Most business experts would rank communication skills as more important than technical skills for a variety of jobs in a variety of fields. I interviewed Dr. Sachin Patel who has both a Pharm D and a MBA in Finance/Pharmaceutical Management and currently works for Bristol Meyer Squibb as a Pharmacovigilance Scientist who monitors the effects of drugs licensed for use in the market. In the following interview, you will find some insights into how Dr. Sachin Patel, an expert in the field of pharmacology and management, manages a team for drug research finds the skill of communication useful in his job. Through the below series of questions the reader will see the viewpoint of an expert on the skills needed for business communication. The reader of this blog will gain knowledge in what it takes to succeed in a business environment from the responses provided in this blog.
- What is your professional history (include your timeline and roles)?
- “Staff Pharmacist for 2 years at Rite Aid, Pharmacy manager for 2 year at Walgreen, Pharmacovigilance Scientist for 2 years, and Global Regulatory Manager in Marketed Product Strategy for Bristol-Myers Squibb currently”. https://www.linkedin.com/in/spatelpharmd/
- What writing advice do you have for professional communicators?
- “Re-read everything, whether it is a simple email or a large document. Take your time and read it as if you are unaware of the topic”.
- What is your one pet peeve when it comes to professional writing?
- “We often favor the passive tense to avoid ownership of an action. However, I believe that too often, we revert to the passive tense out of habit, even in something as simple as an email. In my opinion, this results in more unnecessary work for the reader”.
- What kind of business reports do you read and/or compose regularly?
- “Periodic Benefit-Risk Evaluation Reports, Risk Management Plans, Global Submission Plan, Annual Report (product specific), Clinical Overviews, Clinical Trial Protocols to name a few”.
- What are your writing suggestions to make those types of reports successful?
- “Organization before the writing process even begins is one of the most helpful things to do before starting to write a document. Starting by outlining the necessary elements makes the process of implementing those changes much easier, particularly in my role, in which I often update older versions of a document, but must retain the original text”.
- What speaking advice do you have for professional communicators?
- “Brevity in making a point is essential”.
- Name one thing you wish you had known about business communication prior to your professional career.
“Written communication is not always necessary”. “Often, phone or in person conversations help resolve an issue much more quickly than a series of emails or IMs ever could, unless a written approval/consent needs to be documented as part of a Standard Operating Procedure”.
- After assessing the Burning Glass list of Baseline Skills (2016), which skills not in the top 5 would you move into the top 5…and why?
- “Time management: Having all the other skills listed mean nothing if you are not able to manage and prioritize projects”.
- “Planning: Planning is an integral factor in being able to manage time and meet deadlines”.
- “Team work: Working with others well and not working in a bubble can be difficult sometimes, but is essential for large projects”.
- “Meeting deadlines: All other skills matter very little if you are not able to deliver a project on time”.
- “Listener: Understanding points raised by others, and being willing to accept them, I think is very useful in the work space”.
- What team skills do you feel young professionals need the most?
“Young professionals need to be more confident in their interactions, particularly in their interactions with experienced colleagues. Confidence must come from proper research and background analysis.”
“It only takes one instance to label someone as incompetent.”
There are several key takeaways from the responses provided above by Dr. Sachin Patel in regards to communication in the business world. For example, his response for number two in which he tells us to take our time writing and rereading any piece of writing whether an email or an important document. This good advice to reread everything that one writes helps to ensure that the reader of the writing whether an essay or an email understands the purpose of the writing. Another example is his response for number three in which he describes a pet peeve in writing where people resort to the passive tense too often in their writing. Many of my previous professors and teachers in writing stressed this same advice to students in their classes as you should strive for active language in your writing. Next for Number five he responded that organization in writing is a vital step that is a key step in the writing process. This great advice in writing not only documents but for other activities such as writing code. The planning, organization, and outlining phase of the process allows one to craft a better and more full piece of writing. Next, his response for number six where he states the importance of brevity. This advice allows the reader to see the importance of conciseness to not confuse the reader of any documents they would write. Next his response to number seven where he states that written communication is not always necessary. In practice a face to face meeting can accomplish more in a shorter amount of time than say an email chain. Next, for his response to number eight where he lists some of the traits not in the top five of the Burning glass document that he would move up to the top five. All of the traits in his response and his accompanying reasoning for why he chose them allow the reader to gain knowledge on the important skills for business. Last, for his response to number nine where he states that young professionals need to be more confident in their interactions. This good advice will allow those to take it to succeed in their current or future careers.
Dr. Sachin Patel attended University of the Sciences in Philadelphia from 2004 to 2010 where he received his Pharm D degree. Then he went to work at Rite Aid as a Pharmacist from 2010 to 2013. From there he worked at Walgreens as a pharmacist from 2013 to 2015 and as Pharmacy Manager from 2015 to 2016. From there he worked at Bristol-Meyer Squibb from 2016 to the present as a Pharmacovigilance Scientist. While working he attended Rutgers Business School from 2015 to 2017 where he received a MBA in Finance/ Pharmaceutical Management. He has one child with his wife and expects a second one later this year. You can find his linkedin page here at : https://www.linkedin.com/in/spatelpharmd/
You can find his company’s website here at: https://www.bms.com/
Business card located below
retrieved from: personal communications January 30th, 2019
Author Bio: James Beckman
James currently attends the University of Southern Indiana. He studies Computer Science and hopes to become a Software Developer. Based on James’s blog post, his communication skills and his professionalism help him stand out from others in his age group.