This month we turn the Medical Spotlight on another of our market areas, Medical Affairs, and this time spoke with Dr. Foo Chuan Kit, about his ‘top tips’ for candidates looking for roles within Medical Affairs. 

Dr Foo is a trained Medical Doctor in Singapore. He practised medicine for six years after which he worked in Health Administration for 4 years at the Ministry of Health and within a general hospital in Singapore. He completed his management studies in Health Management at Imperial College Business School (London) under a British government scholarship in 2002. In 2004, Dr Foo joined the pharmaceutical industry and since then undertook roles of increasing responsibility at country, regional and global levels. Dr Foo is currently Head of Medical Affairs APAC and China of a leading multinational company in the ophthalmology space.

Top Tips for Medical Affairs Candidates shared by Dr Foo Chuan Kit

  1. You are ultimately responsible for your own career progression. You will be more successful if you learn how to create opportunities for yourself rather than be dependent on your managers.
  2. Understand that there is no such thing as a perfect job. There will be things you like and don’t. That said, it is important to be aware that what we like and don’t changes over time. It therefore makes a lot of sense to know yourself as you progress in your career and make sure you are ahead of the curve.
  3. It is good to have sufficient experience and exposure to a variety of roles before deciding on any particular role or career track. Especially crucial for those who are not sure and early on in their career.
  4. Be clear and know what you naturally excel in and what you don’t. Find roles that require more of those skills that you excel in and less of what you are not good at. It is all about job fit. It is often going to be harder, not impossible, to convert weaknesses into strengths.
  5. Chase after skills and experiences rather than money. If you are good at the former, the latter will find you.
  6. Find and work with managers who are truly invested in your success, willing to teach, provide useful and timely feedback.
  7.  Attitude, drive and resilience are the top 3 attributes in looking for Medical Affairs talents.
  8. To be successful in Medical Affairs (MA), the MA associate needs to have a deep interest in the business, scientific and governance aspects of the therapeutic area he or she is responsible for. This would enable the MA associate to orchestrate, balance and blend all three aspects into a coherent strategy and tactical plan. A mastery of the repertoire of MA tools is crucial to ensure tactical executional excellence.

Differences between Device and Pharma in Medical Affairs

Both industries are driven by innovation and science. Underpinning the success of each product are the strong clinical and real world evidence data supporting its use in specific patient populations. The Medical Device industry has added elements of device features, design and after-sales services to do well in to be successful. There is also a critical dimension of operator dependency that is not found in a single pill. As a largely procedure driven business, the Medical Device industry can also be impacted by anything that reduces the number of procedures that can be performed e.g. Covid-19.

If you are looking to progress your career in Medical Affairs then don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team.

All views expressed in this article are solely those of Dr. Foo Chuan Kit in his personal capacity as an expert and in no way reflect the opinions of Alcon or any affiliations.

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