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3 Takeaways from an MSL Conference


As industry conferences go, this is a good one

SEMbio sent a team of Medical Science Liaison recruiters to the 2019 MSL Society Conference in Las Vegas  – the flagship of our industry. It was a great conference for meeting experienced MSLs, as well as people trying to transition into the MSL role. There was a wide variety of topics discussed that are pertinent to the MSL world during the conference – some meant to help prepare people for interviewing for MSL positions, some meant to help people who are just plugging away in their current MSL job. Here are 3 Takeaways an MSL Conference that stood out.

1. “If they remember what you wore, it’s a bad thing”

When helping candidates get ready for interviews we’re always reminding to keep their attire professional yet conservative. But a speaker at this conference got this point across in a great way by saying that “if they remember what you wore, it’s a bad thing.” This serves as a great reminder to let your interview do the talking, not your clothes. Not only could what you wear make you come across as too flashy, but it could also distract from how well you interview! Keep your wardrobe less memorable and let your interview do the talking.

2. Emotional intelligence and communication skills are as important as ever

If you didn’t already know the importance of social skills in the MSL career, consider yourself on notice. Emotional intelligence and all of the components of it are clearly a priority for MSLs and their employers. One popular way to push this initiative is in the form of personality tests to help MSLs understand their inherent strengths and good ways to communicate with others. It’s important to remember that scientific or clinical expertise is only a fraction of the job. As one speaker aptly noted, the MSL workforce is full of smart people with impressive degrees – what else is going to set you apart?

3. Insight gathering remains a challenge

It’s not a challenge as in MSLs don’t know how to get them from KOLs, but the act of gathering insights remains a constantly changing art. How does pharma define what an insight is? How do we take into account insights that can be gathered from social media? And are we really getting the best insights if we focus on only top tier KOLs? These remain valuable questions to MSL teams out there.

Questions or comments? Email me at

Author: Lawrence Beck, CPC

Lawrence joined SEMbio in 2011 and is a team leader in recruiting and business development. He attended Texas Tech University on a path that led him to obtain his Master’s degree in Sports Management which provides Lawrence a unique perspective as a recruiter.

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