– Exclusive Interview with previous year winners of International BioCamp_2015 ¦ Dr.Manthan Mehta

Yesterday we gave you Dr.Pavithra Krishnan‘s interview. Join us today for the interview with Dr.Manthan Mehta (Arrow marked in the pic) who too made it to Basel, Switzerland.

What is biocamp and how did you come to know about it?

BioCamp is a biotechnology leadership camp organized by Novartis which brings together 50 participants from the fields of medicine, pharmacy, life sciences, management, patent law etc. It consists of sessions on drug development, gives an insight into the pharmaceutical industry and a competition based on a given case study. I got to know about it from BusinessLine, a leading Business newspaper and through the IMPA Clinical Pharmacology group (WhatsApp).

Explain about the selection process:Road to Hyderabad

It’s a three step process.

Step 1: Application form which consisted of personal information and academic credentials.

Step 2: Aptitude Test. A 40 minute online test consisting of 20 questions on Logic and 20 questions on English language.

Step 3: Once you clear the Aptitude test successfully, you have to upload your CV and degree certificates. Following which is a telephonic Interview which decides your final selection for the BioCamp.

Tell us about the Preliminary online test? How will you score the difficulty on a scale of 0-5 (0 – Easy | 5 – Insane)?

The preliminary online test is fairly easy. I would rate it 2 on a scale of 5.

Tip: You just have to be quick!

Did you prepare for the telephonic interview? Give few tips on this for our readers.

The telephonic interview is the most crucial part of the selection process. I did not prepare for it per se.

Few tips for the interview would be:

  1. Please be honest.
  2. Be spontaneous and to the point.
  3. You get sufficient time to showcase yourself.  According to me, how you answer a question is more important than what you answer.

What kind of questions were asked in the telephonic interview and on what topics were they?

The questions ranged from your thesis topic to extracurricular activities. There is a special emphasis on past experience in working in a team or a group. The questions test your goals and ambitions in life and also check your core values. For example: What inspired you to take up MD Pharmacology over a clinical branch?, What career path do you intend to choose after your MD?, Etc.

How was your state of mind after the interview? Did you feel positive or doubtful?

I thought I answered the questions to the best of my ability but that element of doubt was always there!

How helpful was your college in this achievement?

TNMC played a major role in this achievement. We have an interesting pattern of holding journal clubs as a group activity and that helped me a lot when it came to working in a group at the BioCamp. Exercises on protocol designing and biostatistics helped me in solving the case study well. A special thanks to the Department of Pharmacology, TNMC.

Was the “Mumbai Edge” helpful?

They choose people from all over the country irrespective of the city/place they belong to.

What were your preparations after getting selected for the National BioCamp?

You can’t prepare anything since you don’t know what case study is going to come your way. They sent us some pre-reading material which I read before attending.

Where there any bursaries from Novartis?

The whole BioCamp was sponsored by Novartis and they gave us some amazing goodies too.

How were the accommodation and other arrangements?

The arrangements were fabulous. They pampered us a lot.

A detailed walk through at Novartis, Hyderabad_BioCamp.

Day 0 : A brief orientation followed by division into teams for an interesting treasure hunt through the sightseeing places in Hyderabad. A very innovative concept. In the evening, we had a small self-learning exercise which helped us identify our basic personality traits. It was followed by a DJ party!

Day 1 : Starts sharp at 8. ( Very particular about time). Some keynote sessions by great speakers followed by the case study question in the evening. New teams were formed and 2 facilitators were appointed for each team. The whole night was a brainstorming session.

Day 2 : I was too sleepy to sit through the sessions but they were pretty interesting and kept me awake. Case study discussion continued through the evening and night.

Day 3 : D-day. All the teams presented the case study which was judged by a panel of 7 judges from diverse backgrounds. A Question & Answer session followed. (You can answer just one question). A grand valedictory function ended the BioCamp.

Was there any bitter moments at BioCamp?

The whole experience was amazing. There wasn’t any place for bitter moments.

How competitive were the other teams?

Very competitive. Each one was better than the other. You have to give better than your best.

I have heard from previous BioCamp participants that, there will hardly be time to sleep at night. How did you pass through this drill?

That’s true. But you don’t realize where the night passes. You will be too active that you lose your ( Day-Night) time-orientation.

Did attending BioCamp bring about any change in your career goals?

It made me more focused about my career goals. I understood closely how the industry functions and what role suited me best.

In what way do you think BioCamp will be helpful in sculpting your future?

BioCamp grooms your personality as a whole. It helped me in understanding team-play and respecting everyone for what they are. It has made me more responsible as an individual.

 What are you planning to pursue after your MD?

I am planning to pursue a career in the industry as a part of the Medical Affairs team.

After attending Biocamp, what is your say on Current Scenario of Big Pharma in India?

Big Pharma has a big role in India. Novartis, for example, has a global development centre in Hyderabad. There is immense growth in Big Pharma and India has always been a country of interest for the world.

What personalities in you have helped you to succeed in this workshop?

The judges, facilitators and my team-mates could answer that better. In my view, my patient hearing and social skills helped me a lot.

 If you want to re-experience a moment at Hyderabad, what will be that?

The moment when my name was announced as a winner. I just didn’t know how to react.

Where you determined to get selected for Basel or just went to attend the National BioCamp and eventually got selected?

At the back of our mind, we always try to win. But to be honest, my main goal was to learn at the BioCamp. Getting selected for Basel was the best reward I could expect.

What are you expecting at Basel? (We asked this before she started to Basel)

A whole lot of fun-filled learning, networking and an experience of a lifetime.

How helpful was our WhatsApp/Telegram group?

It was extremely helpful. The Clinical Pharmacology discussions helped me devise a good clinical development strategy for my case-study. IMPA should continue its efforts in imparting knowledge to budding pharmacologists like myself.

Any suggestions for the future participants of BioCamp?

Everyone must try. Winning is not the only thing. What we learn there cannot be put on paper. It’s an experience you must live for yourself. I had explained the selection process and the whole functioning of the BioCamp. The knowledge you gain at your college gets applied there, so one must be proactive at the institute level as well. In case, people want to know more, I am always happy to help. Feel free to get in touch with me.

Dr.Manthan Mehta is a 3rd year postgraduate student pursuing MD Pharmacology at Topiwala National Medical College & BYL Nair Hospital, Mumbai. His (career) goal is to make it big in the pharmaceutical industry and he has been striving hard towards it. As quoted by him: “I am a funny sarcastic guy who tries to have fun in whatever I do.”

We are happy to have him interviewed and soon will be presenting you all about his experience at International BioCamp held at Novartis Global HQ, Basel, Switzerland.

Dr.Manthan (Encircled) with his team mates at Hyderabad

Dr.Manthan (Encircled) with his team mates at Hyderabad






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impas Natesh Prabhu Administrator & Chief Editor | Clinical Pharmacologist | Diabetic-Sexual Medicine-Regenerative Therapy Consultant | President, Indian Medical Pharmacologists Association