Campus life, to most of the people, is the best part of their life. After this bittersweet part of life comes a very crucial phase of life-- job hunting. This phase may last from several months to several years for some not so lucky ones. Hence, having a blueprint of the career is imperative. Be it in sending out applications, choosing from multiple job offers, or just having a game plan, envisioning the whole career ahead or at least a start in a particular industry can be immensely helpful. With the prospect of becoming a USD 6.0 billion market by 2025 and a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.6 per cent, the pharmaceuticals industry can be an interesting place to start a career in Bangladesh.
Management Trainee-Corporate Affairs of Radiant Pharmaceuticals Ltd Syed Samiul Alam shared his thoughts with the writer. He believes that the pharmaceutical industry of Bangladesh is currently positioned at the growth stage of its industry life cycle and the well-governed companies are gaining immense benefit from it. Recently, Bangladeshi medicines obtained access to several highly regulated markets (US, UK, Canada, etc.) As a result, the demand for highly qualified and skilled graduates in this sector has risen. Graduates in the discipline of pharmacy, business studies, information and technology, chemical and electrical engineering have the opportunity to make a decent contribution to this space.
About work experience in the pharma industry, Samiul said, "A nurturing culture and collaborative work environment can give a good head start to your career. My organisation ensured both for me, thanks to the corporate environment which may be attributed to the company's deep-rooted relationship with a number of global leading pharma companies." He augmented that the working hours may vary regarding the organisation and department; but generally, it is more convenient than many other industries. The benefits are usually standard and can be very good if one has a strong portfolio and a good personal selling point. There is a decent opportunity to explore the world in the form of learning with other training and development programmes. In addition, there is opportunity to work with field forces, high profile external stakeholders, and so on.
The long-run career prospects are always an important factor while choosing the first workplace. BBA grads, in the pharma industry, usually work in support functions as a part of the data team, HR team etc. And if they want to stay in the industry, they can definitely aspire to reach the top of their functions such as HR head, even at the regional level. However, talking to some pharma industry insiders, the writer came to know that the core top management is dominated by pharma graduates or doctors. Nevertheless, business grads with initial work experience in these support functions can easily move to other industries in the same functions. But the case is not the same for those who work in sales and marketing which needs a different approach, since direct marketing to customers is not possible in this industry. Instead they approach doctors for reaching the end customers.
Pharma can also fulfill internship requirements before jumping into full-time employment. Alfie Shahrin Adrita who completed her internship at Beximco Pharmaceuticals gave an overview of the work culture in that organisation. She said, "From my whatsoever knowledge of MNC (multinational corporation) culture, I can say that Beximco is very different. I felt the power distance was more. They are very process-oriented in terms of getting things done in comparison to startups or MNCs." However, she categorises her internship as a good experience as it presented the opportunity to see a large organisation work using traditional methods. The work hours for her role were flexible with a maximum of two to three office days from 10 am to around 4 or 5 pm. Her HR internship was a three-month role, about which she shared, "I worked under two managers-- training manager and recruitment manager. They assigned me different projects under the supervision of those managers. An example would be like designing a training programme for factory workers/delivery team." She added that the opportunity to design these programmes gave her a good understanding of the HR function as well as the pharmaceuticals industry, and attributed her internship as a great learning experience. Overall, this industry really looks good for a start--both for long term or short term purposes.
The writer is a third-year student of BBA programme at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), University of Dhaka. He can be reached at