By Brian Castle
For the last couple of years, Thought Leader Select has been a proud partner of the Medical Science Liaison Society, a new non-profit purposed for lifting up the medical science liaison profession worldwide. It’s a great organization, focused on two areas, networking and education, to provide a platform for MSLs to advance their standing in the life sciences.
As part of his mission to advance the profession from an educational standpoint, the organization’s chairman, Dr. Samuel Dyer, has published his first book. The Medical Science Liaison Career Guide: How to Break into Your First Role is the ultimate how-to guide for people looking to join this relatively young profession. Dyer’s love of the MSL profession, launched in the late Sixties at Upjohn, is evident just in the way he approaches this guide. This is the type of work that fulfills the mission of his organization—lifting up the profession globally—in a way that has a multiplier effect.
The Medical Science Liaison Career Guide: How to Break into Your First Role is the gift that has great potential to keep on giving, influencing generations of MSLs to come, as it’s squarely-aimed at helping superior talent from across the health spectrum break into critical roles at life sciences companies, with the opportunity to collaborate and guide relationships with key opinion leaders at regional, national, and global levels. He addresses PharmDs and research scientists specifically, people with his same background, who, like Dr. Dyer himself, may be currently ignorant of the roles that MSLs play in bringing better health outcomes to patient populations (or even ignorant of the role’s existence).
Perhaps the strongest asset this guide has to offer is its thoroughness. I had the opportunity to read a late, pre-publication draft, and I was immediately struck by the “no stone left unturned” aspect of this work. Dyer brings his own wealth of experience as an MSL and medical affairs executive, as well as the information trove of his connection to the global medical affairs community, to bear for future generations of would-be MSLs. In addition to covering the high-level information, such as types of degrees preferred by medical affairs hiring managers to the different ways in which MSLs perform their roles at different companies (the life sciences is no monolith in this regard), Dr. Dyer is unafraid to dive into the minutiae that could prevent an otherwise-great candidate from landing a breakthrough role in the MSL profession.
He details the hiring process from crafting the perfect cover letter and curriculum vitae for consideration to applying the proper research on companies and their products during the different phases of the interview process. While Dyer delivers on the old-school red meat for job-seekers, such as what to wear for face-to-face interviews, he succeeds on the cutting-edge stuff as well, with a thorough dissection of strategies for leveraging the major social networks of Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
The Medical Science Liaison Career Guide: How to Break into Your First Role reads as the work of someone not simply content to climb the mountain for himself, but to give a hand to others attempting to climb the same mountain. This book is blessed by the author’s scientific precision, as well as his appreciation of good old fashioned research. The central theme of The Medical Science Liaison Career Guide: How to Break into Your First Role is know yourself, know your science, and know your prospective employers and their portfolios of products in your therapeutic area of expertise. Couple that with the revelation of the secret recipes that have won the day for some and sabotaged otherwise-deserving candidates, and The Medical Science Liaison Career Guide: How to Break into Your First Role becomes a must-read for those looking to break into this high-impact profession in the medical field.
Brian Castle is Director of Global Marketing and Client Relations at Thought Leader Select, a company focused on optimizing key opinion leader relationships with companies in the life sciences.