School of Graduate Studies

School of Graduate Studies
School of Graduate Studies

Dr. Ayesha Shabbir – PharmD Jinnah Medical and Dental College

Medical Affairs Intern at Bristol-Myers Squibb

What drew you to the PHMI program at Queen’s?

If you ask me why Queen’s - They recognize diversity and propel their students to transform and challenge their knowledge. I speak on behalf of students and professionals who are an immigrant and are looking to integrate into the Canadian culture and want to transform their career from what they were to what they want to become. Queen’s pushes their students to present their skill set, even when we question it. That is how I saw Queen’s, and that is how PHMI developed me.

The PHMI course structure isn't like any course structure in Canada. The importance to groom academics to be able to integrate into the industry is why it was designed. This is the first-ever comprehensive and well-interacted course that would provide all the information needed to develop an understanding about the pharmaceutical landscape.

What were you doing when you entered the program? Were you already looking for opportunities in industry?

I was already working in a generic-based pharmaceutical industry in the Global Medical Affairs. Many people would ask me, “You have already landed a foot in the door, why would you take this program and move a step back?” My usual reply would be that it is how one would perceive it. It is where all plants (medicine) would grow - the ground for innovation and ideas. Therefore, I was never moving back but was growing.

I always wanted to stay in touch with science but develop a business understanding, especially with decision-making. I kept on searching until the right time and opportunity came in. I felt the PHMI program was that opportunity.

What has been your favourite experience so far? Perhaps an “ah-ha” moment that has changed your view on something?

I would definitely say my selection process as an intern in the program. Where I wanted to work and where I was chosen to be was an “ah-ha” and “eureka” for me. I would definitely advise all the future students that your program team know more than you about the industry and they can help choose what is best for you. I’m more than happy where I am and am thankful every day for their decision.

If someone was considering taking the PHMI program, what advice would you give them? 

This program won't disappoint you. The course is being taught by professionals who are/were in the industry. You will find yourself exposed to students from different programs and experience, build your relationship with them, and learn to absorb their knowledge. Lastly, don't ever hesitate to speak to your program coordinators as they are a part of your learning experience in this program.