners took it as a chance to mentor students – something that was greatly appreciated. Between skill development tips and ways to stand out in a competitive job market, there was a lot to learn. Students could be seen taking notes and subsequently sharing tips they had gathered with their peers – an indication of the collaborative culture the program proudly fosters.
For Master of BDC students, the networking session proved to be a great opportunity to talk to potential employers. With their internship term quickly approaching, this showcase has historically been an amazing resource for these students. The event not only brings together a large number of pharmaceutical companies, but also has many BDC alumni present as company representatives. Ultimately, having a BDC graduate on the other side of the table gives the program greater credibility.
“The growing reputation of the BDC program is evident,” said Shadman Khan, president of the BDC Society. “Compared to last year’s showcase, there are many more companies from a much wider range of disciplines. In my mind, it shows how well-equipped BDC students are for the workplace. The attention our graduates are garnering continues to grow.”
All in all, the event was viewed as a great success. Students from all three levels gained insight into the plethora of opportunities available at the intersection of biomedical discovery and business and left with a better understanding of the skills they should seek to develop to succeed in this space.
None of this would have been possible without our industry partners who took the time to attend the event, as well as the meticulous planning of the BDC faculty office.