BSc Microbiology to Scientific Business Development
Name : Damilola Aboyeji (He/Him)
Job Title : Head of Scientific Business Development
A levels/ equivalent : 1A,1B, 1C, Maths, Biology and Chemistry respectively.
Undergrad and post grad degrees :
Undergrad in Microbiology (Bsc Hons).
Postgrad in Stem Cells and Regeneration at University of Bristol (MSc)
Journey in 3 Words : Dramatic yet exciting.
Briefly describe your role: I use science to drive business decisions in relation to healthcare services.
What motivated you to pursue a career in science: I’ve always been curious about the universe and trying to figure things out since I was a kid. That curiosity led me down many paths and I had to choose between technology and biology. I went down the biology route after my A Levels.During my A-levels, I remember speaking with a family friend regarding career paths, and he mentioned that you can't always go wrong with healthcare. A part of me still wanted to be involved with science rather than going the clinical route and that paved the way for me to go on to study Microbiology.
How did you decide on your Msc? and do you feel you made the right decision for your career? I made the decision as I had spent most of my career working with stem cells at the time, so it made more sense to focus on something I was passionate about and had experience with as well. So far it has proven to be a great decision.
What advice would you give someone wanting to study the same degree? If you are keen on studying and passionate then it becomes less difficult. Pay attention to the individual modules studied during your course. a huge part of the two modules I studied came to be very beneficial for my next role which required the setting up of a laboratory and PCR. These two modules were Molecular Biology Techniques and Cell Signalling. I also found that during my MSc, many of the students were in the industry or were surgeons, which was quite interesting as they had a lot of practical applications different from what I have done, but we were able to share experiences and learn.
What is a typical day like for you and which skills do you enjoy using the most and which ones have you needed to learn and work on to suit the role? A typical day usually consists of at least 5 meetings, where business challenges are identified and resolved. My problem-solving skills tend to come in handy the most and being able to apply a scientific approach.
Work- Life Balance ( what are working hours like? And how do you strive to maintain balance?) -
I usually work 9-5 but at a managerial or director level this usually extends into your personal time. I have learnt to allocate time better so that all work I do is mostly done during working hours.
What resources helped you most during your career journey ( you can also talk about the lack of resources if applicable).
I found that being able to sign up to a CPD programme with the Royal Society of Biology helped. Having a mentor was also very key in my first scientific role. My mentor used to drive me home from work and became a close friend of mine from our drive-home conversations. He excelled in his own career and told me how to optimise my CV, work hard, make connections and keep researching. He said, if you keep researching, then you are either on the right level or ahead of the curve.
You have been in many positions of leadership and set up a Covid-19 testing lab. What were the thoughts that led up to that and how does that lead into where you see yourself in 5 years?.
Over the last ten years, I have been fortunate to be rewarded for the extra effort put into my personal development so leadership opportunities came naturally. In the next 5 years I see myself as a director in one of the largest scientific or healthcare companies in the world.
What advice would you give anyone wanting to follow your career path and working in a highly regulated industry.
Keep on learning and at first it may seem like it doesn’t lead anywhere but after a few years there will be a massive difference propelling you to further success. It took me about 3 years after leaving university before I realised what career path was best for me. This was mainly due to being a Lab Scientist during those early years and still learning new techniques, but once I figured that out, I was then able to explore how to build on the foundations laid and accelerate my career.
Why didn’t you go down the PhD route ? I
I wanted a more direct experience in the industry rather than getting it through academia first.
With years of experience: How have you grown from rejection and what advice would you give
Believing in yourself is key, so even with rejection you just see it as another step in the journey rather than a stumbling block.
What were your perceptions of being a scientist before you started your course and how do you use your stem ambassador role to create an image for people interested in stem ?
I’ve always thought being a scientist was cool but when I started studying I realised there were many stereotypes which hinder people. This is why I decided to become an ambassador to hopefully motivate people like me and those that are challenged when pursuing a career in STEM subjects.
Outside science how would you describe yourself?
Love to have a party and see myself as an extrovert.
Have your passions and interests changed since you started thinking of careers?
Was there a defining moment for you?. My passions have become more tailored to my career. When I was younger it was more focused on Technology but now my passion is to help improve the quality of the human lifespan. The defining moment was in 2017 when I went to a conference and saw the future of what healthcare could be.
When considering your career path, how much has your potential salary affected your decision
Once I became a manager there was an expectation of what my base salary should be as I started to realise what my input brings to an organisation and I now had experience behind me and a Masters degree to back that as well.
Sometimes I simply look for similar jobs and see what the top and mid-ranges are. And also take into consideration what the company might be paying people on similar level on Glassdoor.