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Internship: An Important Aspect of Learning for IMU Pharmaceutical Chemistry Students

24 May 2021

In our dynamic economy, the job market is very competitive, and often this proves to be a tough learning curve for new graduates. Thus, providing internship opportunities  to these graduates as part of their degree is a key part of their university  experience. This is important as it provides an intergration of knowledge and theory with skills and practical application in community or professional settings. IMU Pharmaceutical Chemistry students share their internship experience here.

Angelina How Pei Li

The BSc (Hons) in Pharmaceutical Chemistry final year student, Angelina How Pei Li (Cohort: PC118) conducted her 4-month internship at Top Glove Berhad from 15.6.2020 to 3.10.2020. There are internship trainees from other university having their internship at Top Glove and all internship trainees will required to do a presentation at the company before completion of their internship programme. The objective of the presentation was to showcase the projects that the interns did, skills that they have learnt from the internship and sharing of their experience gained from the training. This platform was also provides an opportunity for the trainees to showcase on their presentation skill, as well as the capability to think quickly on their feet, as the questions given could be out of scope.

The presentation was attended by the supervisors of the interns, as well as the colleagues from different departments and different factories. The audience were given an option to join via Zoom or in person.

Pei Li was selected as the Best Presenter amongst the trainees from different departments and Universities which have participated in the presentation. The results was achieved by votes from the audience.

Ashley Foo

IMU is a good institution for learning especially if you’re going into the healthcare scene. I have the opportunity to conduct my internship in the Engagement Specialists Team, GSK. In the compliance and regulatory aspects of pharmaceuticals, my knowledge gained from Pharmaceutical Chemistry programme allows me to understand the key criteria required by healthcare professionals or external experts upon engagement. This would be via contract handling, conflict of interest documents and the types of services that can be provided based on their experience in medical publishing, their experience with specific country healthcare ways of working, medical services, as well as promotional services. This challenges me to refresh my fundamentals in the development of an FDA approved product, the different types of products and uses, and the economical aspect of product marketing and costing with respect to the country needs and demands.

During this internship, I also learn to understand the importance of each role and stage of a pharmaceutical product as well as the method at which a pharmaceutical company and its people work together from one department to another to reach patients and consumers around the world. .

This helps me appreciate the laboratory skills I practise in university and the realities of working in healthcare companies which emphasises the strictest regulation when it comes to any decision-making, significantly from the product education and marketing involved when healthcare professionals are engaged in medical or promotional services across the world.  I’m glad to be able to have such opportunities to conduct my 4 months internship training in GSK that have opened real life experiences to me during these 3 years in IMU.

Fong Kar Wai

I was privileged to be given the opportunity to have my industrial placement in Nestle Manufacturing (M) Sdn Bhd, as an intern in the quality assurance department. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, the Department I was placed in would be more suited for students with a food science background. As I have presumed, the whole 16 weeks of industrial placement wasn’t easy. In addition to the limited knowledge I have in the food industry (which I have to read up on), the tasks assigned was not easy.

However, this is where I really appreciate what the Pharmaceutical Chemistry programme has prepared me for. To excel in my role, crucial skills such as good presentation, effective communication as well as taking initiative are required. And all these, I have managed to learn and train myself via the various PBL sessions and presentations required as part of our coursework.

The industrial placement is one of the key highlights of the Pharmaceutical Chemistry programme. It is where we put into practice the knowledge we have learnt, or as I would like to call it: ‘when theory meets responsibility’. Not only was I given insight into the working life in the industry, but allows me to have a clearer perspective on my career trajectory.

Ooi Kit Sak

Scientific discovery and development have always intrigued me. My time doing the final year research project in this programme has definitely brought out the most of my penchant for chemistry and analytical research.

As part of the final year modules, I have chosen to work on a research project along with my internship attachment at Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB). This project involves the quantitative examination of pharmacokinetic parameters to compare the bioavailability in rat plasma of vitamin E homologue, -tocotrienol in normal and nano-formulated form. I was fortunate enough to be able to work and acquire fruitful hands-on knowledge on various analytical instrumentation such as the high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) instrument, learning extraction methods, as well as understanding analytical techniques in testing clinical samples.

Working with supervisors and guidance along the way, not only enabled me to ameliorate laboratory practical skills learnt from classes but to improve scientific and literature research skills as well. This experience definitely opened my perception in drug nano-formulation development, pharmacometabolomic studies and many more.

Without a doubt it has certainly become one of my stepping stone in preparing me for various pharmaceutical disciplines whether in industries or academia in the future.

Sherlyn Chan Huei Shan

I did my internship placement at R&D department of Sky Nutraceuticals Sdn Bhd Penang. It is an OEM company which manufactures functional food, nutritional food and health supplements. During my internship, I learnt to formulate direct consuming powders, powdered drinks, jelly strips, capsules and ready to drink beverages. I was given tasks to prepare capsules during my internship.

From the knowledge I learnt in Pharmaceutics module, and some guidance given from my supervisor, I was able to prepare those capsules manually with recommended dosage of the active ingredients. One of the most important things I have learnt during my internship is that determination and persistence were the dominant qualities should be found in R&D personnel. Failures are common during formulation development and problems that arise due to stability issues are often found. Therefore, it is our duty to keep trying to adjust the formulations or the method of preparation until we get the results.

Furthermore, I developed good communication skills as I liaised with the sales department to understand the customers’ needs and requirements regarding the product to be formulated. As it was a food and nutraceuticals company, I had to deal with a lot of raw materials which I did not really exposed to in the formulation of the products. To overcome this situation, I prepared a notebook and wrote down all the functions of all the raw materials whenever I was free. Soon, I was able to develop the formulation with specific functions without guidance from my supervisor.

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