I graduated from Otago with an honours degree in Molecular Biotechnology.At the time, the development of Biotechnology industries in Malaysia (my home country) was already at its peak. This was great news for new biotech graduates like us but the bad news – competition for jobs in the biotech sector was extremely high.
I was fortunate enough however, to settle down in a very interesting biotech industry and in one of the fastest growing organization in the industry, StemLife Berhad. A listed company, StemLife is the largest and first cord blood and adult stem cell banking and therapeutics company in the country. StemLife provides essential haematological and therapeutic services in collaboration with specialists and medical institutions, which has resulted in successful treatments of prevalent diseases such as cancer, thalassemia, heart disease and chronic wounds using stem cells.
I believe my success in getting this job was mainly due to having a great mixture of the science and business knowledge that I attained from my Biotech degree in Otago.
I am currently the Business Development Manager for StemLife. My job scope involves securing corporate deals with multi-national organizations, medical centres etc and developing new branches and businesses nationwide. The knowledge of stem cells and its benefits are still unknown or not truly understood by many Malaysians especially those from the non-medical field, unlike in Western countries where stem cell therapy was practiced more than decades ago.
Hence it is important for me in my position to have the science background when educating people on the benefits of stem cells (especially when conversing with doctors and other medical professionals) and the business background for the development of new branches and businesses and for human resource management. Conclusion - having a mixture of both science and business helps a lot when it comes to securing corporate deals in the industry.
Up until today, I still feel that I’m very privileged as it only took me four years via Otago’s Biotech degree to gain a great combination of science and business knowledge, unlike my peers with the same level of knowledge who took 6 or more years via a double in Science and Business.