What do I get when I join the MSL training platform?
The comprehensive FSTP MSL training course consists of:
12 MSL training and MSL recruitment videos specifically designed by senior MSLs and medical affairs professionals. These videos can be watched at any time, as often as you like and on any device.
Secondly, access to the MSL academy that provides in-depth training of key MSL recruitment topics such as therapeutic area upskilling, interview questions, the different interview rounds, salary negotiations etc.
Thirdly, you will have access to 1:1 coaching with senior medical affairs professionals to get personalized support (GOLD and PLATINUM members).
Fourthly, you will also have access to resources such as CV masterclass, successful MSL CVs, CV cheat sheet, Fast Facts medical handbooks, real-life MSL clinical paper presentations & review, and personal one-on-one coaching (depending on the level of membership). To learn more, browse our "FREE PREVIEW COURSE" by clicking here.
Is this MSL course recognized in my country?
Yes, this course and the MSL certificate (MSL-cert) are recognized globally as the standard for Medical Science Liaison excellence.
The MSL role is similar across all countries. However, there are small differences between companies and countries particularly in relation to the regulatory and compliance environment. These topics are fully covered in the training.
FSTP has trained professionals in over 125 countries and placed MSL in most major pharmaceutical companies across the globe.
Why is it so hard to break into an MSL role?
The main reason is that a lot of candidates do not understand the role and therefore come under/unprepared to the interview. The MSL role is a complex role that requires having many skills and competencies as well as a deep understanding of the science, the therapeutic area, the hospital system and the pharmaceutical industry as a whole. The more you upskill on all these topics the greater your chances of getting an MSL job.
Do I get a certificate when I complete the from SCIENCE to PHARMA training course?
After completing the course, you will be able to take the MSL certificate exam (MSL-cert). You will have to score above 70% to pass the exam and receive your certificate. The MSL-cert is recognized globally as the standard for Medical Science Liaison excellence.
The MSL-cert provides you with the recognition and increase visibility to recruiters and hiring managers.
I don't have a PhD/MD/or PharmD, can I still become an MSL?
Yes you can, but it depends on the country. It is worth noting that hiring managers have more and more candidates to choose from. Therefore, there is a trend of hiring more candidates with a terminal D degree. However, in several countries hiring managers value pharma industry experience more than just your degree. Some of our alumni have been successful in transitioning as an MSL with Bachelor or Master degrees . In our opinion, moving forward, the scientific complexity of clinical trial design and the increasing use of biomarkers will push recruiters to employ candidate with highly specialized scientific expertise, if this is obtained via a terminal D degree or via other means doesn't matter. As long as you are a subject matter expert.
How long does it take to become an MSL?
It can take anywhere from 4 to 12 months to land your first MSL job. There are a number of reasons for this.
Firstly, it takes time to fully understand the MSL role, the pharma industry and to upskill to pass the recruiters and land an interview.
Secondly, the interview process can take up to 4 rounds of interviews stretched over several months.
Thirdly, it depends on the therapeutic area. Some therapeutic area have many vacancies (such CV or diabetes) and some less such as rare diseases.
Finally, most candidates have to apply to several roles before being successful, which takes time as well.
Don’t be discouraged with this time-frame, some of our top candidates have been recruited within 2 months of finishing this course. We will give you all the tools and support you need but at the end of the day it really depends on the candidate to utilize this knowledge and their willingness to succeed.
Should I do a postdoc to increase my chances of becoming an MSL?
The short answer is no. Doing a postdoc does not provide you with relevant MSL skills, competencies or knowledge. On the other side, having done a postdoc does not reduce your chances to transition as an MSL.
As it can take times to transition, doing a postdoc might be required to earn an income while working on your transition.
What’s the difference between an MSL and a sales representative?
This one is pretty simple. The sales representative is hired to promote and sale approved drugs. On the other hand, the MSL is part of the medical affairs team and is not involved in sales. It will take a whole course to explain you the intricacy of what an MSL is doing. The role of the MSL changes with the life cycle of the drug, the various interactions they have with internal/external stakeholders including regulatory, reimbursement and pharmacovigilance.
How much travel do you do as an MSL?
It depends on the country, the company, the drug and the product life cycle of the drug and the size of the territory you are looking after. A big part of the MSL role is externally facing, meaning interacting with external experts and therefore you will have to travel to meet these experts. How far and for how long you have to travel can really vary. Some positions require to fly and to spend nights away from home whereas other positions require primarily driving. In this case, MSLs are almost never away from home. Some MSL's job description mention 80% travel, however none of our FSTP alumini working as MSL have never traveled 4/5 days per week. Furthermore, if after a year you feel it is too much travel, you just move to a different MSL role or perhaps a more office based job within your company, as you are now an experienced MSL and you are worth your weight in gold!
I have a PhD but don't have industry experience, can I still become a MSL?
The quick answer is yes. Three quarters of our candidates we have placed through the course moved directly from science to pharma, without having any previous pharmaceutical industry experience. However, it is becoming more and more competitive. The more relevant experience you have and a clearer understanding of the role, the better your chances are. Simple as that! You might already have a lot of (unrecognized) experience that is required for the MSL job. You just need to recognize them and highlight them accordingly on your CV together with a clear understanding of what the MSL job is all about. This is something that will be extensively covered in the training.
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