This week the UK celebrates British Science Week – an event created by the British Science Association to showcase all things STEM. As well as providing educational resources and activity packs for schools, British Science Week is also smashing stereotypes about science.
At Madano we’re proud to work with some game changing clients in the field of science, engineering and technology. Preetam recently joined our Healthcare team and he tell us about his journey from studying science to working in communications within a scientific field.
What was your experience of science at school?
In school, science was mainly a subject that I used to do to get good grades and get to the other end! It was only during A-Levels where I got more involved in science – joining in during open days, tutoring younger students and discussing different news with teachers. I do think as a subject, it was hard to really enjoy what we learn in school. A lot of it was just reading a textbook and studying the marking scheme for exams. University does a much better job of making science exciting, but unfortunately, I feel at that point a lot of students don’t want to take it further.
Why did you decide to study Neuroscience at University?
Mental health has always been an interest of mine. I am a strong advocate for mental health and ensuring people treat it the same way as their physical health. During school and university, I saw friends and family suffer and went through dips myself, particularly during university. It was here where I thought to myself that this is an area that I feel very passionately about and one that I want to help in any way that I can. So, when it came to my undergraduate dissertation and my master’s degree, it was clear to me that I wanted to go into neuroscience areas so that I could help in the way that I enjoy; behind the scenes and researching.
Were you inspired by anyone or anything specifically?
I have never really considered being inspired by any one person, but I do think some of the passion comes from my sister. She is a pharmacist and used to come home with stories about how she ensured her patients got the help they need. She also used to express her joy when patients would thank her for helping and providing them with their quality-of-life changing medication. That feeling of helping people is a big thing in science and that’s something that I feel quite strongly about.
British Science Week has ‘smashing stereotypes’ as one of its themes – are there are science stereotypes that you have encountered in your own science journey?
One of the biggest stereotypes is that scientists are boring, and they don’t do much outside of research but that’s a very big lie! From my time in university, I met plenty of lecturers who have done plenty outside of the lab: one has a published poetry book and owns a vineyard back in Italy, another has climbed many of the mountains in the UK. When I was in university, he had plans to extend that list abroad. I would say that scientists are a lot cooler than some may say or think!
What was it like working in a scientific field (pharmaceutical)?
It was great to see how a pharmaceutical company works from the inside. Apart from the laboratory work, seeing how all the other departments work together; medical, marketing, research, and development etc. was really interesting.
As part of the Competitive Intelligence team, my main day-to-day work was observing competitors who were bringing generics (medications using the same active ingredient as ours) and how they brought them to market. I also monitored the market and determined what the company could do to “combat” issues and maintain being the company with the widest reach.
What made you decide to use your science background to work in communications?
I’ve always had an interest in research, publications and medical editing and being at the forefront of breakthrough science and novel medications, in whatever way I could. At first, I was unsure about what my career path would be, so I put myself in a position where I was able to try things out and see what felt right.
My undergraduate degree was very broad. For my Masters, I wanted to specialise in a particular area (neuroscience). My Masters was completely laboratory based which showed me that working in the lab was not for me and I really didn’t enjoy it!
My job in pharmaceuticals showed me the difference side of communications, one that taught me a range of skills (client based and content creation) that I used to get the role I’m in now. Madano is the perfect blend of communications + client facing roles, alongside working with ground-breaking science companies that will innovate the medical world!
What are you most excited about working in communications?
I’m excited to learn! I see every opportunity to learn new things and develop as a person both outside of work and in work. I’m also very excited to work on the accounts in the company and help bring interesting and innovative science to the public, to continue developing the medical world and progressing. I’m also excited to meet many different people who come from all different backgrounds but managed to arrive at the same place as I am, working in communications. I’m excited to see where the role takes me!
Any advice for buddying scientists?
I would say the best advice I can give is that your degree doesn’t necessarily dictate what you do as a career. The science you learn is a great base to build upon, but I think the most valuable thing to take away from university is that all skills are transferable. No matter what the skill is, if you can relate it to a skill within a description for a job, you can really apply for anything that you really want to do. Of course, if the role is something very specific getting a little bit of experience there will help but transferable skills are extremely valuable!
Madano is one of the UK’s leading strategic communications consultancies. We simplify complexity within highly regulated sectors, primarily in energy & environment, technology, and healthcare. To get in touch with our healthcare team, email us at [email protected] or check out our current healthcare opportunities here.