One of the most popular Pharmacy College in India, Manipal College of Pharmaceutical Sciences the first college to offer post-graduate course (MPharm) in Karnataka in 1970 and the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program in 2008 in India. Attracting students from far and wide, the institution adheres to all quality measures in terms of imparting education to its students.
The Indian pharma industry has been growing at a CAGR of more than 15 percent over the last five years and has significant growth opportunities. However, for the industry to sustain this robust growth rate till 2020, companies will have to r will have to adopt new business models and think of innovative ideas to service their evolving customers faster and better. “Pharma Industry is very dynamic. The changes in the Industry, especially in adopting the new technology, are very quick and rapid. The academia always finds it difficult to adjust and to meet the pace of changes in the Industry,” opines Dr. C. Mallikarjuna Rao, Principal, Manipal College of Pharmaceutical Sciences.
To face the challenges and keep abreast with the latest industry requirements, Manipal College of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MCOPS) has put in place a multipronged strategy. “We approach at least two experts During the revision/development of curriculum. The industry experts are requested to suggest topics of current relevance that provide the students to understanding industry needs. Eventually such topics will become part of the syllabi,” explains Dr. Rao. MCOPS has an Industry Institute Partnership Cell, which has been actively working in the campus for more than a decade with a view to getting the latest information about trends in the pharmaceutical industry.
Dr. Rao adds, “A slew of industry representatives from different functional domains participate in different programs viz., commemoration lectures, quality improvement programs, workshops, seminars, guest lectures and so on arranged in the Institute. This gives an opportunity for students to directly interact with the industry personnel and get an idea about the different skill sets required in various functional domains that help them make informed decisions about their career choice.” Moreover, MCOPS has a pool of guests and adjunct faculty from industry, who visit the institution, on invitation, to conduct a few lectures in theory courses, to train our students and to interact with the students to provide them with required perspectives on the industry. The perspective is not only related to the pharmaceutical industry trends, but also includes the skills required in different domains.
A strong industry connect has always been a major strength of MCOPS. “The industry collaborations provide many tangible benefits including, recent updates on R&D for staff and students, financial support in the form grants, placement and training opportunities for students. However, the industry collaborations should be expansive and all-encompassing to make it more meaningful,” says Dr. Rao. Indeed, the industry collaborations should be for research, education, service, consultancy and training in addition to placements for a win-win situation for both Industry and academic institutions. MCOPS has tie-ups with several industries for these activities. The Major collaborators are Dr Reddy’s Labs Hyderabad, Novartis Healthcare Ltd Hyderabad, GSK Bangalore, Steer Life Bangalore, Alembic Pharmaceuticals Vadodara, LRP, Pune, Himalaya Drugs Limited, Bangalore, Suvan Pharma, Hyderabad.
The students trained to unearth their potential from the day they enter the portals of MCOPS. They are oriented towards the future prospects, challenges that lie ahead of them and are various sessions are conducted to unearth their potential. “Apart from their regular curricula, a lot many students work on projects offered by faculty members which goes beyond their regular working hours. Sessions on soft skills which includes time management, communication skills, team work are conducted to impart these skills, in addition to technical knowledge they acquire,” claims Dr. Rao. MCOPS students are active participants in National and International conferences, seminars, workshops, lecture updates and win awards. Besides, the students also covert their research work into publications in the journals of National and International reputation.
Dr. Rao states, “We routinely encourage our students to participate in inter institutional innovation and business competition. In fact, the college has the advantage of being in a campus town with access to in-house innovation center. The innovation center regularly conducts hackathons/innovation competitions and innovation day is celebrated once a year.” The students of MCOPS are motivated to participate in these competitions under the supervision of a faculty member. In terms of business plan competition, two students of MCOPS, after clearing two rounds of competition reached the final stage. This itself shows that students of MCOPS had creative ideas to participate in a B-Plan competition.
MCOPS has always been in forefront to provide placements for students. The college has an effectual team with both faculty members and student coordinators with chief coordinator who oversees the placements and facilitate students to get their preferred jobs. “We see less than 10 percent of our undergraduate students opting for placements, while majority opt for Masters’ studies in India and abroad. All those who opt for placements are provided with opportunities,” assures Dr. Rao. In the last batch (2014-18) BPharm students only 13 opted for placements and they were placed in Himalaya Drug Company, IQVIA (Formerly known as Quintiles), Medlife, KMC Hospital and Pushpagiri Hospital. Average package was Rs. 3 Lakhs per annum and maximum package was 4.5 Lakhs per annum.
On the other hand, more than 95 percent of MPharm (PG) students seek the job opportunities in the Pharma Industry. During last year, all most all the Post-graduate students of the MCOPS were placed in 46 different major Pharmaceutical companies with an average starting package ranging Rs. 4-5 lakhs through campus and off campus placements. As per the institute’s records a total of 18 students opted for higher studies (PhDs), and the rest 87 students were provided placement. A few noted companies who visited campus were, Abbott, Biocon, Decision Resource Group, Dr Reddy’s Labs, Himalaya, Indegene, Strides, Syngene, Novo Nordisk and so on. Dr. Rao adds, “Now, students who have graduated from MCOPS are adoring the positions of being General Manager, Vice President, President and so in reputed pharmaceutical companies in their respective functional domains in a short span of time. This is due to their sheer hard work, dedication, commitment, work ethics, integrity and “never give up” attitude. Some of our students have become entrepreneurs and have launched their own business ventures after graduation.”
Today, MCOPS inculcates the basic skills, knowledge and personality in its students to make them employable and that is the reason why MCOPS graduates are pharmacy professionals with a difference. “Hard Work, Sincerity, Dedication, Integrity, and “never give up” attitude leading to gain in Subject knowledge, Confidence, Team work, Socializing ability, Exposure to advanced technologies are major qualities a student gain from our education,” pinpoints Dr. Rao. The institute has a lot of ambitious plans too. Developing and commercializing a few small molecules which would target the cancer pathology and improving the present QS world ranking status from 201 to 150 by the subject Pharmacy and Pharmacology are few to mention among them.
Dr. C. Mallikarjuna Rao, Principal
As the Principal of Manipal College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Dr. Rao is responsible for all academic and research activities at the department of Pharmacology. He Involves staff and students in the development, implementation and review of college policies, programs and operations, apart from contributing to system wide activities, including policy and strategic planning and development. He has research experience of 29 years and has published 83 papers in reputed journals. His areas of research interest are Pharmacology of inflammation, tissue repair, cancer and metabolic disorders. He guided seven PhDs and over 60 postgraduate students. He has peer-reviewed papers for international journals like Pharmaceutical Biology, Indian Journal of Pharmacology, Indian Drugs.