Internship leads to career success for UQ alumnus

3 May 2018

Shweta GajapathiCompleting an internship while studying The University of Queensland Master of Biotechnology program last year has enabled Shweta Gajapathi to land a dream job with a global group of pharmaceutical companies.

Shweta, formerly of Chennai, India, is a Business Unit Compliance Liaison at Janssen pharmaceutical companies of Johnson & Johnson, Sydney, supporting the company’s commercial teams so submissions generated by the business meet compliance standards.

 “I took up an internship with another company, Merck Sharp & Dohme in my final semester in Business Compliance, which gave me the experience to secure a job in the pharmaceutical industry and get a foot in the door,” she said.

“I enjoy being able to collaborate, lead, connect and work with different cross-functional teams, and understand how different departments come together and work towards the same goal.

“The diverse nature of the interactions and engagements with different people every day is what appealed most to me.”

Shweta said she chose to study at UQ because the courses offered were strongly industry-focused, with lectures from professionals in the local biotechnology industry.

“This gave me a good insight into careers I could pursue outside of academia, and the flexibility that the program offered in terms of pursuing an industry placement internship in my area of interest was a bonus.”

During her time at UQ, she was awarded a Dean’s Commendation for Academic Excellence and a UQ summer research fellowship.

After graduation, she participated in the Kelly Scientific Future Scientist awards in October 2017 and was one of the top eight finalists selected from a pool of 160 science graduates in NSW, discussing her experiences, internships, and leveraging her skills in the industry.

“This talk was presented in front of a panel of industry professionals from food, big pharma and chemical industries,” she said.

Shweta said her career advice to students was not to limit themselves to what they were studying and to explore options beyond those traditionally pursued with a science degree.

Director of UQ’s Biotechnology program Professor Ross Barnard congratulated Shweta and other recent graduates on their career success, and said there was “tremendous growth” in the international biotechnology industry and allied service sector.

The UQ Master of Biotechnology Program is accredited by the US Council of Graduate Schools (Washington DC) as Professional Science Masters programs.