If you are a PhD reading this blog post, congratulations! Completing the course of study, the pedagogy, the thesis and dissertation – all that it takes to earn a PhD is truly worth acknowledgment.
If you’re in academia, teaching or in research, and exploring career options, today there are many options where you can use your extensive research background, especially if you’re a science graduate. All your skills and years of clinical experience offers tremendous competitive edge in some careers, and are easily transferable. One such career is Medical Science Liaison (MSL), ranked among the Top 10 Careers Alternative Careers for PhD Science graduates.
Medical Science Liaison is a specific role within the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device, and health-care industries the requiring advanced scientific training and academic credentials that you possess. Here’s a quick overview about MSLs and what it takes for PhDs to enter this career:
What do MSLs do?
In simplest terms, an MSL combines business skills with technical and scientific acumen, to establish, maintain and influence peer-peer relationships with leading physicians, referred to as key opinion leaders at major academic and health institutions, on behalf of a pharmaceutical company. MSLs keep the lines of communication open and maintain relationships between doctors at major research hospitals and clinics and the pharmaceutical company for which they work. MSLs are vital to pharmaceutical companies developing drugs as they help to ensure that pharmaceuticals are used by the public safely and effectively.
Key skills PhDs need to succeed as MSL:
Given the vast influence of MSLs within the pharmaceutical community, soft skills – like communications, presentation and interpersonal skills – are critical in success and growth of MSLs. You need a positive, optimistic and outgoing personality. In addition, you should be able to understand and convey scientific information cohesively, and accurately – something that most PhDs are quite adept.
It’s a common myth MSLs are sales people, however, that can’t be further from truth. Medical Science Liaisons serve as scientific peers and resources within the medical community, and are called upon as scientific experts to provide learned insight for various companies. Hence, while soft skills are critical in success of MSLs, just like sales professionals, it is not the only success criterion. You also need to have sound, scientific background, which most PhDs and PharmDs in science are able to offer.
MSLs also often travel for their work, enjoy meeting people and talk and meet with various KOLs routinely. Hence, you should be able to network, have good listening skills and be patient. Your emotional quotient and ability to judge people is important to perform well on your job.
How can you explore more? Take the first step!
Medical Science Liaison numbers are growing but the MSL community is still considered small when compared to other professions within the pharmaceutical industry. According to a recent study at the top ten pharmaceutical companies in the U.S., the MSL role will grow by an average of 20% over the next two years alone.
If you’re a PhD interested to learn more about MSL as a career, look up information about this career, connect with peers and networks on LinkedIn to find out more about MSLs, and take advantage of institutions like us! We offer many free information sessions for professionals like you – join in and listen to our industry experts. Join our upcoming information on How to Become an MSL or Contact us! You can also talk to our admissions team for a counselling session or meet with our faculty who are prominent industry experts.
We’d love to discuss how to set you on a path to a rewarding career as an Medical Science Liaison.