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Nessa Walsh, Technician Operations Pharmacist, AbbVie

What does your job involve?

I'm based in technical operations as part of this rotation within the AbbVie Graduate Programme. Currently I'm working on new product initiatives, such as and API, which is an Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient, which is essentially the pharmacological element of a drug, that has an effect on the patient. So we're working on transitioning this product to research and development and then scaling it up for commercial manufacture. I'm also working on process optimisation, our goal is to hand over the best process to our colleagues in operations so they can increase productivity and manufacturing effectiveness.

How did you get your job?

I did a pharmaceutics based project in college, and after that I developed a keen interest in the pharmaceutical sector and wanted to know how it works. The opportunity arose for an internship with AbbVie and following on from that I was successful in my application for the Operations Development Programme. During my internship programme, I got the opportunity to experience the AbbVie culture and what it involves. I got a great insight into what the business involves, from research and development through to knowing what patient is going to take the drug you're working on. On the programme I'm currently working on, we have far more challenging projects, developing our leadership qualities as we work our way through the programme. We also have a lot of contact with senior colleagues and leaders in the company which is a tremendous benefit.

What skills do you need to be successful?

It's essential to be a good communicator as you're working with a lot of different people on your team and in different departments. It's also very important to be able to project manage as you need to be able to plan ahead to align the various aspects of the project from the various different departments. I also feel it's important to develop relationships as a graduate, you need to get to know people and build your network although it's normal to be nervous at first.

What are your top career tips?

Choose modules in University that will help develop your career. So try and visualise what you would like to do in a few years time and work towards that. I focused on pharmaceutics and chemistry and attended peer-talks in my spare time, which provide insights from pharmacists currently working in different sectors of the industry. I found this very beneficial when choosing what area I wanted to work in.

What's the best thing about your job?

I love that I'm working at the forefront of drug development, bringing advanced therapies to the market to help patients suffering from complex conditions. Every day I see progress with products, it's very exciting and rewarding to know that the work you're doing will have a global impact.