Maybe you’re one of those kids who has known what you want to be when you grow up since you were five years old. Then again, if you’re like most teens, you have no idea what you want to study in college. The experts suggest that, when choosing a college major, you should examine your abilities and take a close look at the high school subjects in which you did the best. Take some time to explore careers at My Career Builder on the NJ Next Stop website (http://www.njnextstop.org). Probably the best advice is to keep an open mind. College is a time of change and personal development. Many freshmen enter as one person and emerge four or five years later much wiser and more mature. Be open-minded, seek mentors, utilize resources and explore options. You’ll find your niche and have a whole lot of fun along the way.
Before long, the real world is going to influence all the decisions you make about your career. Lauren Doyle, 26, is living proof that your college major does not always lead you down a straight and defined path. While a student at Lafayette College in Easton, PA, Lauren majored in anthropology and sociology and minored in math. Sure, these concentrations fascinated her, but when it came to choosing a career when she graduated in 2005, a little on-the-job training at C.R. Bard, Inc in Murray Hill, NJ convinced her to begin carving her niche within the medical device and pharmaceutical industry.
“I interned for Bard for two years during the winter and summer breaks while I was in college,” says Lauren, who grew up in New Providence and graduated from New Providence High School mere miles from where Bard is based. “I was interning in regulatory and clinical affairs, where I am now. I helped do patient status reports and prepared scans and entered documents into a system so everyone could view them and I organized the archive room so they could have all their documents in one location. I knew I was interested in the company as a whole, and right out of college I got a call from one of the HR managers asking if I would be interested in a position.”
Lauren started out after college in the company’s international division working with Latin American and Asian Pacific countries. After two years, she returned to her favorite internship stomping grounds: clinical affairs, where she has worked ever since. “It’s really interesting to learn about the new products and the whole process from start to finish—product development, research and knowing that in the end it’s going to be able to help somebody who is sick or needs medical attention,” says Lauren.
These days, Lauren’s day-to-day is a flurry of activity. She helps the company’s contract manager send out contracts that must be signed between hospitals and other outside vendors and Bard. She generates and keeps track of paperwork and maintains all of the key vendor agreements, as well as handling database management. Monthly, Lauren completes clinical update reports to inform upper management of the various clinical trials in progress. That recently included 15 clinical studies testing new Bard-manufactured medical devices.
In the fall of 2009, Lauren began MBA classes at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison to take her corporate business skills to a new level. Her four years of on-the-job experience, and the preceding internships, have been invaluable in helping her choose her career path. You can’t always predict where your college major will take you.