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Hello everyone!
So I am currently an incoming P3 student. My previous experiences before entering pharmacy school include working at a few pharmaceutical companies ~3.5 years (promotions and lucky enough to be part of an FDA drug approval). Then I was able to work at CVS pharmacy last summer while going on my hospital IPPE rotation and will be doing my IPPE community rotations this summer. Currently I am working at a Skilled Nursing Pharmacy as an intern. With only 1 year left of didactic studies, I am currently trying to decide whether I should go towards residency or industry. Has anyone been at this situation before? If so, what was your decision? Pros and cons for either field?

Is it necessary to get complete a fellowship to get into industry? I've read on reports that it isn't necessary but it would be difficult.


Thank you for your time and any input is much appreciated!
 

Argentium

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It is not necessary to complete a fellowship to join the pharmaceutical industry; it is not necessary to complete a residency to be a clinical pharmacist - in both cases, completing one can be vastly helpful in terms of getting the first job and for future job prospects.

you should do more research on both paths - the fellowship brochures are a good place to start for industry and there are many resources available for clinical pharmacy. come back with more specific questions and perhaps people can help more; the two paths are vastly different
 
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It is not necessary to complete a fellowship to join the pharmaceutical industry; it is not necessary to complete a residency to be a clinical pharmacist - in both cases, completing one can be vastly helpful in terms of getting the first job and for future job prospects.

you should do more research on both paths - the fellowship brochures are a good place to start for industry and there are many resources available for clinical pharmacy. come back with more specific questions and perhaps people can help more; the two paths are vastly different


Thank you for the reply! I really appreciate it. Yes I have read and heard from people that a fellowship is not necessary for pharm industry and residency is not necessary to be a clinical pharm. But I heard it's vastly harder due to the fact that someone else has training in the specific field through a fellowship/residency, is this true?

Yes I have been researching on programs and their paths and discovered pros and cons. But I wanted to see different perspectives and why they chose that path. Are you currently in either field by chance? Thanks.
 

Argentium

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Thank you for the reply! I really appreciate it. Yes I have read and heard from people that a fellowship is not necessary for pharm industry and residency is not necessary to be a clinical pharm. But I heard it's vastly harder due to the fact that someone else has training in the specific field through a fellowship/residency, is this true?

Yes I have been researching on programs and their paths and discovered pros and cons. But I wanted to see different perspectives and why they chose that path. Are you currently in either field by chance? Thanks.

Very true - post-fellowship career trajectory is very strong and those that find their way in via other avenues (contracting, agency, vendor, etc.) are usually on a slower trajectory or similar at best. I did the fellowship program and are am in the pharmaceutical industry - some things I appreciate about my route are:
  • Career flexibility in terms of functional area, therapeutic area, level of responsibility, salary, work-life balance, # of companies -- a lot of flexibility .. this is the biggest one for me as I feel like you can always work towards something and grow since there's no ceiling
  • Team-based / project-based work -- makes for more dynamic work; always learning something new; if a project sucks, there is usually a definitive end to it (whereas if you hate dispensing .. well you are SOL)
  • Geographic / Location benefits -- Pharma/Biotech opps are usually in great places to live
I don't personally feel there are many negatives, but could certainly see the following as being con's:
  • Lack of direct patient contact and direct applicability of your degree (PharmD helps but is not the foundation of your job in industry the way it is in hospital/retail)
  • Corporate politics since everything is so team-based and companies are so big and matrixed
  • Perhaps lack of stability in Life Sciences (this has traditionally been an argument but Life Sciences has gone through a renaissance in the last decade w/ a lot of stability and opportunities. I would argue hospital/retail are even less stable these days than Pharma/Biotech but you'll hear different opinions here)
 
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Very true - post-fellowship career trajectory is very strong and those that find their way in via other avenues (contracting, agency, vendor, etc.) are usually on a slower trajectory or similar at best. I did the fellowship program and are am in the pharmaceutical industry - some things I appreciate about my route are:
  • Career flexibility in terms of functional area, therapeutic area, level of responsibility, salary, work-life balance, # of companies -- a lot of flexibility .. this is the biggest one for me as I feel like you can always work towards something and grow since there's no ceiling
  • Team-based / project-based work -- makes for more dynamic work; always learning something new; if a project sucks, there is usually a definitive end to it (whereas if you hate dispensing .. well you are SOL)
  • Geographic / Location benefits -- Pharma/Biotech opps are usually in great places to live
I don't personally feel there are many negatives, but could certainly see the following as being con's:
  • Lack of direct patient contact and direct applicability of your degree (PharmD helps but is not the foundation of your job in industry the way it is in hospital/retail)
  • Corporate politics since everything is so team-based and companies are so big and matrixed
  • Perhaps lack of stability in Life Sciences (this has traditionally been an argument but Life Sciences has gone through a renaissance in the last decade w/ a lot of stability and opportunities. I would argue hospital/retail are even less stable these days than Pharma/Biotech but you'll hear different opinions here)
Thank you for this. This was extremely helpful! If it is ok with you to disclose, what is your title and what company do you work at?
 
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deleted562805

Hello everyone!
So I am currently an incoming P3 student. My previous experiences before entering pharmacy school include working at a few pharmaceutical companies ~3.5 years (promotions and lucky enough to be part of an FDA drug approval). Then I was able to work at CVS pharmacy last summer while going on my hospital IPPE rotation and will be doing my IPPE community rotations this summer. Currently I am working at a Skilled Nursing Pharmacy as an intern. With only 1 year left of didactic studies, I am currently trying to decide whether I should go towards residency or industry. Has anyone been at this situation before? If so, what was your decision? Pros and cons for either field?

Is it necessary to get complete a fellowship to get into industry? I've read on reports that it isn't necessary but it would be difficult.


Thank you for your time and any input is much appreciated!
From what I heard form colleagues who did fellowships and colleagues who did internships in Big Pharma.

Pros of fellowships is that they don’t make you work like a slave compared to many hospital residency programs. Schedule is better I heard for Big Pharma fellowships.
 
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From what I heard form colleagues who did fellowships and colleagues who did internships in Big Pharma.

Pros of fellowships is that they don’t make you work like a slave compared to many hospital residency programs. Schedule is better I heard for Big Pharma fellowships.

Thanks for the input. I've been seeing that industry being described as flexible and more opportunities. Might be leaning towards this field more now than residency...
 
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Very true - post-fellowship career trajectory is very strong and those that find their way in via other avenues (contracting, agency, vendor, etc.) are usually on a slower trajectory or similar at best. I did the fellowship program and are am in the pharmaceutical industry - some things I appreciate about my route are:
  • Career flexibility in terms of functional area, therapeutic area, level of responsibility, salary, work-life balance, # of companies -- a lot of flexibility .. this is the biggest one for me as I feel like you can always work towards something and grow since there's no ceiling
  • Team-based / project-based work -- makes for more dynamic work; always learning something new; if a project sucks, there is usually a definitive end to it (whereas if you hate dispensing .. well you are SOL)
  • Geographic / Location benefits -- Pharma/Biotech opps are usually in great places to live
I don't personally feel there are many negatives, but could certainly see the following as being con's:
  • Lack of direct patient contact and direct applicability of your degree (PharmD helps but is not the foundation of your job in industry the way it is in hospital/retail)
  • Corporate politics since everything is so team-based and companies are so big and matrixed
  • Perhaps lack of stability in Life Sciences (this has traditionally been an argument but Life Sciences has gone through a renaissance in the last decade w/ a lot of stability and opportunities. I would argue hospital/retail are even less stable these days than Pharma/Biotech but you'll hear different opinions here)

Thanks again for replying. You pointed out some pros and cons that I listed as well when I was researching on my own. I am definitely going to need to consider these points. I guess the only downside is that I prefer to stay in Southern California due to family and pharmaceutical companies are kind of scarce.
 

Argentium

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Thanks again for replying. You pointed out some pros and cons that I listed as well when I was researching on my own. I am definitely going to need to consider these points. I guess the only downside is that I prefer to stay in Southern California due to family and pharmaceutical companies are kind of scarce.

Amgen, Gilead are decent options in the LA-hub. San Diego metro has quite a few biotechs as well, but not as many fellowship options. Also would consider doing a 1-2 year fellowship somewhere (east coast, bay-area, midwest, whatever) and then post-fellowship, doing a field role (MSL, Sales, etc.) in the SoCal area.

Field roles you can really get away with a lot as long as your territory is driving distance
 
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Amgen, Gilead are decent options in the LA-hub. San Diego metro has quite a few biotechs as well, but not as many fellowship options. Also would consider doing a 1-2 year fellowship somewhere (east coast, bay-area, midwest, whatever) and then post-fellowship, doing a field role (MSL, Sales, etc.) in the SoCal area.

Field roles you can really get away with a lot as long as your territory is driving distance
Yes I used to work for Gilead/Kite and Baxter when they used to be across the street from Amgen. Thanks for the input!
 

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It's a bit like asking "should I have a brownie or a cookie"? Or "should I do a beach vacation or a roadtrip"? It's whatever appeals to you and your long-term goals. Fellowship and residencies are training programs geared towards specific and different career tracks. Which one you should pursue (or neither) depends entirely on your personal interests.

And if you truly are absolutely clueless about what kind of job you would like and see yourself in, I can only quote the Cheshire Cat: “If you don’t know where you want to go, then it doesn’t matter which path you take.” Fellowships are more competitive, though, as there are far fewer of them, so someone meandering cluelessly through life has a a better chance of getting a residency.
 
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It's a bit like asking "should I have a brownie or a cookie"? Or "should I do a beach vacation or a roadtrip"? It's whatever appeals to you and your long-term goals. Fellowship and residencies are training programs geared towards specific and different career tracks. Which one you should pursue (or neither) depends entirely on your personal interests.

And if you truly are absolutely clueless about what kind of job you would like and see yourself in, I can only quote the Cheshire Cat: “If you don’t know where you want to go, then it doesn’t matter which path you take.” Fellowships are more competitive, though, as there are far fewer of them, so someone meandering cluelessly through life has a a better chance of getting a residency.
I am still looking at what interests me as I go through my final therapeutics and researching the different paths. I just wanted to get peoples’ thoughts on which would give me the highest potential to grow and which would be more available as far as positions.
 
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I am still looking at what interests me as I go through my final therapeutics and researching the different paths. I just wanted to get peoples’ thoughts on which would give me the highest potential to grow and which would be more available as far as positions.
I would go with Big Pharma fellowship and focus on getting that fellowship or even consulting pharmacy fellowship.i think there is potential for growth in Big Pharma, biotech, and consulting pharmacy.

Don’t be disillusioned by clinical pharmacy, provider status and grand rounds. Provider status has been talked about since 1970 and not much has evolved with this. A lot of the jobs that clinical pharmacists do is tied to order and verification and heparin/vanc is using a protocol, which can be automated in the near future.

I am not sure you have read about the furloughs that are happening to clinical pharmacists during COVID-19. And not all specialities in clinical pharmacy are in demand. the one that is saturated is Critical Care. Oncology seems to be somewhat in demand. Hours are also getting cut in hospital.
 
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Yeah I have been hearing about the happenings to pharmacists due to COVID. I have heard and witness hours being cut for all pharmacists, even at my current job at a Skilled Nursing Pharmacy. Oncology is one of my interests if I were to go to residency but thank you again for your input!
 
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Industry has more growth potential in terms of career pathway. For all purposes, there isnt a salary ceiling since you're not limited to a range defined by being a pharmacist.

That said, clinical pharmacists can transition into industry, whereas it's near impossible for someone in full-time industry to transition into clinical pharmacy.
 
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Argentium

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Industry has more growth potential in terms of career pathway. For all purposes, there isnt a salary ceiling since you're not limited to a range defined by being a pharmacist.

That said, clinical pharmacists can transition into industry, whereas it's near impossible for someone in full-time industry to transition into clinical pharmacy.

Completely agree that its more of a one way street from clinical to industry rather than the other way around. Would also add:
  • Some specialties are easier to transition into industry (e.g. oncology) than others just given the amount of investment in certain specialties/therapeutic areas
  • If your ultimate goal is industry, I would just start there - residency is a slower, more difficult path if your ultimate goal is industry
 

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Completely agree that its more of a one way street from clinical to industry rather than the other way around. Would also add:
  • Some specialties are easier to transition into industry (e.g. oncology) than others just given the amount of investment in certain specialties/therapeutic areas
  • If your ultimate goal is industry, I would just start there - residency is a slower, more difficult path if your ultimate goal is industry

I would also add that in a decade and half, I know more than a handful of a clinical pharmacists who transitioned to industry. I have yet to meet a single PharmD in industry who considered transitioning to clinical pharmacy. It might be due to awareness that we simply don't have the qualifications to be considered for a clinical pharmacist job, but I think it's mostly due to feeling fulfilled with the industry career pathway and lifestyle.

Barring retirement, the few industry PharmDs I know that have transitioned out of industry chose to:

1) Start their own business (such as independent pharmacy or non-pharmacy related) - only 2 people
2) Went to community/retail pharmacy - only 2 people I know made this choice and both were in industry for less than 1.5 years - one left close to the end of fellowship to move out of state with fiance and work at an independent, and the other was a contractor who left when the company didn't renew the contract, decided industry wasn't for her, and returned to floating for a chain before eventually ending up at a compounding pharmacy.

For myself, I'd only seriously considering leaving the industry for 1) a job with the FDA (which I don't consider really leaving industry); or 2) retire early and move to Hawaii, get a state license there and manage to pick up a few hours a week in retail; or 3) start my own consulting business and pick up projects for pharma companies (which also isn't really leaving industry)
 
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You seem well on your way and it is great that you have had those experiences- most students don't even have the opportunity to do any. One thing I'd recommend is to start to think about specific functional areas of interest and try to narrow it to 1-2 (maybe 3) as you go through this year. Focus is important and too many candidates come in with vague "I want to be an industry pharmacist" aspirations which end up leading nowhere (for one, "industry pharmacist" doesn't really mean anything in the industry).
 
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You seem well on your way and it is great that you have had those experiences- most students don't even have the opportunity to do any. One thing I'd recommend is to start to think about specific functional areas of interest and try to narrow it to 1-2 (maybe 3) as you go through this year. Focus is important and too many candidates come in with vague "I want to be an industry pharmacist" aspirations which end up leading nowhere (for one, "industry pharmacist" doesn't really mean anything in the industry).

Thanks for the reply. Yes I have been researching on my areas of interests, on youtube, reading the forums or just googling. I am still at the midst of choosing between residency and industry. I have narrowed it down to managed care/oncology for residency and industry. I hope to narrow it down further. Are you currently in the industry field right now? What is your opinion on residency vs. industry? Thanks!
 

Argentium

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Thanks for the reply. Yes I have been researching on my areas of interests, on youtube, reading the forums or just googling. I am still at the midst of choosing between residency and industry. I have narrowed it down to managed care/oncology for residency and industry. I hope to narrow it down further. Are you currently in the industry field right now? What is your opinion on residency vs. industry? Thanks!

If your interest is "managed care/oncology" there are actually a few different routes you could take:
  • PGY-1 / PGY-2 Oncology --> Higher clinical focus, more patient-level interaction, option to transition into industry at a later date
  • PGY-1 Managed Care Residency --> you likely won't focus on one therapeutic area (so it'll be broader than oncology; e.g. specialty pharmacy) but would imagine that oncology will be a significant part given all the innovation that's happening inthe space
  • Fellowship Oncology Medical Affairs, Medical Information, Marketing, etc. --> very broad spectrum of functional areas here but you'll be able to focus on oncology
  • Fellowship Managed Markets / Market Access --> a focus on market access / payer interactions from the industry side of things; there's a chance you won't be completely oncology focused either but similar to managed care, company portfolios are so heavily tilted towards oncology here that you'll more likely than not have some exposure
I would say that if you know industry is your end-game, then just go there from the get-go - its a faster, easier (work/life), more lucrative path. If you're looking for optionality, then residency and managed care residency gives you more flexibility to stay in a more "clinical" space and anyways external perspectives are always valued in industry so you can go there later

Would add that across all of these options, you'll be pretty employable IMO.
And also, not all fellowships and residencies are created equal so it'll be up to you to be discerning in terms of which provide the best experience
 
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Thanks for the reply. Yes I have been researching on my areas of interests, on youtube, reading the forums or just googling. I am still at the midst of choosing between residency and industry. I have narrowed it down to managed care/oncology for residency and industry. I hope to narrow it down further. Are you currently in the industry field right now? What is your opinion on residency vs. industry? Thanks!
Yes I work in industry and am very glad I went that route. For me industry was the right option (residency wasn't even on my radar, my second choice was community), but of course this is different for everyone. Just gotta learn what you can and trust yourself - it works out in the end.
 
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Yes I work in industry and am very glad I went that route. For me industry was the right option (residency wasn't even on my radar, my second choice was community), but of course this is different for everyone. Just gotta learn what you can and trust yourself - it works out in the end.

sounds good! yeah after working at CVS and Costco right now through IPPE rotations, I hate retail. It just doesn’t feel rewarding and it’s all about how fast you can fill at end of the day.
 
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too many candidates come in with vague "I want to be an industry pharmacist" aspirations
Second that. And that instantly tells me the person has no genuine interest in industry, they just don't want to be in retail or they don't know what they want to do and they just came to interview/meet & greet because their friends came. Medical information and marketing are worlds apart, or translational science and MSL role, etc.
 
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Second that. And that instantly tells me the person has no genuine interest in industry, they just don't want to be in retail or they don't know what they want to do and they just came to interview/meet & greet because their friends came. Medical information and marketing are worlds apart, or translational science and MSL role, etc.

Third that. We sometimes bring in current pharmacists for interviews and on occasion they respond they're interested because they want to be an industry pharmacist, or get into the industry. If you give that answer, it's pretty much an insta-no. It's one of the fastest ways to disqualify yourself (along with mentioning that you see the posted position as a stepping stone to MSL or some other function).
 
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Is it possible to get a fellowship if you have been out of school for a couple of years?
This is one of those perennial questions that has been asked and answered many times before. I'd say it's extremely unlikely. Fellowships are meant to be the entry point for fresh grads. You will be competing against a fresh crop of P4 candidates, some of whom are outstanding candidates who have specifically prepared for fellowships for a while. And many interviewers, myself included, would be biased against you - 'what's wrong with this person that after having worked for a few years they are seeking to go into a training program meant for new grads instead of seeking a 'real job' if industry is what they want to do?' I can think of plenty of possibilities and none of them are favorable. Though if you could give a convincing answer, whether it will be asked explicitly or implied (but this question will always be there in the interviewer's mind), that could give you an edge...
 
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Is it possible to get a fellowship if you have been out of school for a couple of years?

from my research and hearing from others, I think that is almost impossible to happen just because fellowships are intended for students that just got out of grad school. If you were to apply, they would ask you why didnt you just apply to an industry position during the those years out of school. If this situation applies to you, I would start looking around for entry level positions at industry companies
 
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This is one of those perennial questions that has been asked and answered many times before. I'd say it's extremely unlikely. Fellowships are meant to be the entry point for fresh grads. You will be competing against a fresh crop of P4 candidates, some of whom are outstanding candidates who have specifically prepared for fellowships for a while. And many interviewers, myself included, would be biased against you - 'what's wrong with this person that after having worked for a few years they are seeking to go into a training program meant for new grads instead of seeking a 'real job' if industry is what they want to do?' I can think of plenty of possibilities and none of them are favorable. Though if you could give a convincing answer, whether it will be asked explicitly or implied (but this question will always be there in the interviewer's mind), that could give you an edge...

So I'll take the other view here and say that all else equal, I have no issues with practicing pharmacists applying for fellowships. What matters much more is that you know what you want to go into, why you want to go into it, and that you can talk to how your experiences make you a good candidate for that. Do your homework in terms of the functional area and find ways in which your experience relates to it and makes you a good candidate- there are almost always ways to tie your current work with specific functional work in the industry. Showing some initiative in going out of your way to get relevant experience in your current job or outside of it is also a big plus. I think this is where already practicing pharmacists often fall short in fellowship interviews, especially those coming from areas that essentially weak professional development cultures (looking at you chain retail)- even if you are there, you can still set your own path and build our own story and if you do those effectively, you'll have a shot.
 
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I personally dont know any practicing pharmacists who became fellows, but there is 1 scenario where I can see it being very possible. A pharmacist who graduated with BS degree, practices before going back to graduate from a flex PharmD program and then applies for a fellowship.

Outside of that, theres nothing that outright makes it impossible...but I'm inclined to think it only happens rarely despite more than a few such applicants. There must be statistics on this somewhere. Hels has probably seen many fellowship applicants come through the wire, as well as knowing many past fellows....it probably says something about the rarity if she hasn't seen any.
 

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all else equal
That's exactly the scenario I fail to imagine. From the start, they are inherently unequal. One has a few years on the other in terms of both age and work experience. There are things that are viewed more leniently in a young kid just starting out vs. someone who has been out for a while, Certain faux pas when writing e-mail, presenting in a meeting or navigating office politics will be forgiven when the person is a 25-year old new grad but not when it's a 30-year old person with 'real' full-time work experience. Kind of, if a 2-year old announces that he went potty all by himself it's a proud moment, if a 22-year old pharmacy student does the same, it's just disturbing.

how your experiences make you a good candidate
Again, if someone has experience that can translate well into a role in industry - why are they seeking a fellowship and not an actual job? What kind of psychological issues do they have? I go in expecting to be a preceptor, not a therapist or a nanny. And if someone failed to acquire any useful skills during time they were out - they are probably a weak candidate anyway.

I get it that a person may have had just the bad luck of being second-best when they applied as a P-4, but if they were truly a good candidate, why didn't they apply all that resourcefulness to finding a job that would get them where they want to be, such as at a consulting firm or even do a residency if they ultimately want to be an MSL? And if they did try and fail at all the other ways, they probably aren't that good and will be outcompeted the next year just as they were outcompeted as a P4. In the scenario that they simply never thought about industry before and they happily worked retail or hospital for a few years and now they decided they want to get out - what do they have to give them an edge over strong P4 candidates? If they had the drive, the motivation, and all the other soft skills that distinguish the superstar candidates from all the second-bests - why are they looking at fellowships vs. all the other ways to join industry?

So again, I am open to the theoretical situation that a 'spherical in vacuum' candidate exists, who has been out and working for a few years and yet is a strong candidate for a fellowship - but I simply cannot come up with a picture what that candidate would look like. The same qualities that would make someone a great fellowship candidate would lead them to not be an a position of applying to fellowships after having been out for a while. Plus, there is the factor of having to compete against a crop of P-4s who are just as smart, enthusiastic, etc. plus they have done everything right.

If you can 'paint the picture' for me, what a strong fellowship candidate who, say, has been out of pharmacy school for five years, would actually look like, I am all ears.

I think the only scenario I can see a non-P4 being a strong fellowship candidate is someone who is currently doing a residency and who decides to go for a clinical or medical fellowship in industry...

A pharmacist who graduated with BS degree
That would mean someone who has been out and working for more than 15 years. Someone like that applying for a fellowship would really make me question their mental health.

Maybe some of the less-popular newer programs may be an option... Every time there are a handful of candidates who are obviously head and shoulders above the rest and everyone wants them, but they will pick the programs they want and the rest will be stuck with their second-bests or even third-bests (some programs may choose to not hire anyone vs. hire a subpar person, but most of the time for political and accounting reasons programs choose to take a candidate even if they are not too enthused about them... been there, done that).
 

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That would mean someone who has been out and working for more than 15 years. Someone like that applying for a fellowship would really make me question their mental health.

Yeah as I was first writing that it occurred to me BS phased out sometime around 2003-2005. I know I was one of the last classes at my school to have that option (a decent amount did).

And I remember doing a rotation with a flex PharmD who was quite a bit older (probably around my current age)...it always felt like he was out of place amongst us. Maybe that was just him. One of my classmates would commute to school with her father who doing a flex PharmD and she would tell us stories about how they would quiz each other in the car. He was a cool dad.

Anyway, I thought if someone were to do the flex PharmD now, they could at least pull off the "new PharmD grad" card. Honestly, I dont know anyone who has or how it would be taken. There are plenty of BS pharmacists who entered the industry so I guess the question would still remain what that individual had spent their time doing with their career if they wanted to go into industry all along.
 

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I know a ton of pharmacists in industry who just had the BS and who entered industry in various times in their careers, having worked retail or hospital previously, or in other organizations like ad agencies or market research firms or med ed, the list goes on. Don't know anyone like that who did a fellowship, though.

Fellowships didn't really start to grow in popularity until early 2000s... in the 90s they were still a rarity. By 2006 day there were 40-some Rutgers positions, half a dozen each at Lilly and PG (right before they got out of pharmaceuticals), Massachusetts just started theirs around 2006 or 2007... A smattering of other small programs with 2-3 positions... I don't think any of the West Coast companies really started anything until 2008-2010 or so. I think in total, there were maybe 70 positions hiring in any given year, and now I think I heard something like 300 positions available altogether between all the different programs (some are functioning more like a residency than a traditional industry fellowship, though, if I remember correctly)... so just like the number of students of pharmacy has exploded, so did the number of fellowship positions, though still relatively small. With that, maybe one doesn't need to be a strong candidate anymore to land a fellowship position. Just like one no longer needs strong academic performance or much of anything, really, to get into pharmacy school... Would kind of make sense, the really smart and ambitious kids nowadays would not be choosing pharmacy school unless they really, truly wanted to be pharmacists, so the quality of the applicant pool for fellowships probably is going down too, so anyone who is any good would find it easier to compete. I concede that I haven't been involved with fellowships since 2014 or 2015, and the whole pharmacy education game has become rather different in these 5-6 years. The fellow I mentored over the last two years, though, was excellent and I wish her much success (she is now working in a job she wanted in the city she wanted, coronavirus didn't prevent her from landing a job).
 
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Argentium

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Jan 24, 2009
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We have hired some post-grad folks into the fellowship in the last ~5 years but it is a rarity and most of them were within 2-3 years of finishing their PharmD (I can only think of 2-3 out of the hundreds of fellows that I know/peripherally know in the last few years).

As others have mentioned, it is a tough for a variety of reasons, which is why it doesn't happen often. But it is not impossible
 
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Sep 5, 2019
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Again, if someone has experience that can translate well into a role in industry - why are they seeking a fellowship and not an actual job? What kind of psychological issues do they have? I go in expecting to be a preceptor, not a therapist or a nanny. And if someone failed to acquire any useful skills during time they were out - they are probably a weak candidate anyway.

I get it that a person may have had just the bad luck of being second-best when they applied as a P-4, but if they were truly a good candidate, why didn't they apply all that resourcefulness to finding a job that would get them where they want to be, such as at a consulting firm or even do a residency if they ultimately want to be an MSL? And if they did try and fail at all the other ways, they probably aren't that good and will be outcompeted the next year just as they were outcompeted as a P4. In the scenario that they simply never thought about industry before and they happily worked retail or hospital for a few years and now they decided they want to get out - what do they have to give them an edge over strong P4 candidates? If they had the drive, the motivation, and all the other soft skills that distinguish the superstar candidates from all the second-bests - why are they looking at fellowships vs. all the other ways to join industry?

So again, I am open to the theoretical situation that a 'spherical in vacuum' candidate exists, who has been out and working for a few years and yet is a strong candidate for a fellowship - but I simply cannot come up with a picture what that candidate would look like. The same qualities that would make someone a great fellowship candidate would lead them to not be an a position of applying to fellowships after having been out for a while. Plus, there is the factor of having to compete against a crop of P-4s who are just as smart, enthusiastic, etc. plus they have done everything right.

If you can 'paint the picture' for me, what a strong fellowship candidate who, say, has been out of pharmacy school for five years, would actually look like, I am all ears.

When I say the right experiences I mean things that are still tangential to the industry position they are applying for but enough to tell a compelling story and to show they know what they are talking about and have done something to try to get exposure- even if tangential. So this is a candidate who does not quite have the exp to get right into a regular full-time industry role but they've taken the initiative to position themselves well for a fellowship. This probably won't work for all functional areas, but thinking about something like med info or fields roles or PV I can see it happening. Definitely not common, but I wouldn't say impossible. When I was interviewing in the past few years we had a couple candidates who were right on the cusp of making it to on-site interviews- these are the folks I am thinking about.

I think in total, there were maybe 70 positions hiring in any given year, and now I think I heard something like 300 positions available altogether between all the different programs (some are functioning more like a residency than a traditional industry fellowship, though, if I remember correctly)... so just like the number of students of pharmacy has exploded, so did the number of fellowship positions, though still relatively small. With that, maybe one doesn't need to be a strong candidate anymore to land a fellowship position. Just like one no longer needs strong academic performance or much of anything, really, to get into pharmacy school... Would kind of make sense, the really smart and ambitious kids nowadays would not be choosing pharmacy school unless they really, truly wanted to be pharmacists, so the quality of the applicant pool for fellowships probably is going down too, so anyone who is any good would find it easier to compete. I concede that I haven't been involved with fellowships since 2014 or 2015, and the whole pharmacy education game has become rather different in these 5-6 years. The fellow I mentored over the last two years, though, was excellent and I wish her much success (she is now working in a job she wanted in the city she wanted, coronavirus didn't prevent her from landing a job).

I was last involved in fellowship recruiting at midyear in 2017 and I continued to interview candidates on-site as part of the process until I left my last company earlier this year. In my experience the quality has gone up tremendously from 2014 until this most recent class - at least for positions I have interviewed fellows for (which are mostly limited to my functional area obviously so could be non-representative too). I think this is because while there are more positions there are also more candidates applying now too and generally more interest in going non-traditional routes amongst students - leads the top bunch to really go out of their way to pursue the right internships, APPEs, academic research experiences, etc.
 
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