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Invaluable Internship Experience on Halal Pharmaceuticals

18 Aug 2017

An IMU Pharmaceutical Chemistry Alumna, Bavani Rajan, is currently working as a Regulatory Affairs Associate at Johnson & Johnson Sdn Bhd. During her studies at the IMU, she had the opportunity to acquire on the job training through industrial attachment. This attachment allows students to gain valuable industrial experience and build professional network for their careers. Bavani recalls the time she spends abroad during her internship. “The internship that I have undertaken at Simpor Pharma, a pioneering pharmaceutical and nutraceutical manufacturing plant in Brunei, has proven to be an invaluable experience for me, and is certainly a great stepping-stone. It was a big challenge to step up and take up the initiative to do my internship abroad.

During my 6 months internship, there were many challenges but I deemed all these challenges as an adventurous experience and learnt not to be afraid of them. At Simpor Pharma, I learnt to interact effectively with colleagues on a day-to-day basis, gained knowledge in a variety of tasks, and dealt with challenging situations professionally.

I am thankful to the opportunity given to me as an intern in the Quality Control Department. At the beginning, I had undergone training on current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP), Good Laboratory Practices (GLP) and Halal practices in a pharmaceutical industry. Later, I was tasked to do different testings in chemical and microbiology laboratories, working closely with the Quality Assurance and Production Department. Generally, I will conduct the tests using both in-house and compendia methods, troubleshoot and improve the methodology. Whereas in microbiology department, the routine tasks were conducting tests on purified water, incoming raw materials, finished products and stability studies. I was constantly trained in the operation and maintenance of instruments such as UV-visible spectrophotometer, Fourier transform infrared spectrometer (FTIR), Ultra-high Performance Liquid Chromatography (UHPLC) and gas chromatography (GC) instrumentations as well as Karl Fisher.I really enjoyed working with new and on-demand technologies, which will give me an advantage during my future employment. By the 3rd month of my internship, I was tasked to carry out the necessary quality measures for bulk production of softgel capsules and tablets for the EU and Middle East market. Every module that I have learnt in the pharmaceutical chemistry programme at IMU such as Pharmaceutical Engineering, Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Pharmaceutics, Physical Pharmacy and Ethics in Science have assisted me in different responsibilities. While undergoing these modules in university, I never knew where or how will it be applied in an industry, rather just grasping the knowledge. Being in an industrial placement has taught me and given me a clearer picture as to where the knowledge I have gained is to be practiced. Besides, I could not have successfully completed my internship without the continuous guidance and support from my manager and helpful colleagues who also gave me the space to learn and made my attachment journey much easier.

Furthermore, Problem Based Learning (PBL) sessions during my studies at IMU have helped me in critical thinking and problem solving while dealing with tough situations. In addition, soft skills which I have gained in IMU such as communication skills, teamwork, time management and professionalism, aided me when I was exposed to new work cultures and environments.

Besides mostly gaining educational skills, living abroad gave me the chance to get under the skin of different cultures. Stepping out of my comfort zone has also taught me to be disciplined and responsible. These experiences that I have developed have helped me in my career and life.

I rate my internship as the best thing that has happened to me professionally. I am truly blessed being trained in the emerging and rapidly growing field of Halal pharmaceuticals. Joining this programme is definitely one of the best decision that I have made.

Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to thank my mentor, Dr Cheong Kok Whye and all my lecturers for the invaluable guidance and education.”

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