Taking the Pharma Plunge

Taking the Pharma Plunge

Taking the Pharma Plunge 260 200 Exploristics

By Lesedi Ledwaba-Chapman, Senior Statistician at Exploristics

I was on the hunt for a new challenge. After completing an MSc in Medical Statistics and spending several years gaining experience with healthcare research at Kings College London, I felt that my career prospects in academia were limited without a PhD. I enjoyed the variety of studies and techniques that my role gave me exposure to, and I wanted to continue in a career that offered a breadth of challenges that would enhance my skillset. I queried embarking on a PhD, but the narrow specialisation of a doctorate did not yet appeal to me. Additionally, I saw how much of my manager’s time was devoted to writing grant applications instead of applying statistics. This further steered me away from an academically centred career.

So began my search for a career in the pharmaceutical industry.

Looking for a good fit

I was eager to find a forward-thinking company that values personal and professional development. A key selling point of Exploristics during my job hunt was the KerusCloud platform. By assisting development programmes to become shorter and more efficient, the platform enables important medicines to reach patients faster.

Ticking all the boxes, Exploristics also allows for the flexibility in working patterns that I require. I now relish being part of a company that cares for their employees, fosters innovation, and has a tangible impact on global healthcare.

Pastures New

The transition from academia to a fast-paced environment with larger teams and tighter deadlines was demanding at first. However, being thrown out of my comfort zone gave me the space to expand my skillset whilst building client relationships and developing my time management skills.

I am delighted by the continued interest in my career progression from Exploristics management. For all business areas, Exploristics have clear career pathways which define exactly what is required to get to the next stage. My growth within the company has been tailored to my individual aspirations and I can see the same is also happening for my colleagues. There is a great emphasis placed on continual development here and I am often given opportunities to take more responsibility in projects, present my work, and mentor new colleagues.

I was conscious that transitioning from a small university team to a mid-sized CRO may be impersonal, however there is a strong family-feel running throughout the company. This is due to the importance placed on staff wellbeing and inclusivity. Many workplaces talk the talk, but Exploristics walk the walk.

Going on placement

My placement role has given me a fascinating insight into the operations of a global pharmaceutical company. I feel like a valued member of my placement team and I’m fortunate to work on a myriad of studies and disease areas, keeping my day-to-day fresh. I was particularly drawn to the opportunity of working with simulations in the context of Bayesian analysis. Although I did not have much experience in this area, Exploristics provided me with bespoke training that allowed me to hit the ground running when I started. I also have confidence knowing that I am able to leverage the wealth of knowledge and experience my Exploristics colleagues have to offer.

At my previous job I was used to working independently, so entering into large and dynamic teams has been an enjoyable change of pace. I’ve also noticed a refreshing focus on collaboration within and across study teams in pharma, enabling research to be streamlined within the organisation. While the pharma and university environments substantially differ, I’m finding that my experience communicating with colleagues from different backgrounds in academia has been invaluable on placement.

Getting involved

Exploristics support multiple employee-led initiatives focused on wellbeing, inclusivity, and environmentalism. My involvement in the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee gives me opportunities to champion causes I’m passionate about and allows me to strike a nice balance between my placement and Exploristics. Overall, I am really enjoying my time on placement. I learn something new every day and I get to work on projects that are stimulating and rewarding.

I’m glad I took the plunge.

Read more:

I’m more than a statistician, I’m a drug developer

Changing tack, plain sailing from academia into industry

The best of both worlds 

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