Emily Parkes

A science degree is essential for anyone hoping to work in the pharmaceutical industry; I wouldn't be where I am without my degree.


What is your current role and your main responsibilities?

I'm a New Product Introduction Technologist at Teva Runcorn (international pharmaceuticals company, based in Israel), I manage the technical development and validation of manufacturing schemes for new pharmaceutical products.

Please summarise your overall career since graduation, but in particular, what was your first relevant role to the area in which you work now and how did you secure that position?

Immediately post-graduation I started as a temp scientist at Sanofi Aventis in Holmes Chapel; I applied via SRG after seeing an advert in New Scientist. This temp job led to a permanent job with SRG as a Synergy Scientist. Up until this point my main focus was analytical science/laboratory testing.

The product I was working on at Sanofi Aventis was abandoned so I was made redundant after two years. I then got a research and development laboratory job at Teva. Moving into research and development was great for me. There was lots of scope to use my degree and progress into a formulation/pilot scale manufacturing development role that then led to my current position.

How has your qualification helped you in your career?

A science degree is essential for anyone hoping to work in the pharmaceutical industry; I wouldn't be where I am without my degree. I am hoping to apply for a distance-learning Masters degree in pharmaceutical science in the near future in order to further my career and reach my goals. In order to complete this type of course it is essential to have a good science degree under your belt.

What is your greatest achievement to date?

I achieved a first class degree from Manchester, an achievement I'm proud of. After university, I became a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry. I received praise and recognition from senior management at Teva Runcorn for successfully project managing the development, validation and submission of a new ophthalmic product that is tipped to be the next 'blockbuster' product for the site, under incredibly tight timelines and significant pressure.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of pursuing a similar career route and what skills/experience do you consider to be necessary?

I would say that drive, ambition and intelligence can take someone far, however also important for real success is the ability to learn from others, ask questions rather than guess and development of soft skills, such as how to work with others in a team and how to influence people. A good science degree is essential.

The most important recommendation I can give is to do a year in industry if at all possible; I originally applied for a sandwich course but dropped into a BSc as I wanted to graduate and get into work earlier; I have always regretted this decision as it is such a good chance to get a feel for what working in industry is really like and gives those students such a head-start for when they graduate!

What did you most enjoy about your time at Manchester?

I love the city; I still live in the centre even though my commute to Runcorn is lengthy. The School of Chemistry at Manchester is one of the best in the country. I had all the support I needed from excellent tutors and lecturers.

Why would you recommend the University as a good place to study?

Manchester is a student-friendly city, there is so much going on here - music, culture, shops, sports. The main campus is right in the centre of everything on Oxford Road and the halls are all near by. The University's facilities are excellent and academic support is easily accessible to all.

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