In 2012, our Senior Key Account Manager Hannah Oakley found Balraj Rai, now a Senior Manager at GSK, his first role in science. He had just finished his degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences and was keen to get started in the sector, Hannah helped him find his first role at Eurofins in Genomic Sales where he worked for a year. Over seven years later, he has fulfilled his goal of working with GSK gaining a breadth of experience.
We recently caught up with Balraj to find out what his current job involves, what gave him the inspiration to pursue this career and how he got there.
1. What is your name and job title?
Balraj Rai– Senior Manager in Pharmacovigilance (PV) (under the Global Safety and Medical Governance Department at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK))
2. What does the company you work at do?
Research, develop and produce consumer health, vaccine and pharmaceutical products.
3. What does your job involve? What is a typical day like in your role?
Safety Governance is a critical area of Global Medical which has accountability for oversight of the Global PV system across the entire lifecycle of a product, for vaccines, pharmaceuticals, and consumer health.
Safety governance is accountable for setting the global strategy to ensure that GSK is complaint with Pharmacovigilance regulations worldwide; thus, ensuring that GSK can continue to develop and market products. The role supports the Head of Safety and Medical Governance and the EU Qualified Person for Pharmacovigilance (QPPV).
Activities include monitoring the adverse side effects of marketed and developing medicines. Managing major company changes such as mergers and regulatory changes due to Brexit. Working with medical governance risk management, central safety teams and supporting Local Pharmacovigilance process updates. Supporting audits and inspections. Addressing emerging safety issues/concerns.
4. What do you most enjoy about this job and what is the hardest aspect?
I enjoy being involved in a global network, having exposure to GSK sites around the world. The area of safety is complex and learning how everything works globally can be challenging but getting involved in a number of diverse projects helps facilitate learning.
5. What made you want to pursue this career?
I have been interested in pharmacovigilance for a long time as it makes a big difference to patients’ lives and is an area that requires close monitoring of local and global regulations which ensures the company can continue to operate on a global scale.
6. You have worked with CK for quite a while, the Recruitment Consultants at CK remember helping you to get your first couple of roles in industry, can you tell us about how you got into this career and the route you took.
I completed a Bachelors’s in Pharmaceutical science, during this time I attended an industrial conference at GSK, where I felt very inspired and recall hearing about Pharmacovigilance. Following this, I began my first full-time role in Genomic sales. I went on to build experience in both technology and laboratory setting before completing a Masters in Pharmaceutical Quality by Design. Following this, I was selected as a candidate for GSK and was offered a role to work in Pharma Supply Chain. Here I gained experience in New Product Introduction and the inner workings of the Pharma Industry.
7. What can this type of job lead to?
This can lead on to Director level roles.
8. What advice would you give to somebody who is just starting their career or perhaps looking for their first couple of roles?
Don’t be afraid to try something new and something that is outside of your comfort zone. Building experience and enhancing your soft skills are just as important as gaining technical skills and knowledge.
9. It would be lovely if you had a review or testimonial for the CK Group
I am very thankful to Hannah Oakley and the CK group for helping me gain my first role in the science sector. Hannah was always happy to help whenever I had any questions and the role helped me appreciate the way in which laboratories operated and introduced me to how a large organisation operated on a daily basis.