Industry Transition Spotlight: Manish Pareek
Industry Transition: An interview with Manish Pareek, PhD, Senior Scientist
1. What is your name, your full job title, and the name of the company you work for?
Name: Manish Pareek
Job title: Senior Scientist
Company: Sygnature Discovery
2. What is your favorite part about working in industry?
My favorite part is being able to learn the steps involved in drug discovery through different drug discovery projects. Life in academia was ok, but in industry, I am able to collaborate more with other teams. I am learning more about biology as well. Work-life balance is much better than my previous experience. I am more efficient in doing and communicating my work.
3. What does a typical day at work look like for you?
As a medicinal chemist, planning various organic synthesis and redesigning drug-like molecules based on the biological assay screening summarizes my job description. I need to know a lot about not only chemical interactions but also biological interactions. We start with the synthesis of different organic molecules, followed by testing in different biological assays. Then, depending upon the biological activity, we design the next molecule.
4. How is your current industry position different than your academic postdoc or experience as a graduate student?
The application to the real world was absent in academia. At my current position, I am able to apply my synthetic knowledge to develop various drug molecules. I was only focusing on organic synthesis in academia. But in industry, I am prompted to learn other scientific areas such as biology, drug metabolism, and pharmacokinetics.
5. If you could go back in time, to before you received your job offer, and give yourself one piece of advice or encouragement, what would it be?
Do not think less about yourself if you do not have a high number of publications. Try to gain as much knowledge as possible. Focus on your networking skills and try to stay in contact with friends who have already transitioned. Do not believe everything your PI tells you, he may not have had the journey you had. Believe in your instincts and go for what you actually want.
6. What was the most important thing you did during your job search that enabled your success?
I developed a positive mindset about myself to overcome impostor syndrome. Going through the CSA modules gave me the necessary skills to concur with interview questions. I prepared for the technical round like my life depended on it. I tried to reach out to as many people as possible to get insights about the company and job offers. I got a LinkedIn premium account to send in-mails to connect with the hiring managers. I used cheeky’s networking handbook to reach out to different people.
7. What is the most memorable moment for you (so far) as a Cheeky Scientist Associate?
Feeling that I am not all alone in the job search and the moral support from other associates.
8. What do you see as the next step in your career?
I hope to try to understand as much as possible about drug discovery and managing my own team.
9. How can the Association and the Association’s members help you continue to achieve your career goals?
Continuous discussions in the CSA about different career progression strategies helps me keep up with my future goals.
10. Now that you’ve spent some time working in industry, what is the biggest piece of advice you’d like to share with those Associates who are still executing their job search?
Keep a positive attitude towards yourself and always try to develop the skills that are needed in industry. I have felt that it is very important to develop communication, networking, and management skills to excel in the job search. Industry doesn’t care a lot about the number of publications you have. If you are able to express that your current skills are in line with the company’s vision, it’s easy to get a job. Also, networking is the key. In my case, Dan Best, who is working at my current company and also a CS associate, helped me with the process.
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