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Graduating in 2020 & Joining a Start-Up Company in the Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences Industry

​COVID-19 has been an incredibly challenging time for people across the globe. 2020 has been both a year to forget, as well as a year to remember.

Families, businesses, and individuals throughout all walks of life have been hit hard; lost jobs, lost relatives, and a bleak sense of not knowing what the future holds. Life has changed this year for everybody – that is for certain. One particular demographic who have been affected are University students graduating in 2020.

I myself fall into this bracket, and for me, along with my peers, there was a growing sense of worry for what was to come, notably how the job market would be affected. For ambitious young academics now saddled with debt with their whole life ahead of them, a major concern is around securing full time employment following graduation and being able to find a suitable job, relevant to the skills they have developed and mastered at university. For many, the pandemic has resulted in many needing to work in supermarkets, pick fruit in fields or delivery driving to keep them going whilst the recession gathers pace.

For me personally, I have been more fortunate. I secured myself a job within a field I am passionate about – the world of sales, business development and the headhunting space. Admittedly, my initial plans to return to where I did my placement were scuppered due to a hiring freeze across the entire company. I ended up choosing a different path which meant a change of industry and a switch to the Life Science & Pharmaceutical space – a switch which was thoroughly worthwhile and one that I am massively enjoying being a part of.

Ultimately, the industry which will play the biggest part in beating the COVID-19 pandemic and restoring normality to human life is the field of medicine – in particular, biologics and vaccines. The aim, of course, is the development of an effective vaccine candidate that can provide long-standing immunity in humans and be administered on an annual basis. It’s a fantastic industry to be a part of and from speaking with enough senior professionals (from scientists to CEO’s) you can see the desire to genuinely make a difference and be a part of history. It is a privilege to be partnered with a number of top organisations who will ultimately go down in the history books for having discovered, developed, manufactured, and distributed these life saving treatments.

In terms of joining a start-up organisation vs. a corporate machine, the risk was certainly there in terms of job stability and company survival. This was a risk I knew when I joined, however the rewards make it a risk worth taking, and equally, when you’re young is the best time to take risks. Despite being a company of 7 people when I joined, Mantell Associates now sit at 15 headcount with no signs of slowing in growth. By the end of 2021 there is no doubt we will have more than 30 full time employees and in a few more years, who knows. All I know is that it is a fantastic company and culture to be a part of. You are surrounded by like-minded, driven individuals with a fierce desire to succeed and be the best at what they do.

We are still in uncertain times, although with three promising vaccine candidates being pushed towards FDA approval and the UK regulator MHRA authorising supply of thePfizer&BioNTechCOVID-19 mRNA vaccine, it does feel as though there is light at the end of the tunnel. From my own experience, I would advise anybody considering a move to the Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences industry or unsure about joining a start-up to take the risk and not hesitate in doing so. The growth potential is there and in years to come, you might even be able to look back and say that you made a tangible difference in the COVID-19 fight.

For more information on Mantell Associates and how we are partnered with various organisations working towards a coronavirus vaccine, please get in contact with Oliver Masson on +44 (0)20 3778 0990 or