Making a Pivot to Industry from Medical Science
From the strategy to the tactics using various channels, marketing in the biotech industry requires a lot of cross-functional teamwork, and I am constantly learning.
When Rory Gallagher was 15 years old, he got the opportunity to work with his uncle, who was an anesthetist. “I remember being fascinated with all the various medicines and surgery techniques,” he recalls. “For me, it unlocked a passion to want to be involved in medical science in some capacity, and at the very least, at the time, it was something I wanted to explore further.”
While Gallagher would go on to study medical science in college and ultimately land a job working in biotechnology at Amgen Australia, it was not what he had planned. Rather than working as a medical scientist, Gallagher works now in marketing, helping to communicate about bone diseases, such as osteoporosis, and available treatments.
Growing up in Northern Sydney, Gallagher embraced his high school experience, taking not only the usual academic subjects but also playing sports and music. But like many students, he grappled with the idea of not knowing what would come next for him, despite his early work experience with his uncle.
“I don’t think I fully understood all the career paths in high school, and whilst I was interested at the time in science as a career, it didn’t look like an option for me,” he says. “I remember at a careers day, we had presentations from a lawyer, a banker, and a doctor. Looking back, I think the educational path you take in science sets you up with so many options which are probably not widely talked about or seen as a logical next step.”
Gallagher attended University of New South Wales, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Medical Science. Although he originally wanted to be a doctor, he began feeling drawn to the biotech industry, realizing that he could perhaps impact people on a larger scale. “What stood out for me were the huge possibilities in the biotech industry and the significant progress demonstrated over the last 20 years coupled with the mass amount of potential,” he says.
Working in marketing was never on his radar until he saw the job opportunities. Now, Gallagher enjoys the creativity marketing enables him, while also allowing him to work across multiple departments at Amgen. “From the strategy to the tactics using various channels, marketing in the biotech industry requires a lot of cross-functional teamwork, and I am constantly learning every day,” he says.
Gallagher is especially excited to be working now on an awareness campaign for osteoporosis in Australia. “Planning events, running our social media campaigns, and working closely with brand ambassadors gives me the opportunity to make a huge impact,” he says.
Reflecting on his path, Gallagher wishes he had known about internships and other work opportunities earlier in his educational and career path. “When I left university, I think the biggest gap transitioning into the industry was my lack of work experience,” he explains. “This meant I got knocked back five times before I got an opportunity. If I could give any advice, it would be to trust the process and enjoy the journey that you’re on; often you don’t truly understand what you want to do until you gain that work experience.”