How Mentorship Helped an MCPHS Grad Launch a Career at Merck
Hardik Goswami, originally from India, earned his PHEP before working for one of the world's largest pharma companies.
Hardik Goswami, a native of Vijapur, India, wanted to come to the US for graduate school. He had completed his undergraduate degree in pharmacy at Hemchandracharya North Gujarat University. But his visa request was denied twice. He decided to start a master's degree in pharmaceutical technology, formulation, and development at home in India.
Hardik learned about Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) and, though he'd just about given up on the dream of furthering his education in America, he decided to try one last time. He applied to the University and was accepted into the MCPHS pharmaceutical sciences program. The school then gave him an opportunity to pursue a Doctor of Philosophy in Pharmaceutical Economics and Policy (PHEP) degree. With his acceptance into a doctoral program, he was able to get a visa, and he set off for the United States.
Stepping stone to a great career
The PHEP program gave Hardik an opportunity to stand out as a cutting-edge researcher and put himself in position for top pharmaceutical jobs after graduation. He says he saw it as "a steppingstone to enter into the corporate pharmaceutical world."
But it was difficult at first, and he felt overwhelmed with unfamiliar information; it seemed to Hardik like he was always playing catch-up. What's more, he was shy when he first got to MCPHS, so making friends was a struggle initially.
But, Hardik says, he had a great advisor—Dr. Tewodros Eguale, MD, MS, PhD, Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics—who played a crucial role in helping him connect with other people. "It's because of him that I got a lot of opportunities to work with other people," says Hardik.
Eventually he was able to make friends, and working together with peers became hugely valuable in getting through the program. "You should not work alone" in a PhD program, he says. "You should rely on help from your colleagues... I've made wonderful friends, friends for life. We helped each other" with the work.
Building professional connections
One of the people with whom Dr. Eguale connected Hardik was a more senior student named Adnan Alsumali. Adnan would become perhaps the most important peer mentor Hardik's ever had. He would help Hardik navigate the challenges of the program, particularly toward the end as Hardik was preparing to interview for jobs and Adnan had already graduated.
"Even though he was working, he set out time and was there with me for every interview. He literally took time from his life and prepared me for each and every interview," Hardik says.
Mentors make the difference
After graduation, Hardik was hired for a contract job at Sanofi. They liked him and extended his contract, but they weren't able to hire him full time because of some budget matters; when he started applying for other positions, he reached out to Adnan. It turned out that he knew of a Merck opening that he thought Hardik would be great for—and not just because they were friendly, but because they had worked and studied together at MCPHS.
"He knew how my work ethic was, so he was confidently able to tell his manager that I was a good person who knows what he's doing and could be a good addition to the team," says Hardik.
Today, Hardik is an Associate Principal Scientist at Merck. His role is to support and develop health economic models for early product and lead dose product for FDA submissions and reimbursement processes.
He also supports and advises product leads: if Merck outsources any work, he ensures quality standards are being met. The job is directly related to what he studied at MCPHS and even correlates closely with his dissertation, which was largely focused on price analysis and cost effective analysis. It's a lot of work, but he's happy and grateful to have found himself in the role. And, he says, "It's because of Adnan Alsumali and my advisor, Tewodros Eguale, that I'm here."
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