top of page

Unlocking the agency advantage

Updated: Feb 29

Welcome to my first blog post where I will be sharing my thoughts on my own career journey as well as the many extremely talented individuals who I have had the privilege of working with over the years.

I started my career in the world of medical communications back in 2007, at that time, the idea of working for a pharmaceutical company felt like an elusive dream, something reserved exclusively for extraordinary individuals. I confess, at that time, I harboured a somewhat naive belief that this realm was inaccessible to people like myself and my fellow agency colleagues. In my mind, Pharma occupied a lofty pedestal, symbolising the pinnacle of achievement that appeared out of reach.

It wasn't until years later that a glimmer of possibility emerged on the horizon. I had the fortune of collaborating with a truly remarkable and inclusive medical director on a neuroscience project. It was during this time that I stumbled upon an advertisement for a parallel role within an in-house Pharma setting. Without hesitation, I swiftly applied, highlighting my current work and the valuable connection I had with the existing medical director. Graciously, he offered his support and spoke highly of me, and the rest, as they say, is history.

It was only after I started my first job in Global Scientific Communications in-house in Pharma 10 years later, that it struck me how wonderfully diverse the backgrounds of my department colleagues were. Some had transitioned from local country affiliates to secure positions in the global headquarters, while others had taken a direct path from university or academia into the pharmaceutical industry. There were also individuals who had shifted from different departments like clinical development or commercial roles. However, what particularly stood out to me, and pardon my bias, were the collaborative, creative, and impressive qualities demonstrated by those who had previously worked in agencies for a significant part of their careers.

Even to this day, I continue to witness a distinct contrast between my former agency colleagues and those who entered the industry directly into in-house roles. What stands out for me is the extensive expertise possessed by ex-agency professionals, particularly when it comes to understanding intricate processes like Datavision and the end-to-end execution of projects. They have a deep comprehension of what can be achieved within the compliance framework, which proves invaluable in avoiding delays in project delivery.

Drawing from my own experiences, I have personally contributed to substantial cost savings for companies through my proficiency in video editing and my aptitude for crafting impactful slide presentations. These skills have enabled me to deliver visually compelling content while adhering to the necessary compliance guidelines. These types of skills are generally lacking in people without any agency background.

Yet, until relatively recently, making the leap from agency to Pharma was incredibly challenging. Fortunately, the situation has been gradually improving. Nonetheless, it remains my observation that Pharma recruiters tend to underestimate the unique value and expertise that ex-agency professionals bring to the table.

It is my hope that this perception continues to evolve, as the collaborative and creative skills honed in the agency environment can greatly benefit the pharmaceutical industry. By recognizing the untapped potential of agency staff, recruiters can harness their expertise to drive innovation, foster effective collaboration, and ultimately elevate the success of pharma initiatives.

I started to think about my journey and also the career journey of the people around me and I wanted to get to the bottom of what is it about people with agency experience that gives them this certain je ne sais quoi?

I'll be sharing my observations drawn from my own experiences and conversations with people from across the industry in my new book which is coming soon and here on the blog.

13 views0 comments


bottom of page