While many of us initially think of working as a doctor or nurse when considering healthcare professions, there are opportunities in advertising/marketing, pharmaceuticals, and software that are shifting the industry. 

Our panelists and networkers at our recent Healthcare Industry Showcase (hosted in partnership with the student group Columbia University Systems Biology Initiative) shared some of their insights and experience with future healthcare professionals on October 10, 2019.

Employer talking with students at Healthcare Industry Showcase.

On October 10th, 79 students were joined by:

  • Hafiz Sikder, Managing Principal at Axiom Healthcare Strategies
  • Anca Tilinca, Program Director of the Consultant Development Program at Veeva Systems
  • Lori Rodney, Senior Vice President at Ruder Finn

The panelists were excited to connect with students interested in the healthcare field and share their professional stories. Specifically, they wanted students to takeaway that there were many ways to make a career in the healthcare industry.

“It’s a great opportunity to meet students interested in Life Sciences and discuss new global industry trends, challenges and potential career paths in this domain…For Veeva, it’s a chance to explain how technology supports the industry and help students explore adjacent industries.”- Anca Tilinca, Veeva Systems

You don’t have to be on the pre-med track to impact patients.

Have you considered how the skills you’ve gained both in and outside of the classroom can be incorporated into healthcare? Are you driven by helping others? Do you want to create?

One panelist, Anca, shared that she looked for roles where she could create an impact via CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and tech systems. She landed her role as a technical trainer at Veeva Systems because she focused on the qualifications and expectations shared in the job description. She has grown in her role since then and now manages the global graduate consultant program. 

“Don’t be inflexible with your career. Listen to others when they provide mentorship, try new things, remember it is about the journey; enjoy it!”– Hafiz Sikder, Axiom Healthcare

There’s a lot of ways to save a life. 

When discussing her path to her current position, Lori shared the many things she enjoyed about working in healthcare marketing. She mentioned that it allowed her to apply her creativity and imagination within set formulas, a combination of innovation and structure. Her position has allowed her to prioritize connecting with multicultural audiences where she’s able to “[communicate] for a purpose to educate people about opportunities to save their life.” Lori stated that “within healthcare communications, the little things matter. Addressing dry skin, one less headache; it adds up to a better life.”

For Hafiz, healthcare was an intentional choice. Originally when selecting a career path, Hafiz was choosing between a career in pharmaceuticals or one with Kellogg. (You can guess which one he picked). On the panel, he shared that he has found purpose in his work around medication for patients with melanoma, where the drugs they’ve been able to provide have “allowed [people] to live.”

Employer talking with students at Healthcare Industry Showcase.

What type of bottle of water are you?

Our three panelists all emphasized the point that there isn’t one path to a career in healthcare.

Anca shared that “a lot of skills can be taught once you’re in the role” and that “hard skills can be taught so long as there is self-awareness of your learning curve.” She reminded students to “be assertive, self-aware, humble, and [work hard]” and ask themselves:

    ”How do I come across?”

    “Am I learning before asking to be the manager?”

Hafiz recommended that students “think of [themselves] as a bottle of water,” when encouraging students to determine their personal brand. He asked students to think about what they stand for, what they believe in. 

“You’re all smart with an amazing IQ — have a sense of presence; people see you before they hear you.” Hafiz Sikder, Axiom Healthcare Strategies

Lori reinforced the idea that there are many ways into healthcare, stating that she “learned about new diseases on the go. My background is not [in] medicine or anything science-related.”  She advocated for students to be “be proactive, aggressive, and [not] require micromanagement.”

If you’re hooked and want to learn more

Check out our Healthcare industry page and remember that you can always make an appointment with our career counselors to talk about your next steps!