PHASTAR Graduate Programme – Lisa's story
Starting a career in industry can be a daunting experience at any time of life, but especially when it is your first full time job. Going from being a full-time student and enjoying the student life is very different to experiencing the 9-5 day job. From my time so far, I believe that the first few years in industry can shape the direction that a statistician takes. While at university I was mainly surrounded by peers of the same age and level of experience - now that I’m in industry, I have found I have been able to draw on the different levels of experience and areas of knowledge there is in PHASTAR. Here I will discuss the decisions I made while at university which lead me into statistics and subsequently working at PHASTAR, along with some of my experiences from my first year.
I happened to fall into statistics by accident. By my third year at Lancaster University I was starting to panic about what I wanted to do and after selecting mainly statistics-based modules for my third year, I realized this was something I enjoyed. I stayed at Lancaster to complete my MSc in statistics, and chose the medical pathway for my module options, studying topics such as principals of epidemiology, clinical trials, and longitudinal data analysis. I found this offered me a good foundation of statistical knowledge and have often referred back to my lecture notes while at work.
Lancaster offered weekly career lectures where companies would come and speak to us about their company and the jobs they offered. I had key questions which I would look out for being answered during these presentations, what sort of job does the company do/offer? What is the progression like? What is the dress code? Are they a sociable company? How many are they hiring? PHASTAR answered all of these within their presentation and more and with each question they answered I found myself being drawn more and more to the company.
I emailed my CV to PHASTAR a couple of days after the presentation and was invited to the interview in London. I found the interview at PHASTAR to be highly enjoyable compared to interviews I had attended at other companies. The whole atmosphere was relaxed, with candidates talking to each other and with those from PHASTAR who had come to interview us. The day consisted of a series of tasks, with an interview at the end. For all the other interviews I had attended I usually felt extremely nervous and not at all myself when attending, however for PHASTAR I felt completely myself and happy to be there, which is a reflection of the company that they can make you so relaxed during something which normally is so daunting.
Luckily, I found out the next day that I was offered a job with PHASTAR which was great to hear as normally you could wait for weeks for feedback from companies. I started at PHASTAR in September 2018 after the completion of my MSc. The first few weeks consisted of going to Glasgow for training, before joining the Macclesfield office. The training that PHASTAR offers is like no other - in all my interviews I asked the companies what training they offer -most replied that they could provide a few days here and there. In total I spent six weeks in Glasgow, being trained in various programming languages, industry requirements and other important topics. SAS programming is highly prevalent in the pharmaceutical industry and I had very little knowledge about it going into training. I can now use SAS to create tables, graphs and produce highly complex statistical analysis which is all down to the training we received.
The six weeks in Glasgow were not just about the training, they were also about us as graduates settling in and spending time together and with those in the Glasgow office. I had even attended the same interview as some of the other graduates, which was lovely as we felt we already knew each other. We had our weekends free and would often spend time exploring Glasgow and during the week we would often go out for food, pub quizzes and karaoke nights - we all still stay in touch to this day. PHASTAR is a very sociable company and we often have different events throughout the year such as summer and winter parties, this makes the work enjoyable as you are always looking forward to something.
During my first year at PHASTAR I have been involved in a variety of different projects, all of which have challenged me in different ways. I have been given opportunities to perform complex statistical analysis, sample size calculations and investigation and I am currently working in a small team to produce pharmacokinetic outputs, which involves working on many studies at once as these have such a short turn over time. Everyone in each the offices has different levels of experience and everyone is always willing to help each other out and provide support where necessary.
While the work can sometimes be difficult and challenging, I have fully enjoyed working on improving my statistical skills and embracing every opportunity to learn something new. This is a company which puts their employees first and you feel this the first moment you start working here. I never thought I would enjoy my first job as much as I have, and I definitely recommend joining PHASTAR.
PHASTAR’s UK-based graduate programme has been running successfully for the past six years. We offer graduates tailor-made training that allows the best start in your CRO career. You will be given a six-week intense training SAS course delivered by our expert trainer, followed by our unique internal mentorship programme. You will be offered a competitive salary and a full selection of benefits, as well as your choice of UK office to work in! To find out more see our graduate page.