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Developing Ambition as a Motivation to Overcome Adversity

02 Mar 2023

Since childhood, my interest to be a medicinal scientist begun after reading Alexander Fleming’s scientific breakthrough of discovering penicillin, the world’s first antibiotic. Amongst the abundantly available STEM undergraduate degrees offered by several universities in Malaysia, I browsed through IMU’s Pharmaceutical Chemistry programme and decided to join it. Particularly, the subjects that caught my attention were the modules relating to pharmacology such as pharmacokinetics and pharmacognosy as well as drug formulation/design including several pharmaceutics modules. Time flies quickly. It feels like only yesterday when I was still contemplating my degree of choice. Through thick and thin, I have successfully graduated from my alma mater.


Internship experience:


During the sixth semester of the IMU Pharmaceutical Chemistry programme, I had an excellent internship opportunity at Novo Nordisk (Pharma) Malaysia Sdn Bhd, one of many top multinational pharmaceutical companies (MNCs) in Malaysia. My role as a Quality Assurance/Pharmacovigillance intern have taught me the importance of product/process quality & drug safety in the pharmaceutical industry. Indefinitely, strong emphasis is highlighted in archiving/documentation tasks to avoid protocol violations and serious legal/regulatory issues involving fraud and malpractice. Thus, in daily operations, it becomes second nature for every colleague to abide by essential regulatory rules such as Good Documentation Practices (GDocP) and Good Distribution Practices (GDP).


Moreover, I had benefitted a lot from the Pharmaceutics modules (I-IV) taught in the Pharmaceutical Chemistry programme that provides an in-depth explanation & extensive theoretical concept on pharmaceutical innovation and products. Knowledge retention on some of these essential topics granted a head start advantage for my initial internship interview session.


Approximately after 1 month, I managed to enhance my capabilities to identity/differentiate the various marketed diabetes medication based on its mechanism types; the main active ingredient involved and also basic concomitant medical conditions. Hence, in everyday work, my familiarity on distinct pharmaceutical terminologies have enabled myself to understand tasks involving data verification/validation or adverse drug reaction reporting.

Kudos to both of my internship supervisors, Liyana and Ling Fay Jin. Under their wing, I gradually adapted to the dynamic working culture by performing well on the assigned tasks. Their professionalism and transparency are highly admirable to learn from. Over lunch conversations, they were open minded to share about their working experiences in searching for greener pastures.  Also, I give my thanks to Dr Keng Pei Sin, the internship coordinator for her amazing support throughout my internship semester.

A visit from IMU lecturer during  NovoNordisk internship 
From left to right:
Ang Kin Loon;
Dr Keng Pei Sin (internship coordinator from IMU); 
Liyana Othman (reporting manager at NovoNordisk);
Ling Fay Jin (second manager at NovoNordisk)

Encouragement to juniors:

Whilst embarking on this journey, I too experienced countless discouragements and setbacks whether it’s about the heavy pressure on maintaining each semester’s GPA or the mounting anxiety about the future. Tempting as it is, the thought of throwing in the towel may frequently linger in our minds whenever we face tough struggles. Yet, amidst the uncertainty, everyone must strive to great lengths to perfect our craft, regardless of one’s ability. At some point, we must take a hard reality check on our overall aspects including strengths, weakness and potential through trial and error for progressive improvement. Thus, take pride in your own endeavours to continuously demand more of yourself because rewarding things in life are never handed on a silver platter.

Hats off to every lecturer and professor that had guided our PC219 batch in ensuring the teaching and learning activities were steady and interactive throughout the global pandemic.

As a token of appreciation, I would give a special shoutout to my amazing mentor: Dr Cheong Kok Whye. He is proactive in responding my queries regarding lecture topics and assignments. Noteworthily, his constructive criticisms and feedback on my academic performances have challenged me to examine my own study habits. In our mentor-mentee sessions, frequent discussions about future trends and having the chance to hear his sharing about his PhD experiences have inspired me to strategise plans and set achievable goals. Certainly, it was a privilege to be one of his mentees.

Future aspirations:
Anticipating with excitement and enthusiasm, I look forward to my next employment at MSD Malaysia Sdn Bhd. Perhaps one day, I may consider the idea of a postgraduate degree due to my strong interest in medicinal innovation and health policies. Whenever circumstances in life presents an opportunity, I yearn to learn steadily and seize my chances. With that, my alumni sharing ends with a quote:


Rest at the end, not in the middle.

Written by Ang Kin Loon (PC219), who graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Pharmaceutical Chemistry
(IMU) in November 2022

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