An International Medical University (IMU) Pharmaceutical Chemistry alumni, Durga a/p Selvarajan who just graduated in Sept 2015 did her internship at Chemical Company of Malaysia (CCM), Bangi, Selangor. She recalls fondly her experiences during her internship. “Industrial training or better known as internship is a cherry on top of the resume. Through my internship, I realised that there is a big working world awaiting everyone. I prefer saying that it is challenging rather than tough so that it wouldn’t intimidate my juniors. It was definitely a great experience that I was given the opportunity to be a trainee at the well-known Chemical Company of Malaysia (CCM), Bangi, Selangor. 4 months of internship at this most significant local manufacturer of quality pharmaceutical products has definitely prepared me to face the real world! I was given the opportunity to be attached to the Quality Control Department where I worked with well experienced professionals in the Finished Goods and Microbiology Laboratories. The duties that were given to me by the executives were mainly tests to check on the quality of the pharmaceutical products. I was given the chance to do dissolution, disintegration, uniformity of weight and operate the Ultra Performance Liquid Chromatography (UPLC). I could literally go on with the list of duties that was given to me during this internship period.
The best feeling was when I could apply what I have learned at IMU in the last 3 years in my working life. Modules such as Pharmaceutics, Pharmaceutical Engineering and Microbiology have helped me a lot in making my work easier as I understood why certain tests were carried out.
Pharmaceutics module is the most significant module as it explains everything that happens in a pharmaceutical industry. The name of the module says it all! From Pharmaceutics 1 up to 4, you will learn literally everything on the formulation of a drug, lotion or any kind of pharmaceutical product. Furthermore, the practical sessions in IMU were very helpful as we were trained from Semester 1 on handling the apparatus and carrying out most of the experiments all by ourselves. Yes, we did complain on the continuous practical sessions in a week. There used to be at least 4 to 6 practical sessions in a week. I understand the reason now and am really grateful for allowing us to have hands on experience. When I was placed in the microbiology lab, once a week, I would go and collect water samples from all the 47 water points with my lab partner. This is to carry out the water test to ensure that the water used in manufacturing the products is safe. The moment I stepped into the production site, I became super excited because I saw all the pharmaceutical machines in huge sizes that I have seen in my Pharmaceutical Engineering notes. Pharmaceutical Engineering module has helped me in recognising the machines, such as tabletting machine, coater machine and blenders, at the production site in no time. Juniors might think why must they study all sorts of machines but trust me, you’re one step above the rest when you have all these essential basic knowledge. So, to my juniors, please remember all those machines and their benefits! It is definitely amazing to see how a product is manufactured from the scratch till it has been packed into a blister or bottle. I was brought around the production site for a short trip to show on how the system is in the production line. Stepping into the Pharmaceutical Industry has broadened my knowledge on how the industry works and how I should prepare myself for the real world. It was definitely the most educational experience of my undergraduate life. Internship has moulded me into someone wiser and more responsible as I got out of my comfort cocoon. It has taught me to handle my stress as it is not easy to work in a big pharmaceutical company.
I can proudly say I am an IMU graduate as the decision to choose my course, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, was definitely the best choice I have ever made in my life. It is such a well- structured course with various modules that gives a student the opportunity to widen their knowledge not only in Chemistry but also in communication skills, environment and business.
A good set of communication skills, initiative to learn anything and a positive mind will bring a student further in the working world. Lastly, working hard is the only way to success because there is no short cut in the working world. Hard work will surely pay off!