What led you to pursue a career in market access?
I’ve always been interested in healthcare and medicines and so I took a risk and applied for an entry level role at a market access consultancy as a proposal writer. This role provided a very welcome ‘baptism of fire’ into the complexities of various healthcare systems, a range of disease areas and treatment options, as well as the foundations of what consultancy can offer across the drug/device development pipeline. I soon found that the more I learned, the more I wanted to know.
I realised pretty quickly that I wanted to utilise my skill set in a different way and so transitioned into the first of many commercial roles for me. Working with clients to brainstorm challenges and map out potential solutions was, and still is, something I love to do, and so it was a great fit.
For over 6 years I held various business development and commercial roles at three different market access consultancies. During that time, I was fortunate to be involved in a number of global and local/UK project types and initiatives with clients and technical teams.
What motivated you to make the transition from a more commercially focus role to your current consulting role?
Although I love business development, I found myself wanting to take a peek over the imaginary fence and see what happens once a project is won. How did a conversation that led to a proposal, which led to a project, become a tangible deliverable that now supports patient access to a treatment or provide important information about a disease landscape? I wanted to know, and more specifically, I wanted to be involved!
I knew that I wanted to pursue this and believed I had a number of transferable skills that could lend themselves to a consulting type role. Soon after joining Mtech Access, I shared this ambition with my manager who was incredibly supportive and encouraging. After 12 months in the Client Services Manager position, I was able to transition into a hybrid Project Management role.
Being a Project Manager enabled me to continue with some commercial activities whilst developing my consultancy skills and getting more involved in managing and working on client projects and deliverables. Fast-forward to April 2022, I was absolutely delighted to complete this transition and be promoted to Associate Consultant.
What type of projects have you worked on in your time as Project Manager and Associate Consultant?
Wow, so many already and all with their own different nuances.
Highlights for me include a suite of virtual NHS insights meetings, where we have been organising and facilitating live video meetings featuring experts from our NHS Associate network to share what it’s like to be in their shoes. What does a typical day look like? What challenges are keeping them up at night? Is there a new policy document or system change that promotes new and interesting ways of working? How can industry support them in their endeavours? These are just some of the questions we have addressed through these video meetings.
Another noteworthy project that was a delight to work on, was a value proposition and budget impact digital tool, which began as a pilot tool for the UK market and has since grown into a number of local adaptations for various European countries. In my previous roles I loved demonstrating our digital budget impact models, and so working on the intellectual design and development of one of these for a client was a complete joy.
I have also worked on a suite of global advisory boards, which makes a nice contrast to my other typical projects. I am a bit of a nut for project management diligence and following processes, so the rigorous and sometimes intense nature of these projects is something I enjoy getting my teeth into.
What does a typical day look like in your role as an Associate Consultant?
At one time, I’ll have between 8–10 live projects that I’m either managing or delivering work on. More often than not I’m doing a combination of the two!
So, a typical day for me includes keeping on top of my project administration, both client and internal project team catch ups to discuss progress and plans for the next 1–2 weeks, reviewing materials from clients, reviewing content from project teams, preparing content myself, or reviewing and actioning feedback from clients.
For example, today I’ve had two regular ‘touch base’ calls with clients for live projects, and prepared and sent notes and actions from those meetings. I’ve also been working on a set of slides for an upcoming NHS Insights & Interaction Round Table meeting looking at service redesign. Finally, I’ll be reviewing some new policy documents that may have implications for one of my clients and their current workstream with us; there could be something useful we can leverage that will add strength to their product’s proposition.
What advice would you give to someone who hopes to pursue a career as a market access consultant?
You definitely need to be able to work on a load of different projects and initiatives at the same time; we’re talking different markets, different disease areas, different products, different teams, different timelines and priorities. Organisation, coordination, and being able to prioritise and think clearly under pressure is key.
I think it is the perfect role for anyone who wants to get deeply involved with projects, both management and the technical elements, but also to engage with clients and project teams. It is so satisfying seeing projects come to life and delivering tangible materials or insights that are going to make a difference to patients in the real world.
If you could swap your expertise and role with a colleague from another team / service at Mtech Access, what would you pick?
Easy, I would love to work in the Digital Team in coding and app development. That would be so cool, and the team are fantastic and incredibly talented.
Initially I thought perhaps a Health Economist but I’m not sure my brain could handle all the spreadsheets!
Really though, my passion is consulting as it enables me to work on a wide range of projects and the joy of this industry is that things rarely stay the same for too long so there is always a new challenge or a different way to look at things, which keeps it interesting.
When you are not at work, what do you like to do?
I am very into sport (doing and spectating), so I like watching Arsenal FC occasionally win their matches and am also an avid follower of Formula 1, tennis and horse racing. I also love to rock climb and run short–medium distance. Last autumn, I combined two of my passions by running a 10K race around the Silverstone Grand Prix track.