About Sollers

Sollers is a graduate school located in New Jersey, specializing in clinical research, drug safety and pharmacovigilance training.

Our graduate certificate and masters programs cover a wide range of subjects tailored to this fast growing industry, and our graduates go on to highly successful careers in the pharmaceuticals industry and healthcare industries.

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    • 100 Menlo Park, Suite 550
      Edison New Jersey 08837 -2488

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Faculty Interview: Dr Robert Zahid

Posted by Khyati Mehta on Apr 20, 2018 3:40:15 PM
 
The global pharmaceutical market continues to grow, with an estimated market size of $1.2 trillion and annual growth rate of 6.2% through 2022.  This growth has resulted in many varied careers in life sciences that continue to attract, retain and grow professional talent.
 
One such profession is that of a Medical Science Liaison (MSL).  An MSL plays a vital role in the success of a pharmaceutical company and its products in the ever-changing regulatory landscape.  Our new MSL program aims to tap into the unmet need of qualified professionals trained to serve as key influencers in the pharmaceutical industry. 
 
We sat down with Dr Robert Zahid, one of our expert faculty practitioners of the program, to get his thoughts on becoming an MSL and about this new program. 
 
Please share a little about yourself. How did you get into the MSL role?  
I've worked for over a decade with major pharmacies and pharmaceutical. After completing my PharmD from Rutgers University, I went directly into the pharmaceutical industry, working in both Medical and Commercial Affairs.  I later transitioned from Big Pharma to retail pharmacy work.  After several years in retail (and several years out of the pharmaceutical industry), I tried to return to Pharma. Unfortunately, despite prior Pharma experience, I was only able to secure a handful of interviews.  I decided to further my education with an MBA.  My acceptance to NYU Stern quickly reopened Pharma doors.  Within 6 months of starting my MBA, I got an MSL job with a small company called Vireo Health LLC.  After gaining more up-to-date experience, I switched to a larger company called AbbVie biopharmaceuticals. Currently, I’m a regional MSL with AbbVie in NYC.
 
What is the need for an MSL training program?
An MSL training program meets an unmet need for healthcare providers with no field medical affairs experience to transition from their healthcare jobs to med affairs roles within the pharmaceutical industry.  Our new MSL program provides an avenue for healthcare professionals to understand MSL job responsibilities and improve their interview performance through hands-on training.  It’s much more time-efficient and cost-effective relative to the method I employed years ago.  Had I had accessibility to an MSL training program, I may not have needed to spend 2 years studying, attending a graduate school, and spending a substantial amount of funds to get my MBA to open doors back into pharmaceutical industry.
 
Medical Science liaison training
 
Who, according to you, will benefit most from Sollers College's 300-hour MSL program?
Physicians, Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants, science-oriented PhDs, and PharmDs without pharma experience interested in making a transition to Medical Affairs
 
With so many training programs today for healthcare careers, what makes MSL career and MSL training unique?
There are very few training programs in Medical Science Liaison in the market today, with such comprehensive curriculum and soft-skills training.  MSLs are key influencers and need strong communications skills, and our program has an extensive focus on that. Not many life sciences careers need you to be strong in soft-skills and interpersonal skills too. Furthermore, with more and more healthcare institutions closing their doors to sales representatives, the MSL is often the only point of access to clinicians for the Pharma industry.
 
I also believe the virtual office and client-facing component make the MSL career unique. This is a field job. The ability to influence key opinion leaders (KOLs) through peer-to-peer relationships makes the MSL an asset to external and internal stakeholders.  Our program prepares you to handle the gamut of MSL responsibilities.  I believe a Healthcare Provider (HCP) who goes through our program will be much more confident and capable to handle the extensive interview process required to secure an MSL position within Pharma and Biotech industries.
 
How do you plan to offer students unique experiences/ training during this program that will help them with real-world skills useful on the job?
One of the things we have on priority, as we launch this program, is to provide as much hands-on experience and real exposure to students as possible. I plan on providing students a compilation of techniques similar formats that I’ve learned and used to coach new hire MSLs over the years. 
 
What elements of this program will be most enjoyable/useful for students, according to you?
I plan to bring my management education and experience into the classroom, by designing role-play scenarios and group presentations for students to work on. I think these should be well-received as they'll augment conceptual understanding.  An interactive format allows students to develop the right skills for a client-facing role.  
 
Want to meet or hear more from Dr Zahid? Register for our upcoming information session he's conducting  on How to become a Medical Science Liaison.

image1Dr Zahid offers about a decade of professional experience working major pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies, perfectly combining his business management and communications skills with clinical experience and knowledge. He is currently working as a Regional Medical Science Liaison with AbbVie pharmaceutical, where he serves as a key resource to establish peer-peer relationships, facilitate the exchange of unbiased scientific information as well as support clinical operations and corporate research initiatives. Dr Zahid has been in a similar role with Vireo Health LLC, BMS virology, and DuPont Pharmaceuticals, prior to AbbVie.

He has also worked with major retail pharmacies such as Walgreens and CVS Pharmacy as a pharmacist.

Dr Zahid has completed his Masters in Business Administration from Stern School of Business at New York University, and Doctorate of Pharmacy from Rutgers University.

Topics: General Medical, Faculty Profile