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Mandip comes from a biomedical background and started in the industry about five years ago at the age of 22, working in Primary Care and selling cardiovascular and diabetes products. Mandip has been working for Otsuka Pharmaceuticals for one and half years now and has made a tremendous impact on her territory, with the help of her team partner George Olifa, over this short time.

Mandip answered these questions from Pf:

What is your role?
I work as Psychiatry Hospital Specialist in London. When I first meet a customer I focus on understanding their needs. Then I try to provide the best pharmacological solution. I co-promote a new generation atypical antipsychotic for the treatment of schizophrenia with Bristol-Meyers Squibb. It can be used as another tool to help patients.

What do you find most challenging?
When I started with this product a year and half ago, my territory was at the bottom for sales and coverage/frequency. I was shooting for the top quarter . . . well, now the territory is NUMBER 1 for Otsuka and BMS. This was achieved by targeting the right customers, at the right frequency, with the right message.

How do you find co-promoting products?
I find it very good. We work very closely together in comparison to other companies I have co-promoted with . . . this is the best place to work in my opinion. All aspects of the job are shared, such as training. The product was jointly launched here in the UK and globally. Everything from the outset was done together.

What was your most rewarding experience?
It was the ‘Our London’ project. That was a project we supported to help mental health patients express their feelings about their illness and London. The East London City Mental Health Trust supported the project and showcased it in their local magazine, Trust Talk. It was a three-dimensional model that was built by patients to help them express themselves. It was a fantastic feeling to be involved in something like that and be able to help that many mental health patients express themselves.


How did it feel to win the Mental Health Representative of the Year Award?
It was amazing to win! Being so new I really had no idea of the impact I was having on my customers. I knew the sales but not the opinions of my customers. The role is really about listening and communicating in and around their needs. I detailed three doctors along with other representatives from 12 other companies . . . so as you can imagine, it was a fantastic shock to win!

Do you have any advice for new reps in Mental Health?
I think: be open and honest with customers, do not promise what you cannot deliver. Be different and imaginative, and most importantly . . . know your therapy area really well. As for the choice in companies . . . there are a lot out there to choose from. Otsuka Pharmaceuticals is a small family-oriented Japanese company with a promising pipeline for the future. I feel a lot of my success is down to great products and a great company. I am really happy with my choice of a small company because I really feel like ‘a BIG fish in a small pond!’

Lucy Randle offers some top tips on interviewing skills to help ensure that, like Mandip, you can secure the job of your dreams:

1. Research your company. Every candidate will check the company website – show that you are the best candidate by exploring other avenues. Read the trade press for news, even contact the prospective employer to ask for any extra literature.
2. Think of your interview as ‘speed dating’, trying to find as much about your prospective employer as possible whilst selling yourself. You need to find out whether you and your interviewer will be able to have a successful and harmonious working relationship.
3. If you have been put forward by a recruitment company, use your consultant! Make sure they prepare you, and push them for any extra information. What will the interviewer be like? Who else is up for the position?
4. Always get ‘closure’ at the end of an interview. Ask whether there are any lingering concerns your interviewer has about your ability to do the job. This will be your only chance to argue your case.
5. Make sure you have some questions about the company in case they ask at the end of the interview. Silence or saying ‘No’ will make you appear nervous or worse, uninterested!

6. It’s always better to arrive more conservatively dressed than expected, rather than the other way round. Look professional, but make sure you are comfortable. Grooming and attention to detail is a must, but shoes you can’t walk in or trousers that are too tight won’t help you to impress a potential employer.
7. Ask to have a look around the environment where you will be working. This will give you a chance to gauge the atmosphere for yourself and to show real interest in the company.
8. Know your own CV inside and out. Take extra copies to your interview, and be prepared to elaborate on anything you may have written. If you have said you’re ‘flexible’, the interviewer may want an example of this. Be prepared to be caught out if you’ve spelt anything incorrectly or have lied about your interest in figure skating.
9. Be positive! Even if you arrive in the pouring rain, your pet hamster has died and you hate your current boss, always make sure you have something upbeat to say.
10. Finally, relax! Make sure you prepare everything you need the night before, read through any notes or literature and have an early night.

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