Entrepreneurial, leadership and management skills are increasingly expected to be part of the graduate’s abilities and skill set. In the pharmaceutical sector, within a year of professional registration, many pharmacy graduates will find themselves in roles in which they are expected to effectively address situations with legal, ethical, operational, human resource and financial management aspects. It is therefore highly desirable that pharmacy students acquire and develop leadership and managerial acumen throughout their programme of study. From the introduction of the IMU BPharm programme in 2004, the curriculum has included a Year 3 module on Business Management. This module is also taken by students in Pharmaceutical Chemistry. In 2017 we introduced a marketing project in which students are challenged to formulate and present a realistic marketing strategy for a non-prescription pharmaceutical product. In designing such a strategy students need to draw on product knowledge, management and decision making ability; imagination, creativity and ability to think innovatively and laterally. This project is seen as integrative, simulating real-world challenges whilst providing opportunities to make management decisions in a low-risk setting.
Students worked in teams and presented their strategies as posters, explaining them to judges in a final judging session on 29 September 2017. We elicited the help of senior managers from CCM Pharma – Yee Kar Ming (Manager, Formulation, Research & Development Technologies), Eileen Ong (Trade Marketing Manager), Yap Mei Sing (Senior Executive, Brands) – to critically evaluate the posters and presentations, and to provide feedback. The judging session also saw the participation of Prof Peter Pook, (Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic, IMU), A/Prof Mohd Zulkefeli Mat Jusoh (Dean, School of Pharmacy), Prof Mallikarjuna Rao Pichika (Associate Dean, Research and Consultancy) and faculty members of the Pharmaceutical Technology Department.