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My IMU Pharmaceutical Chemistry Degree Led Me to a Career in Analytical Development

11 Aug 2022

My name is Natasha Stella Tibon. I am a graduate of the IMU Pharmaceutical Chemistry and am currently a R&D Analytical Chemist working at Novugen Pharma.


Since secondary school, I was fascinated with how medicines were made, how scientists develop them and how they work in our body. This curiosity led me to pursue a degree related to drug development. I am extremely blessed to be sponsored by Yayasan Peneraju to pursue my studies in Pharmaceutical Chemistry (PC) at IMU.


The PC programme has shaped me and equipped me with the necessary skills to excel in my current job role. The programme is designed with various learning opportunities and platforms for students to develop to sharpen their skills, from the basics of analytical knowledge and laboratory skills to the soft skills of critical thinking and communication skills.


Some great examples are the PBL (Problem-Based Learning) sessions and reverse-classrooms (also known as flipped classrooms) whereby I have to prepare my notes beforehand and have a student-led discussion with fellow students under the supervision of lecturers. The sessions will start with us presenting our findings relating to the problem statement/topic of discussion, followed by a Q&A session. As these are student-led discussion, we are, in a way, forced to take the initiative to drive the discussion ourselves. Looking back, it is through these sessions that I learn my communication skills, on how to present my findings boldly to an audience and to persuade them of my opinions.


As a chemist, it is an important skill to communicate sound science and present solutions to the problems that I faced at work.

Natasha Stella Tibon shares her experience studying pharmaceutical chemistry at IMU.

Not only that, working collaboratively is also a must-have skill when working in a team, and this skill is developed extensively in the PC programmes through group projects, lab practicals and group presentations.

Natasha Stella Tibon shares her experience studying pharmaceutical chemistry at IMU.

Another memorable experience during my study is the Industry Talks whereby experts from various industries are invited to share their experiences and insights. I always look forward to these talks as I can listen to them and learn from their sharing of unique insights of their respective industries and I am able to interact with them during Q&A. It was through these sessions that I am able to catch a small glimpse of how the Industry works from different perspectives, from a community pharmacist, a consultant of clinical solutions, and a manager at a R&D company focussing on oncology products.

Natasha Stella Tibon shares her experience studying pharmaceutical chemistry at IMU.

One of my personal beliefs that I still hold on till today is this – Growth will not begin in comfort zones. To improve and grow, whether in studies or in life, it will always be inconvenient, challenging and sometimes require sacrifices. It may even be painful to a certain point, but I believe it will be worth it in the end.


As for myself now, as I continue in my career in analytical development, I aim to continue to stretch myself in learning project management and increasing my regulatory knowledge.

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