Skip to main content
KBS_Icon_questionmark link-ico
Postgraduate Stories- Fotis ;

Postgraduate alumni: Fotis's story

Fotis had no doubts a career in the pharmaceutical industry was the right choice for him. But after studying chemistry, he knew he needed to develop his expertise further. Making the move from Greece, Fotis joined King’s to study MSc Drug Development Science. Not only did the course boost his employability, he discovered becoming an analyst would be a great match for his interests and skills.

Why did you decide to pursue postgraduate study?

I studied chemistry for my undergraduate degree, but I already knew I wanted to move into the pharma industry. To do this, I felt that I needed to further develop my knowledge in the clinical development and marketing of drugs. The job market is competitive, so I also decided to pursue postgraduate study to give myself an edge when applying for roles.

You’re originally from Greece. What made you decide to study in London?

London is home to many world-leading pharma companies, so this definitely influenced my decision. There are plenty of good universities across Europe, but London is an international hub. Of course, the city is really great too. When I started doing my research about universities, King’s stood out in the rankings for life sciences. I also attended university fairs in Greece, and I met many representatives from King’s there.

Could you explain what your course covered?

I studied MSc Drug Development Science. I considered other courses, but I felt this programme would give me a good overview of the pharma industry, beyond the basics of drug discovery.

I really enjoyed the modules and the fact that the majority of my lecturers had industry experience. The format of the course was good too – we would have one week of lectures and then three weeks to complete our assignments. This was very different to other courses I had seen.

I particularly enjoyed the clinical development module. This is an area that I had less experience in, but I was eager to learn more. I really enjoyed the final module which covered healthcare marketplace dynamics.

What area did your dissertation explore?

I examined whether the benefits of the drugs should be included in patient information leaflets. It’s a very regulated area – companies are obligated by law to include adverse effects, but they’re restricted on mentioning benefits as it can be seen as marketing. We tried to understand how including the positives could feed into shared decision making, which is an important concept in medicine.

I received support from my supervisor throughout, as well as from other lecturers. It was a desk-based project, so I wasn’t in the lab. I enjoyed writing it up as I hadn’t done this type of research before. I was really happy with my final thesis grade too – I got a distinction!

Were you involved in anything outside your studies at King’s?

There are so many societies and things you can do. You don’t have unlimited time as a postgraduate student, so you need to pick a couple that you’re really interested in. I joined the King’s Takes on Cancer society – we worked with Cancer Research UK. We fundraised, held events and invited patients to share their story with us.

I also joined the basketball society as I was trying to stay active. King’s Takes on Cancer society mainly consisted of students studying life sciences, but playing basketball gave me the chance to meet people from different faculties.

Since graduating, you’ve become a mentor for King’s. Could you share what this involves?

King’s have a platform called King’s Connect which brings together current students and alumni. Students can reach out to me and asked to be mentored. There are some procedures you have to follow, but it’s quite informal. You decide how many times you meet a month and discuss different issues. Topics range from talking about career paths to giving advice on how to be more productive.

What have you been up to since leaving King’s?

You have plenty of options when you want to go into the pharma industry. I soon discovered that the role of analyst would be a good fit for me. I applied for a role at Fitch Solutions which is largely a financial company. I initially started as a medical device analyst, but because of my background I changed role to a pharmaceutical and healthcare industry analyst. We would do forecasting and look at performance, as well as looking at trends and how they would affect the industry.

After a year and a half into the role, I decided to focus on competitive intelligence and look at companies that were positioning themselves in the market. This is when I joined Global Data. I work within immunology, so I cover auto immune diseases.

How did your studies at King’s prepare you for your career?

I went into the role with the basic knowledge I needed – I already knew a lot about clinical trials and reimbursement of drugs. You could pick up this knowledge as you progress in a role, but it’s easier when you already have that foundation. I could focus on learning new things and making my analysis better.

I also had lots of career support from the King’s Careers & Employability team. You can arrange mock interviews, and they provide information about how to go about your job search. I found it really helpful, especially as someone who hadn’t had many interviews in the past. I actually got the first role I interviewed for!

Do you have any advice for students who want to study this course?

I’m going to be honest – the course is demanding. It’s a course for people who really want to go into this specific industry or already have some experience. There are so many opportunities, so you should make the most of them. Most importantly, I encourage students to speak to their lecturers and network as much as possible.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Interested in studying a postgraduate course? Find out more about our next Postgraduate Virtual Open Week and discover what it’s like to study at King’s and how to apply.

Latest news

Two hardback books on a table

2 June 2023

New books

The Unit was involved in two recent publications