Career

Health sciences and translational medicine are fields with growing importance as the population ages and the costs of new therapies steadily increase. Thus, the demand for well-trained specialists in the field of translational medicine is likely to increase, providing excellent career prospects globally. Recruitment to such enterprises occurs both at the graduate (MSc) and postgraduate (PhD) levels.

Around 40% of our graduates have been directly employed within the private sector in Finland or abroad. More than half of the graduates continue to doctoral studies.

More than 50% of TRANSMED graduates continue their studies in doctoral programmes. TRANSMED graduates are also highly valued in the private sector. Almost 40 % of the graduates have been employed directly by bioindustry, pharma or other health sector enterprises either in Finland or abroad. The job titles include for example:

  • product manager
  • product specialist
  • personalised health care manager
  • clinical research associate

Building your career begins already during your studies. From the start of your studies until one year after the completion of your degree, the Career Services at the University of Helsinki give guidance and support, including career guidance and counselling, courses and events, and facilitation of mentoring groups.

More information about the Career Services at the University of Helsinki.

Currently, more than 50% of TRANSMED graduates are continuing their studies in doctoral programmes, either at the University of Helsinki or abroad.

After graduating, you can apply to several doctoral programmes at the University of Helsinki:

More information about doctoral education at the University of Helsinki.

TRANSMED graduates are also eligible to apply for the FIMM-EMBL International PhD in Molecular Medicine and Bioinformatics, or for PhD programmes in other universities, in Finland and abroad.

Tomasz Benedyk

I made my decision of applying for TRANSMED soon after I had first arrived in Helsinki for an internship in one of the research groups at the campus. It didn’t take me long to recognize the high quality of education that the university offers and the friendly atmosphere created by the students and the staff. My time as a TRANSMED student was incredibly stimulating and scientifically enriching, giving me a solid foundation for my next adventure, a PhD at the University of Cambridge.

The research environment at top-level universities can be very demanding and competitive, however the excellent training given me during my time in Helsinki helped me to successfully progress through my doctoral studies. Settling in Cambridge felt challenging at first, as the structure of the university as well as student life differ significantly from most other universities. Moreover, moving from a modern and progressive city like Helsinki to a small town where time seemed to stop 500 years ago was not an easy task either!

Nevertheless, Cambridge definitely offers a fantastic opportunity to access state-of-art facilities, and meet many experts from various backgrounds. As a PhD student, I am a member of one of the colleges, where I can meet with my friends, attend fascinating seminars or famous formal dinners – those can in particular give you some Harry Potter vibes! Looking back at the time I spent in Helsinki, I was blessed to meet fantastic people and had amazing time living in Finland, and what’s more, TRANSMED proved to be transformative for my career in science and I can’t recommend it highly enough!!

Ada MacKeith (on the right, photo by Daniel Jyllikoski)

Before applying for TRANSMED, I studied global health and psychology at Washington University in St. Louis. I’d also been a committed student-athlete in rowing throughout my studies. I was interested in all aspects of health and medical research, and was searching for a graduate program to expand my knowledge of the medical research continuum. I was excited to find such a program in Helsinki, my hometown. An additional bonus was that my rowing club was only 5 minutes from the Meilahti campus, making it easy for me and my rowing partner, a PhD student in clinical research, to combine training and studying.

The best advantage of studying in TRANSMED is the combination of learning about medical science and clinical practice. For me, learning about clinical genetics, psychiatric research, and the array of tools used in clinical psychiatry genuinely made something click in me as a researcher. It sparked a curiosity to learn more about how genetics and epigenetics could boost both the diagnostic and therapeutic arsenal in the field of psychiatry.

However, after graduating in September 2019, I was unsure of which topic I’d like to focus on for a PhD, so I decided to explore my options on the industry side. Presently, I am working as an in-house clinical research associate at Crown CRO, a Finnish contract research organization. My current main objective is to learn how clinical trials are run. To my delight, I’ve found that the skills and knowledge I gained from TRANSMED have benefited me in every trial I’ve been involved in thus far. In the near future, I plan to pursue a PhD, but I am currently happy with where I am, because I can keep expanding my knowledge of the medical research continuum: ultimately, how new medical discoveries are delivered to help patients.

 

TRANSMED alumnus Joni Degerman finished his CRA graduate trainee program at IQVIA (previously known as QuintilesIMS) in October 2016. He has since been working as an independent Clinical Research Associate monitoring mainly phase II and III clinical trials in the UK.

Joni Degerman has a B.Sc. from the University of Helsinki’s Faculty of Pharmacy. For an MSc, he chose to study in the TRANSMED programme and completed his Master’s thesis in professor Kari Alitalo’s Translational Cancer Biology Research group.

He graduated in autumn 2015 and started job hunting in the clinical research field.

“First, I planned to stay in professor Alitalo’s research group and continue as a PhD student, but clinical research felt more appealing to me at the time, and still does,” Degerman says.

At the time, pharmaceutical companies and clinical research organisations in Finland had very few trainee and junior position open, so Degerman started to apply for jobs abroad as well.

In April 2016, he was invited for an assessment day at IQVIA’s graduate trainee programme in Reading, UK.

“Luckily, I was one of the 6 people to be selected in the UK cohort of the programme,” Degerman says. "I had to buy my own flights and book the accommodation but looking back it was worth every penny."

IQVIA formed from the merge of an American CRO company Quintiles, which provided biopharmaceutical development and commercial outsourcing services and another American healthcare information service provider; IMS Health. Degerman finished his 26-week CRA graduate trainee program at IQVIA in October 2016. He has since been working as an independent Clinical Research Associate monitoring phase II and III clinical trials in the UK.

Degerman says his day-to-day work routine currently consists of visits to the clinics, where he meets with the site staff to discuss the on-going studies and reporting them.  

“The most rewarding thing about my work is constantly learning new, meeting new people and working in a global company,” he says.

Degerman plans on staying with the company at least for a few years and possibly even longer, gaining experience and then possibly moving back to Finland to seek for a job with a more executive role in clinical research.

Degerman also has a piece of advice for the current and prospective TRANSMED students: “Be pro-active and interested. Remember that without experience no one will contact you and give you the job without you taking the initiation.”