EvidenceCareersSystematic Review

How 7+ years’ experience with academic systematic reviews gave me the skills for HEOR

How 7+ years’ experience with academic systematic reviews gave me the skills for HEOR cover

Alex Jenkins recently joined Mtech Access as a Senior Analyst in our Systematic Review Team. In this interview, we learn about his experience of joining Mtech Access from academia.

What led you to pursue a career in market access?

Having completed my PhD in Applied Biosciences for Health at the University of Lincoln, and subsequently undertaking a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Clinical Respiratory Exercise Physiology at McGill University, Canada, I returned to the UK seeking opportunities outside of academia.

However, I wasn’t sure how I could apply my skills outside of an academic context. When a recruitment consultant approached me via LinkedIn stating that having 7+ years’ experience undertaking systematic reviews and 5+ years’ experience working as a methodologist on clinical practice guidelines would stand me in good stead to apply for a position as a systematic reviewer in the HEOR sector, my eyes were opened to exciting new possibilities.

As I researched the HEOR sector for positions as a systematic reviewer, I came across Mtech Access, and the rest is history!

What motivated you to join Mtech Access?

Having tried with a few agencies, Mtech Access were the first agency to pick up the phone and speak to me. Chris Costello (Talent Acquisition Manager, Mtech Access) was in charge of my recruitment process and he took the time to engage on a personal and professional level.

During our many conversations, both over email and on the phone, we went into the possible reasons for the challenges I was facing in grasping that initial chat. Chris suggested that, to many companies, taking on a candidate with an academic background would mean extra investment to make that transition work, thereby making me less favourable. Mtech Access, however, see things differently. They place value in my academic experience, with several members of the Systematic Review Team also having similar backgrounds before moving into consultancy. Chris, and then subsequently, Shona Lang, Jodie Worrall, and Stephanie Swift (Associate Directors and Senior Consultants in the Systematic Review Team), laid out the pathway for my transition and development.

Having a company which outlines transparent career progression pathways with accompanying support processes to achieve this, even prior to starting, made me feel valued as a potential employee and motivated me to join Mtech Access.

What have you been involved with in your first few weeks with Mtech Access?

As with all new positions, the initial 2 weeks were intense, with insightful inductions into company values and operations. Despite the intensity of inductions, there was still time for me to get down to business on discipline-specific work, one of which was a systematic review project in hematology, which I will be progressing with moving forwards. More recently, I’ve been contributing to a Parkinson’s disease project too.

Given my academic background and skillset, the Systematic Review Team are hoping to leverage my knowledge of R statistical analysis software. During my first month, I have been tasked with developing a training module for the team on this topic.

Finally, we recently had our Systematic Review Team meeting, which was a nice opportunity to get the whole team together from multiple sites to share experience and learnings. It was also a great opportunity to build team rapport. We had an ice breaker challenge where we were split into two groups. Each group had to build the highest tower with a marshmallow on top using only spaghetti, tape, and string.

What have you learnt from your first interactions with the team?

The transition from academia to consultancy was always going to have its challenges, however, since joining, I’ve already discovered new approaches to working that facilitate the mantra of ‘work smarter, not harder’.

I’ve also been exposed to the importance of delivering to budget targets, something that wasn’t necessarily part of my academic experience. Exposure to differing types of systematic reviews and statistical approaches, as well as how these contribute towards a collaborative multi-team HTA submission, have proved hugely insightful.

What has most surprised you about Mtech Access?

When a company outlines their culture, I often overlook that as ‘marketing waffle’, but Mtech Access have proved to be a surprising exception to that. The company’s culture and values were made clear during the recruitment process and in my induction, stating that personnel were a priority. Since starting, I have felt well looked-after and it is clear to me that Mtech Access place emphasis on looking after employees.

If you could swap your expertise and role with a colleague from another team, who would you swap with?

Definitely the Health Economics Team. Health economics is an area that I’ve often found quite intimidating as an outsider, especially given it’s importance in healthcare decision making. I find the deliverables they develop, especially economic models, to be really interesting and part of me wishes I was clever enough to work on the development of such models!

When you are not at work, what do you like to do?

I enjoy having days out with my family, catching up with close friends from across the country, and I’m a big sports fan (mainly football, cricket, and F1), so a lot of my time is spent enjoying sport on the TV.

To learn more about how our Systematic Literature Review Team can support your evidence and HEOR strategy, please email info@mtechaccess.co.uk.

If you are interested in joining our team at Mtech Access, please visit our careers page for details of our current vacancies.