Why did you choose to study pharmaceutical science?
I’ve always been somewhat of a ‘curious George’ about how things worked and I’ve always had a love for science, so the course fit the bill perfectly. I wasn’t bad at it either, so that really helped. It was either that or engineering. I couldn’t have gone wrong either way but I don’t have any regrets up to this point.
What was the best thing about your course?
The best thing about my course was that the hours and the coursework were tough, which really prepared me for the industry. The lecturers and professors were accessible but it was up to us to pursue the answers that we needed without being spoon-fed. The industrial placements in the final year, along with the practicals, gave me insight and a solid foundation of what was in store out in the real world.
What was the worst thing about your course?
I honestly didn’t have many complaints besides the early mornings and the travelling that I had to do to get to class (an hour and a half by public transport).
Have you found work in your field?
Yes, I have. I’m currently working as a development chemist (formulation scientist) at a pharmaceutical company in Brisbane. This is actually my second course-related full-time position. My first job was as a development chemist at a smaller company in Melbourne.
What advice would you give to students considering studying pharmaceutical science?
I guess everyone says to pay attention and make the most of it, but my advice is to really enjoy your years at uni no matter what course you do. Be polite and network with the supervisors and lecturers because they’re really there to help you and push you. There aren’t many experienced formulators out there and the number of graduates is a low, so if you network right and work hard, you will be quickly recognised. When you’re looking for a job, be prepared, apply early and have your résumé ready and updated at all times. Do your research on the company before interviews and just remember that you’re applying for a graduate position, so they’re not expecting you to have a whole lot of experience, just enthusiasm!
Have you undertaken further study?
I have considered doing a PhD and it is still feasible, but at this point in time, I feel that it’s not necessary since I have studied for many years already. Some companies pay you to work and do a PhD at the same time, so I may consider it in the future.