Why an MPharm is unemployed … and an MSc isn’t.

unemployed_web_1You are a pharmacist. So?

You’ve done your MPharm or PhD from a “reputed” pharmacy college. So?

The pharma industry in India is booming. So?

What makes you think you are automatically entitled to a job? What makes you think you are employable in the first place?

Every pharmacy college I visit, I hear the same whining complaints: “No jobs for our students. Industry is not hiring pharmacists. Industry is hiring MSc’s, because they’re cheaper than MPharm’s. We should “empower” our pharmacists. We should complain to the government. We should make it mandatory to hire only pharmacists”. Blah, blah, blah.


The truth is … there is no shortage of opportunities for pharmacists. There is no shortage of jobs. There is no shortage of companies that need pharmacists. There is however, a shortage of good pharmacists. There is no shortage of bad pharmacists though.

We hire MSc’s not because they are cheaper than MPharm’s. We hire them because they’re better. That’s right. MSc’s are BETTER.

There is one reason why an MSc is better than an MPharm in many cases. There is one reason why an MPharm does not get a job but an MSc does.

That one reason is – your faculty.

Your faculty. Your teachers. The people who taught you.

The difference between a good institution and a bad one is its faculty. The difference between a good graduate and a bad one, is the faculty. The difference between a successful career and unemployment is – your faculty.

A student is only as good as his teachers. It is that simple.

Year after year, especially during the month of July, I would contact pharmacy colleges across the city. Year after year, I would write to them, call them up, visit them personally, asking for fresh candidates, almost begging them to arrange a campus interview.

Year after year, I was snubbed. No response. Not one positive reply from a single pharmacy college. Not one.

One principal of a “reputed” pharmacy college in Bangalore even told me that his college only considers companies above a certain size as suitable employers.

I always thought that pharmacy colleges had a cut-off for admitting students. I didn’t know they had a cut-off for employers as well.

In spite of their uninterested faculty, a few candidates did turn up for interviews, on their own. They were worthless.

Couldn’t answer the simplest of questions. Could not even answer basic questions about their own research dissertations. Not one of them took the trouble of visiting the employer’s corporate website. Not one of them knew anything about the pharma industry in India. Not one of them had a career plan. Not one of them could offer one good reason why he or she should be hired.

And not one of them turned up on time for the interview.

How can you apply for a job without knowing anything at all about the employer? How can you tell that employer during your interview, that you don’t know anything about the company you wish to work for?

How can you turn up late for an interview? And if you have a genuine reason for arriving late, how can you not call up the employer and let him know? Don’t you have any manners?

It’s not your fault. It’s what you’ve been taught.

If you cannot answer simple questions about your own research dissertation, that means your research guide needs guidance himself.

If you do not know what’s going on in the pharma industry, it’s because your teachers are not bothered to reach out to the industry.

If, after four years of undergraduate studies, followed by two years of post-graduate education, you are unable to answer simple technical questions, it means you have been taught by people who are themselves poorly trained.

If good pharma companies do not conduct campus interviews in your college, it’s because your own teachers have driven them away.

If your teachers are rude and inconsiderate to people from the industry, it is not surprising that you think it’s OK to be late for an interview.

If your own teachers do not want you to get a job, how do you expect to get one?

We in the industry do not expect much from fresh candidates. We’re not looking for future Nobel laureates. We’re not looking for genius-level IQ’s. We’re not looking for rocket scientists.

What we do need are pharmacists who have some basic knowledge about pharmacy. We need pharmacists who are educated, not ignoramuses who need to be spoon-fed. We need problem-solvers, not people who will create problems. We need team players, people who are willing to learn, people who are honest, people who are considerate, people with some common sense and some good manners.

And, we need to be treated with courtesy.

When we write to your college, we expect the courtesy of a reply. When your principal says he will call back, we expect him to call back. We do not appreciate being snubbed.

Don’t question the industry about its suitability to hire you. Ask your faculty to make you suitable enough to be hired.

If you lose your job to an MSc, don’t blame the MSc. And don’t blame the man who hired him. He hired that MSc because you didn’t give him a better choice.

And you know whom to blame for that.


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