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Exploring the Motivations and Advice of IMU Pharmaceutical Chemistry Students

12 Sep 2023

A group of 4 students from the PC220 cohort seized the opportunity to embark on a 4-month internship with Kotra Pharma (M) Sdn Bhd, commencing on November 14, 2022, and concluding on March 15, 2023. For these students, joining the IMU Pharmaceutical Chemistry programme in 2020 had introduced them to various learning approaches. However, the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic led to a significant shift towards online learning for most educational activities. Nonetheless, these students, particularly as they entered their third year of study, continued to have opportunities for practical, hands-on learning in laboratories, field visits, and internships.


Here, students discuss their motivations for pursuing Pharmaceutical Chemistry and offer advice to incoming juniors.

Why Pharmaceutical Chemistry is the Programme of My Choice?

Henry Wong Wai Sam

Due to personal experience, I developed an interest in the cosmeceutical industry, which further motivated me to pursue the Pharmaceutical Chemistry undergraduate programme at IMU. I realised that IMU is one of the few higher education institutions offering a cosmeceutical industry-related programme. Hence, I enrolled into the Foundation in Science at IMU with a clear goal of studying Pharmaceutical Chemistry for my undergraduate studies.


Coincidentally, my interest in pharma companies started to grow during the COVID-19 pandemic and the curriculum of the  Pharmaceutical Chemistry programme spurred my interest. Without any hesitation, I chose to accept the offer by Kotra Pharma (M) Sdn. Bhd. for my internship as I am curious about the operation of a pharmaceutical company, as well as to allow myself to understand more about my future career.

Tay Chia Pao

Time flies! It feels like only yesterday when I was just starting my degree. Recalling my journey three years back, I was still struggling in considering and choosing which course suited me the best after my pre-university studies. The ultimate reason that I chose Pharmaceutical Chemistry is because I am interested in Biology and Chemistry and always curious in drug discovery and development. Besides, the pharmaceutical industry is an excellent field to venture into as it is continuously growing and in demand. In Malaysia, there are only two universities offering this niche programme and one of them is IMU. Hence, I decided to join IMU.


Through serendipitous encounters, I met lecturers who were consistently caring and supportive all the time, whether it pertained to academics or our well-being. They always made a dedicated effort to address our concerns and queries whenever we faced difficulties in a particular subject.

Teoh Kah Yee

(in the photo above)

Frankly speaking, becoming a chemist was not my childhood dream. However, I am immensely grateful to have met Ms Mei, my foundational chemistry lecturer, who guided me onto this path. I discovered great enjoyment in sketching chemical structures and observing their interactions. This led me to consider a career in medicinal chemistry or pharmaceutical chemistry, as I longed to be involved in the exciting world of drug discovery and development. With this goal in mind, I set my sights on studying Pharmaceutical Chemistry at IMU and Pharmaceutical Science at another university. After careful consideration, I ultimately decided to enrol at IMU due to its exemplary reputation as a leading institution in the healthcare field.

Lee Yen Mae

Chemistry has always been my favourite subject since high school. Luckily enough, IMU offers the Pharmaceutical Chemistry (PC) programme that allows me to pursue my passion for chemistry. I joined the PC programme amid the COVID-19 Pandemic that turned all classes online. Beginning the third year of my study, we managed to attend more physical classes including laboratory sessions, tutorials, and even field visit to a  research organisation outside IMU. At least, I had the opportunity to experience the ‘university life’ I expected during my final year.

Advice to Juniors

Henry Wong Wai Sam

Never be scared to make mistakes during your internship. Think of it as the place to learn and overcome your weakness before heading to the workplace after graduation. Most importantly, be curious, do not limit yourself to what you have been exposed to, and take the initiative to learn beyond your assigned job.>

Tay Chia Pao

  • Show initiative and maintain a sense of curiosity
  • Never be shy to ask for help when you have questions or difficulties.
  • Grab every learning opportunity.
  • Be more proactive to networking with your colleagues.

Teoh Kah Yee

To my future junior students, I would like to offer some advice: Never underestimate your capabilities! Always have confidence in yourself, as you are far more capable than you may think. Never hesitate to seize opportunities to enrich your life by participating in extracurricular activities. There is so much fun to be had beyond studying, so don’t let yourself become too absorbed in academic stress.

Lee Yen Mae

Three years of studying, learning, and socialising at IMU pass by quickly. Participating in extracurricular activities, organising events with friends, and meeting new people have given me pleasant memories that I will not get from academics alone. I have also become more outgoing throughout the years of participating in events and interacting with others.


Additionally, the self-directed learning at IMU has enhanced my time management skill which plays a significant role in the accomplishment of tasks efficiently and effectively. I am now better at prioritisation which improves productivity, thus having a healthy work-life balance.


Most of all, after going through all the challenges, I have improved the most in being resilient—able to adapt to difficulties. Problems and hardships are inevitable in life, but resilience can give us the ability to overcome them, find enjoyment in life, and cope with stress better. There is no end in resilience; hence I aim to become more resilient after experiencing every stress, adversity, and trauma. All we need is to believe in ourselves and take up the challenge!

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