’The aim should be to add at least one new skill set every year’
Importance of re-skilling / re-training
A strong academic background can help a candidate land a good job in the pharma industry, however, re-skilling and re-training is essential for the individual’s growth in an organisation. Rapid scientific advances in the pharma industry also mean a person needs re-skilling, and often upskilling, to build the kind of expertise needed to avail of current and future job opportunities in this sector.
I am an M.Tech in Biochemical Engineering and Biotechnology from IIT, Delhi. As cGMP training is very important for pharma professionals, in the initial part of my career, I did a course on ‘cGMP in pharma industry’ conducted by Purdue University, US, in 2004. As I moved up the corporate ladder, I needed more management expertise and enrolled for the ‘Global Advanced Management Program,’ conducted by the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad and the Kellogg School of Management, US, in 2008.
Aim to excel
As I have said earlier, strong academic qualifications from a reputed university can give an individual the initial break in the pharma industry, but will not guarantee career growth. It is the quality of work that an individual delivers that is paramount in deciding his or her career trajectory. In the 22 years that I have spent in the pharma industry, I have had experience across projects, production, operations and business management. And it has always been with the aim of excelling in my work that I have added to my qualifications and training.
Training on General Management and Finance for executives with a non-finance background are always helpful during the transition to senior management positions. In addition, personality development programmes can also help an individual become a better manager. I attended a personality development programme conducted by Dale Carnegie in 2006.
Assess new skills
Learning is a continuous process and an individual should assess what new skills he or she has picked up over the course of a year. Don’t allow the daily routine and work pressures to bog you down. The aim should be to add at least one new skill set every year, which can directly add value to your career. Also, improving one’s emotional intelligence can make the crucial difference between a ‘good employee’ and a ‘great achiever.’
Retain top talent
All good companies have competent Learning and Development (L&D) teams as part of their HR functions with defined budgets for these L&D activities. Biocon has L&D activities that aim to identify and address specific L&D needs arising out of business priorities. It also conducts various classroom training programmes to improve the behavioural skills of employees. Biocon also nominates employees to attend external conferences, both in India and abroad, to help them update their knowledge of the latest developments in various scientific fields. Moreover, leadership development initiatives aimed at building and developing leadership competencies among Biocon’s senior leaders are also implemented on a regular basis. Such activities have helped Biocon retain top talent, as well as emerge as one of the Top 10 Biotech and Pharma Employers in 2013, according to a ranking by a science magazine.
– Prasad BSV, Vice-President and Business Unit Head, Small Molecule API, Biocon