Transferable Skills

Empathy as a Medical Science Liaison in Field Science

How do you apply this transferable skill in your position?

Sometimes, thought leaders or other healthcare professionals use our meetings to vent, to get away from daily routines, and learn new and interesting information. Even though we are there to share information, we may need to listen and understand the other person’s frustrations. One main topic, physicians complain about is the complexities of the insurance approval and denial processes.


Communication as a Medical Science Liaison in Field Science

How do you apply this transferable skill in your position?

It is important to understand who your audience is and adjust your communication style to match their needs. For example, I was scheduled to meet two physicians at a hospital during their lunchtime. It was my first time meeting them and getting to know them. They came in one at a time. One of the physicians wanted to talk about what-ifs situations and asked about data we had on those topics. With the second physician, I was able to share new clinical trial data and answer specific questions she on using our product with a patient. The last person I met during this meeting was a newly graduated medical assistant who walked in and was very eager to learn something new! I had to quickly identify the topic I thought would be most interesting and useful for her. We chatted for some time and left information for her to take home and review. She was very happy.

What specific skills are part of how you apply this transferable skill?
  • Oral communication skills
  • Presenting research to scientists
  • Presenting to nonscientists
  • Speaking clearly and effectively

Teamwork as a Medical Science Liaison in Field Science

How do you apply this transferable skill in your position?

The MSL team attends major national and international congresses. Our primary role during the congress is to gather insights regarding our product(s) and all other topics physicians are discussing. We are trying to identify any unmet medical needs that fall within the company’s medical objectives, for example. Each team member is given a role before, during, and after the congress. That role or activity can include lunch or dinner meetings with thought leaders. There are times that one MSL would ask team members to participate in such events to have coverage, especially if there are several thought leaders attending.

What specific skills are part of how you apply this transferable skill?
  • Ability to work on a team
  • Ability to work with people outside the organization
  • Providing constructive feedback

Integrity as a Medical Science Liaison in Field Science

How do you apply this transferable skill in your position?

Pharmaceutical companies are highly regulated. Doing our work with integrity always is extremely important to comply with local, state, and national rules, regulations, and laws. If we do not, there are serious consequences not just for the MSL, but potentially for the entire company.

What specific skills are part of how you apply this transferable skill?
  • Complying with rules and regulations

Motivation as a Medical Science Liaison in Field Science

How do you apply this transferable skill in your position?

Just as in the process of conducting cutting-edge research, there are times that things do not go as planned. Therefore, understanding what your motivation is or what is your why is extremely important to get through rough or long days. What is it that makes you wake up every day and say “let’s go!”


Communication as a Field Applications Scientist in Field Science

How do you apply this transferable skill in your position?

My job is built upon communication. Every day I communicate scientific data (and concepts) to customers and internal teams that are a mix of scientists and nonscientists. This means that half of the battle is identifying how best to convey your message across so that everyone is on the same page. It involves tailoring the content you present, providing additional support if needed, and generally being flexible in how you approach every situation.

What specific skills are part of how you apply this transferable skill?
  • Basic writing and editing
  • Oral communication skills
  • Presenting research to scientists
  • Presenting to nonscientists
  • Speaking clearly and effectively
  • Writing for nonscientists
  • Writing scientific publications
  • Written communication skills

Teamwork as a Field Applications Scientist in Field Science

How do you apply this transferable skill in your position?

Teamwork is incredibly important in Field Science roles due to the variety of situations that you may find yourself in when working with different customers. At my company, we have a dedicated team of 14 Field Applications Scientists each working in our specified territory. However, in the common situation where one of us encounters an application, cell type, process, etc. that we may be unfamiliar with, it is so important for the other members of the team to step in and advise a best path forward. When I am not working directly with a customer, most of my time is spent talking to other members of the team and continuously giving/receiving feedback so that we all grow in our respective roles.

What specific skills are part of how you apply this transferable skill?
  • Ability to work on a team
  • Ability to work with people outside the organization
  • Providing constructive feedback

Project Management as a Field Applications Scientist in Field Science

How do you apply this transferable skill in your position?

Unlike when you are a PhD student or postdoc and you have a dedicated project that you work on life as a Field Scientist is all about variety. This means that I am constantly juggling different projects with different groups that are all at different stages from early-stage research all the way through GMP manufacturing. For each customer project I work on, I become the de facto manager -- this means I need to manage timelines, expectations, budget, personnel, etc. for sometimes up to 20-30 groups at a single time. For this reason project management (and organization) skills are highly desired in the role. Being an efficient project manager allows you to deliver better results in a shorter timeframe while ensuring no loose ends exist.

What specific skills are part of how you apply this transferable skill?
  • Ability to manage a project
  • Delegating responsibilities
  • Developing/managing budgets
  • Managing data and resources
  • Planning and organizing projects
  • Providing instruction and guidance
  • Time management

Understanding the Scientific Enterprise as a Field Applications Scientist in Field Science

How do you apply this transferable skill in your position?

Each scientific organization is different, and when you work with ALL the different scientific organizations as a Field Scientist it is crucial to know exactly HOW these organizations differ from one another. You need to know these differences because you have to tailor your approach to each specific institution - whether it is a small start up, an establish biopharma company, a privately funded translational research institute, or a public academic institution -- otherwise you will be ineffective. Understanding the goals, structures, values, resource allocation, etc. of each of these types of scientific institutes is key to succeeding in my job. For example, managing conflicts of interest and navigating confidentiality issues are two massive parts of my job that - if mishandled - can have devastating ramifications (lost deals, legal issues, etc). How these two issues are handled vary significantly from institution to institution, so I conduct myself differently regarding these issues when working with a public academic institution versus a non-profit research institute versus a for-profit biopharma company.

What specific skills are part of how you apply this transferable skill?
  • Broad-based knowledge of science
  • Can identify and manage conflict of interest
  • Careful recordkeeping practices
  • Experimental design
  • Understanding of data ownership/sharing issues

Teamwork as a Regional Applications Manager in Field Science

How do you apply this transferable skill in your position?

The Technical Applications Team is all work-from-home. We use Microsoft Teams to share expertise and advice. One person will post a technical question they have run into and everyone will try to help them solve their problem. The goal is that nobody would be embarrassed to ask a question, and that solutions can be organized into a Knowledge Center.

What specific skills are part of how you apply this transferable skill?
  • Ability to work on a team
  • Providing constructive feedback

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