An interview with Stephanie Munroe, PhD
What is your name, your full job title, and the full name of the company you work for?
Stephanie Munroe – Program Development, Head of Dermatology Center of Excellence
What is your favorite part about working in industry?
In academia, everyone is competitive and does their best to keep their work in an isolated bubble until they publish. In industry, when someone succeeds using a new approach or technique, we all benefit and learn from it. This collaborative and supportive approach is something that makes working in industry so rewarding.
Can you describe what a typical day at your job looks like?
My team is essentially the sales department within the CRO; however, we do a lot more than just sales. We are responsible for communicating with current and future sponsors to discuss their upcoming studies and how we might be able to help them run it efficiently. We review their protocol/synopsis and then discuss it with Principal Investigators at sites to determine if they see any flaws in the study design or any barriers to recruiting and retaining patients throughout the study as well as ask any basic study feasibility questions. We then develop a full budget for running the study and discuss it with each of the branch heads (Clinical Operations, Data Sciences and Biostats, Regulatory Affairs, and Project Management) to ensure that our projected number of hours allocated for each task related to running the study are possible. After reviewing the budget, we prepare a proposal or a ballpark estimate to give to the sponsor for them to review. On any given day, I am performing tasks related to generating the best possible solution for how we can run that particular study for the sponsor.
How is your current industry position different from your academic postdoc or experience as a graduate student?
There are many reasons that my current position is different from an academic graduate position. I think the biggest difference for me is that things get completed much more quickly and that we don’t spend weeks going back and forth to review the content. If I have an idea to take an alternate approach or to generate new content, I can discuss it with my manager and we come up with a plan on how it can be incorporated.
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?
I would tell myself to network within the target companies more. It is so important to speak with current employees to see if you are a culture fit and if you would be fulfilled by the position you are targeting. I was very lucky that I had a chance to talk to multiple people during my interview process and this allowed me to see if I would be a good culture fit, but I still wish that I had gotten more insight.
What was the most memorable moment for you (so far) as a Cheeky Scientist Associate?
I think the most memorable times for me as a Cheeky have been communicating with other Cheekies, doing informational interviews and learning from each other’s experiences. We all have so much to offer in terms of experiences and knowledge and giving back has been so rewarding.
What do you see as the next step in your career?
I would like to take on managerial tasks within the next 1.5 years as our company grows. To do so, I know I need to continue developing my knowledge and skills here and continue learning from my mentors.
How can the Association and the Association’s members help you continue to achieve your career goals?
The contacts within the Cheeky network are endless! There is so much to learn from everyone, members and moderators, guests, and of course from Isaiah. I want to continue catching up on the webinars and utilizing the network to learn about what future roles might be a good fit or just to continue learning about industry.
Now that you’ve spent some time working in industry, what is the biggest takeaway(s) you’d like to share with those who are still executing their job search?
Trust the process, have faith in yourself, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. CSA gave me a great guide and strategy for my job search. Even when you feel down because that job didn’t come through or you haven’t heard back after reaching out, try to stay positive and push forward. There are so many people who will be willing to help you, especially within CSA. Don’t be afraid to ask for help with mock interviews, reviewing your resume/cover letter/LI, connecting with someone who you might have not been able to get in touch with previously, or just to give words of encouragement.
To learn more about how you can transition into an industry career like Stephanie, including instant access to our exclusive training videos, case studies, industry insider documents, transition plan, and private online network, get on the wait list for the Cheeky Scientist Association.
Isaiah believes that if you feel stuck somewhere in your life right now, you should make a change. Don’t sit still and wait for the world to tell you what to do. Start a new project. Build your own business. Take action. Experimentation is the best teacher.
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