Clinical Development Associate Manager, AstraZeneca
Class of 2014
Jessica Nguyen is currently a Clinical Development Associate Manager at AstraZeneca where she and her team setup, drive and manage the global operations for clinical trials that evaluate the potential of new lung cancer medicines. Nguyen’s major responsibilities include working with the central laboratory vendor to design, create and manage the lab kits for their sites. These kits supply them with materials to collect and ship biological samples and patients participating in the study. Throughout the lifetime of the study, Nguyen is also responsible for the reconciliation of data between both the clinical and labs database. When she is not working on the lab kits, she works alongside the study physician to write and review the study’s informed consent forms and other supplementary patient materials.
While she was an undergrad, Nguyen completed an eight-month co-op work term at Sanofi Pasteur in their Analytical Research and Development department. For Nguyen, it was a truly eye-opening experience to see firsthand the application of basic research to develop and ultimately, create a vaccine that could prevent so much suffering and even save lives. “I was very proud of the work I was doing everyday and felt like I was part of such an enormous initiative that could help so many people. This strong sense of purpose is ultimately what influenced my decision to build a career in the pharmaceutical/ biotechnology industry.”
At Sanofi Pasteur, Nguyen worked with several MBiotech alumni and current Mbiotech students on their co-op placements This demonstrated to her Mbiotech does an outstanding job of preparing students to not only work in the pharmaceutical/biotechnology industry, but to build long and fulfilling careers. This in combination with her manager’s praise for the program, Nguyen's desire to do another co-op placement, and lastly, her desire to obtain a Master’s degree made MBiotech the natural next step for her towards a career in the industry.
For her co-op placement during the MBiotech program, Nguyen was a Medical Research Associate in the Medical Affairs at GlaxoSmithKline. She supported and managed Investigator-sponsored studies and health economic/outcomes studies from a project management perspective. Due to the wide variety of projects — everything from basic laboratory research to phase four cost-effectiveness studies across multiple therapeutic areas — Nguyen learned how critical it was to be able to work through ambiguity and ultimately drive the project forward. “If a project veered off course, we could course-correct afterwards. In contrast, remaining stagnant to wait for further clarity that may not even be forthcoming, was often not an option in this competitive business.”