Adam was a Leader of Tomorrow at GapSummit 2016 and has continued to Grow, Connect and Challenge through global events. He shared with us his recent experience attending the Novartis International Biotechnology Leadership Camp (BioCamp), a 3-day event that gives 60 select students an in-depth look inside the company.
I am always looking for ways in which I can acquire more knowledge on the inner workings of the biotech industry being an aspiring biotech leader myself. After I arrived in the UK for my Masters, I was lucky to be chosen to attend the GapSummit 2016 in Cambridge and this allowed me to network with people from various areas in biotech.
Having gained so much from the GapSummit, I was looking for other programmes that would allow me to acquire more knowledge of the biotech industry. After some research, I got to learn of the Novartis BioCamp and this allowed me to apply to represent the UK. Fortunately, I was selected for the Novartis BioCamp along with two other people from around the UK.
The BioCamp itself was very fulfilling as I had the opportunity to learn first hand about the intricacies of running a huge Biotech company like Novartis. That insight, in addition to having the opportunity to explore a beautiful city like Basel, made it an unforgettable experience. The BioCamp was filled with programs and lectures that were not only invigorating, but were highly informative. Throughout the BioCamp, I was able to listen to incredible lectures from people working at various parts of Novartis from infectious diseases to neuroscience and these lectures went hand-in-hand with a practical case study, which was one of the most interesting parts of the entire programme.
It is rare to have the chance to hear from and interact with leaders across the various functions of such a major company, and this is exactly what we experienced throughout the duration of the BioCamp. Also, I have always enjoyed the opportunity to exchange ideas with people from different parts of the world and the BioCamp provided me with such an opportunity.
The BioCamp was a bit different from most of the experiences that I have had so far, although in a way, it was similar to the GapSummit in the sense that it was an opportunity to get first-hand knowledge from leaders in the biotech industry. In this case, I felt that a huge pharmaceutical company like Novartis was a very good source of getting an inside scoop into the inner workings of a typical pharmaceutical and biotech company. One of the things that I found fascinating was that despite the level of success the company enjoys and the high levels that these people operate at, they were still constantly looking for feedback and ways to improve their operation. Another thing that I was also fascinated about was the amount of failure that they have to go through before achieving any breakthrough. As an aspiring leader with a strong sense of urgency, I was fascinated by hearing that, in the biotech industry, failures are very common and dealing with them effectively is an important part of being successful. This is one of the most important lessons that I have taken with me for the future.
As with most programmes, the networking aspect of the BioCamp was also something that I was looking forward to. Throughout the duration of the programme, there was an abundance of networking opportunities and this is something that I found very important as someone trying to chart a career path in biotech. All this made for a very fulfilling experience at the end of the programme. Overall, the Novartis BioCamp provided me with a wealth of additional experience and knowledge on the opportunities available with respect to innovation in the biotech industry – something that I am always eager to learn more about.
Assistant Lecturer, Department of Microbiology, University of Ilorin