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A Career in Sales after a Degree in Biomedical Science

16 Mar 2017

We are always pleased to see many of our alumni returning to their alma mater to celebrate their juniors’ and siblings’ graduation whenever one takes place in IMU. One of the alumni who did this at the October 2016 graduation was Nicole Chew Ling Li who is currently working at All Eights (M) Sdn Bhd. As she was busy celebrating and photo taking with her juniors, we managed to pull her aside for a short Q&A session. How well has IMU prepared you for work?

 On presentation skills:
IMU really brushed up my presentation skills! I rarely get cold feet anymore these days when I am presenting as I believe I was well trained during my degree on how to be professional in any given situation. My clients even agreed that graduates from IMU excel in academic and practical knowledge as well as their presentation skills.
On time management and multi-tasking:
I believe most of the IMU-ians know very well on how hectic it can be when we were in IMU. We could have tons of reports, PBLs, assignments, class tests, and presentations, all happening within a week while at the same time, we were also participating in or heavily involved with several extra-curriculum activities! However, as a student, everyone knows that their focus is on the exam. We all put in our biggest effort for the End of Semester examinations just to make sure we will all pass our papers. I am glad that I have survived those days and in hindsight, those were the most practical skills I have learnt in IMU.
On working as a team:
During my time in IMU, I had lots of opportunities to do what I love. One of it was event planning and the biggest lesson learnt from organising orientation for my juniors was working and communicating with all the people coming from different programmes, background, attitude and style. I’ve developed a strong interpersonal skill from this as I had to communicate with the various committees, handle conflicts with critical thinking, lead the programme and motivate the team to focus on organising the event successfully. It was crucial to have the ability to recognise, understand and respect the different viewpoints. It is my strong belief that trust is the key factor in any given working relationships that are successful. Of course, not forgetting to appreciate everyone’s contribution. I would not be able to pull off the entire event all on my own, I am nothing without the support from my team.


After the quick interview, while we were preparing the article, Ling Li further wrote in saying that she would like to take the opportunity to express her appreciation to some of her mentors and lecturers for guiding her during her time studying biomedical science at IMU. In her own words:

I would like to thank my mentor, Dr Chen Yu Sui, for guiding me onto the right path during my degree education in IMU and beyond. She has groomed me to become a sound professional and opened my eyes to new opportunities and validated my strengths.
To Dr Lim Chooi Ling, one of the most honourable lecturers I have ever met in IMU. She is conscientious about her responsibilities and her passion in sharing/lecturing won the hearts of all. I believe most of us from cohort BM112 were regretful that Dr Lim did not attend our convocation, thus, I would like to express my gratitude to Dr Lim through this article.
To Prof Stephen and Dr Fabian, my dearest research supervisors. My first research paper was published under their superb guidance! Our affiliation did not stop after my graduation, they continue showing support by becoming my customers and will always make themselves available to meet.
I would also like to express my appreciation to Prof Peter Barling, who was my Semester 5 review article supervisor. I will never forget about the incident where I had a panic attack during my presentation which he attended. I was truly sorry that it happened, but I was also very grateful for his support mentally, physically and psychologically. Thank you for being such a supportive supervisor!

My advice to the juniors:

Keep your options open, do not limit yourself in what you learn, and learn to see the bigger picture.

8 When I was a student, I could only see one path as a biomedical science student and that is to work as a Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT), who can only work in either a diagnostic lab or a research lab. After months of applying for MLT jobs, I noticed that the pay is not up to my expectation, especially after taking into consideration the cost of living, it was hardly enough to make ends meet. I then chose to be a product / medical sales executive, which was a job that I have never ever considered. 19 And guess what? After being in sales for more than a year, this job actually exposed me to a whole new world. I have the opportunity to learn about sales, marketing, operations, inventory, purchasing, application management and etc. Besides that, it has also led me to have better discipline, become self-motivated and a goal driven person. Many think that sales jobs earn more than lab jobs. Through the conversations with my friends, the Y-generation mainly focuses on the pay when they are looking for jobs. Undeniably, salary is a very important figure and factor, but it is still not everything. The more pay you get, the more stress you have to endure. Having a clear career advancement is more important than just how much you earn. 6  

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