2 17 15 Alumni Conference II

Alumni Share Stories, Insights on How to Succeed in the Life Sciences

When Sergio Sanchez, a member of the marketing panel at KGI’s Second Annual Alumni Conference was asked how he thought KGI had helped him to succeed in the life sciences industry, he didn’t hesitate:  “It helped me to build stories around this industry,” said Sanchez, PPM ’11. “In marketing, it’s essential to make people feel something about the product or technology you’re representing. KGI allowed me to make connections and have experiences in the life sciences industry that I never would have had otherwise. Being able to build those stories and connect to people has been critical in my career.”

Sanchez, a marketing manager at Beckman Coulter, was one of several alumni who returned to KGI’s campus on February 13 to participate in the conference and offer current students insight into how to succeed in life sciences industry. The day kicked off with a welcome from KGI President Shelly Schuster and Dean of the School of Applied Life Sciences Steve Casper. President Schuster updated alumni on KGI’s growth in the past several years, including plans for student housing on campus by 2017.

“Nothing has more to do with our success and growth than your success! The fact that you are all doing so well in industry and becoming industry leaders says it all! I can’t emphasize that enough,” he said.

Dean Casper spoke about developments and growth at the School of Applied Life Science, including continued emphasis on the flipped classroom approach to teaching and learning.

“There are a lot of statistics I could mention, but one that I think speaks a lot about our success at SALS is that over 70 percent of alumni get their first job in the life sciences industry through a contact they made at KGI, whether it be at in internship or  during a Team Master’s Project (TMP).

In addition to the marketing panel comprised of Sanchez and LeRoy Navarro Jordan, MBS’04,  a territory manager at Biosense Webster, other panels included the Project Management Panel comprised of Mary Badelt, MBS ’02, an associate principal at Suttons Creek, Inc., and Pratishtha Duhan, MBS ’13, an associate project portfolio manager at Roche Molecular Diagnostics.

The panel on Regulatory Affairs was made up of Susan Alfs MBS ’12, a validation associate at Baxter International and Hutch Humphreys, MBS ’04, director, regulatory affairs at Sammumed LLC. When asked what he thought a recent graduate could do to make  their resume stand out when applying for an entry level regulatory position, Humphreys, a member of KGI’s Advisory Council, had this advice: “One of the things you can do it is to talk about specific projects you’ve done as a part of the curriculum. For example, if you’ve written and ODD (orphan drug designation) for a class, which it seems like most of you have, that’s definitely something you can highlight.”

To round out the day, Badelt and Kiirsten Suurkask, MBS ’04, a partner at PharmaBioSource, Inc., headed up a panel on Consulting, while Janet Lee, PPC ’12, a medical student at Western University of Health Sciences fielded questions at the PPCS in Medical School panel.

The conference, which was sponsored by the Office of Alumni Relations and Student Government, ended with a networking reception on the Alumni Patio, during which KGI students got another opportunity to make contacts and seek advice from alumni working in an area of interest in the life sciences industry.

The conference was a fantastic way for current students to build relationships with alumni,” said MBS student April Yang. “Being able to ask our panelists questions about their career trajectory was extremely valuable. Their passion for the industry and genuine responses to tough questions make me excited about what the future holds for me and all KGI graduates.”