EvidenceCareersSystematic Review

Starting a career in Systematic Review – 1 year in!

By 25/11/2020 No Comments

As their 1-year anniversary with Mtech Access approaches, Medi Stone and William Muckley share their experiences of starting careers as Systematic Review Analysts in our Evidence Generation team.     

What inspired you to pursue a career as a Systematic Review Analyst?
Medi Stone

While studying for a BSc in Pharmacology at the University of Bristol, I became very interested in the different types of clinical trials and current clinical research being carried out in various therapeutic areas. For my final year dissertation, I undertook a systematic review of the use of ketamine in rodent models of depression. I really enjoyed this work so I was encouraged when a role in systematic review became available following graduation. However, I quickly realised that systematic reviews conducted in industry are significantly different from that which I had written for my dissertation. In my current role I often have to screen over 10,000 publications for a single review whereas for my dissertation I only screened 250 publications in total.

William Muckley

While studying for my Master’s degree in Biotechnology and Business Management at the University of Warwick, I developed an appreciation for scientific research and writing. This was exemplified by my dissertation, for which I conducted a systematic review in the field of crop genetics. Consolidating hundreds of hours of research into a succinct manuscript was a process that I found immensely satisfying. Following my degree, I began to explore different roles in medical writing and communications because, let’s be honest, who knew you could work as a Systematic Review Analyst? However, when I came across an analyst position at Mtech Access, I was immediately interested in the role.

What does your role as a Junior Systematic Review Analyst involve?
Medi Stone

I work on client projects and my level of involvement varies according to the project needs. Sometimes I will follow a project for a few weeks and contribute to many areas of its progress. In other instances, I will only be involved in one stage of the process. I often have to balance my workload as I can be working on multiple projects simultaneously. I usually catch up with the project manager at each stage of the systematic review process to inform them of the number of included studies, any issues, and expected timelines.

William Muckley

My work at Mtech varies considerably from week to week, although daily tasks may include: designing study protocols and search strategies; publication screening; data extraction; submission of deliverables, such as data extraction tables, slide decks, and reports; and developing client relations through project meetings and presentations.

Throughout each project, I work closely with other analysts and managers to ensure that we are aligned on our objectives and that we are progressing the project in a timely manner.

What has your first year in the Mtech Access Systematic Review team been like?
Medi Stone

Over the last year I have worked on many different therapeutic areas from asthma to epilepsy, as well as on rarer diseases, such as progressive supranuclear palsy. I have also contributed to many aspects of the systematic review process from developing study protocols to writing reports. After joining Mtech, I received weekly training from senior team members to help me understand the systematic review process and the role of evidence generation in market access. Over the past year I have taken on more responsibility and have gained more autonomy on projects.

William Muckley

First and foremost, working as a junior analyst has been an academic challenge. I have worked on a multitude of therapeutic areas from respiratory diseases to robotic-assisted joint replacement. Switching between therapeutic areas is challenging but it helps keep the job fresh and exciting. Each project demands a tailored approach to producing deliverables – some require highly quantitative Excel data extraction sheets while others involve developing qualitative manuscripts or more visual slide decks – which adds a unique challenge to each project.

The Systematic Review team has been excellent at supporting new team members; all new analysts have access to a thorough training programme and the senior team is always happy to help out.

How has the pandemic and working from home impacted the way you work?
Medi Stone

At the beginning of the pandemic it was a bit strange collaborating solely via emails and Microsoft Teams calls but we have all adjusted and have become very effective in working this way.

William Muckley

I agree – we are fortunate that COVID-19 has caused minimal interruption to our work. We have adapted to remote working via Teams calls and online presentations; however, project work has remained largely the same.

What surprised you about Mtech Access when you first joined the team?
Medi Stone

Before applying for the Systematic Review Analyst role, I knew very little about market access but I was keen to learn about the industry and its purpose. I’ve learnt a lot from my colleagues across the business, most notably those in our NHS Insights & Interaction team, who connect us with the latest news from across the NHS. For example, they delivered a series of webinars at the beginning of the first lockdown, which gave us a good insight into the challenges the NHS is facing during the pandemic.

Additionally, I quickly discovered that Mtech is a very friendly company and has a real sense of community; everyone here is very supportive and approachable if I have any questions or issues.

William Muckley

Even before joining Mtech Access, I was struck by how friendly and informal the team was – far from the conventional corporate culture I had expected. It is perhaps this defining feature that allows each department to work so cohesively together. Regardless of whether I am working with the Systematic Review, Medical Writing, or Health Economics teams, colleagues at Mtech always put each other first.

I have also been impressed by the broad range of skills and experience amongst the Mtech team. While each team member has their own area of expertise, I have found that everyone has an excellent knowledge of the current challenges and advancements in healthcare, allowing Mtech to work at the forefront of the market access industry.

Mtech team members stand in front of a christmas tree at our 2019 christmas party

(Left to right) William Muckley and Medi Stone with fellow Systematic Review Analysts Emily Hardy and Sneha Bhatdi at our 2019 Christmas party.

When you are not working, what do you like to get up to?
Medi Stone

When I am not working, I really enjoy being in the countryside and keeping active by going on long walks or running. Since the beginning of the pandemic I have also been doing a lot more landscape painting and reading, which has replaced going on pub trips with friends. I also love seeing new places and cannot wait to be able to travel again!

William Muckley

Outside work, I love walking and running. I usually keep to the lovely Buckinghamshire countryside but I also enjoy trips to the Cotswolds and Warwickshire. Most years I would venture abroad for a week of walking (and eating!) but this year I have been content to enjoy the varied offerings of the English countryside. I also love to read and I recently finished The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and binged the Sherlock Holmes audiobooks, read by the magnificent Stephen Fry!

If you’d like to find out more about pursuing a career as part of our Evidence Generation and Systematic Review team, please email careers@mtechaccess.co.uk or see our current vacancies here.

To explore your evidence generation strategy or discuss conducting a systematic review with the team at Mtech Access, please email info@mtechaccess.co.uk to arrange a meeting with one of our senior team members.

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