My name is Carina Schäfer, I am 31 years old and I am working for Bayer Vital for a good three years now. Since March 2019, I am Team Lead of the Medical Science Liaison Management in the Ophthalmology Division. Between my work, I find my balance in dressage my horse Fred and in training with my dog Lotte.
“Something to do with science, just please don’t work on people directly.” That was the basic idea of my career, which led me to venture into pharmacy. My heart was beating for clinical pharmacy, because here the major knowledge of pharmacology is combined with medicine – cross-functionality.
Since I knew quite early that I wanted to expand this knowledge, it was clear to me that the pharmacy would not become a professional field for eternity. I decided on a doctorate and got to know the professional field of a Medical Science Liaison Manager (MSL) during my time as a doctoral student. After my doctorate, I had the opportunity to join Bayer Vital as a Junior MSL in the field of cardiology. From now on things went uphill. For a total of three years I was able to assert myself as an MSL, manage large projects throughout Germany and build up a huge network. The topic of leadership was always present for me and the desire for expansion was great. In October 2018, I got the opportunity to apply for a team leader position for MSLs in the field of ophthalmology – with success. Bayer gave me the opportunity to join the Management team and offered me a lot of support in the form of coaching sessions, management seminars and mentors who were there to help and advise me.
As team leader of the MSL I am responsible for the implementation of the KPIs (Key-Performance-Indicator) in the field of medicine MSL. I have personnel responsibility and support my employees in word and deed. Since I have just entered the world of leadership, my tasks include not only personnel management and representation at meetings with important stakeholders, but also personal training in the field of ophthalmology. I spend a lot of time in Leverkusen to participate in meetings with other departments, but I also travel to congresses and to my employees to make joint visits and coaching sessions with important opinion leaders. Fortunately, I can work quite a lot from home, which saves a lot of time, especially at peak times, which can be used effectively.
“Why leadership?” This is the first question I was asked when I applied for the job. In fact, I spent almost the entire time as an MSL in the subject of leadership. This was also supported by a coach who helped me to analyze my strengths and weaknesses and to prepare myself for the right answer to this question. In my private life, I am already in contact with the topic of “leadership” through the training of my young horse and my dog. And a lot of things I experience give me a good answer to this question. To watch success within others, which can be traced back to my own actions and support, simply fills me with an incredible amount of happiness. I didn’t answer anything else, because that’s exactly what drives me: To see success in others. To discover potential and to promote it. To stand at the side of people and help them when things don’t move. The motivation to turn a good team into an even better one.
My tip to all pharmacy students
Pharmacy is certainly one of the hardest and most time-consuming courses of study. That’s why I can only say one thing to pharmacy students: Hold on! In addition to industry, pharmacies, journalism, scientific institutions and research are also very interesting professional fields in which pharmacists can also be involved. Personally, I am very happy with my decision to go into industry. With Bayer, I found an employer who recognized and promoted my potential and strengths very early, gave me great opportunities to develop myself further and also offers Young Professionals a lot of good entry opportunities.
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