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Two Career Pivots in Data Science with Incredible Outcomes

November 8, 2022
Career GrowthData ScienceInnovation
Careers Home  /  Career Stories  /  Two Career Pivots in Data Science with Incredible Outcomes
Brenda Remy, Executive Director, Strategy, Portfolio & Development Analytics
Brenda Remy, Executive Director, Strategy, Portfolio & Development Analytics

An incredible amount of career growth opportunities exist within Bristol Myers Squibb, none more so than in the Business Insights & Analytics (BI&A) unit, where deeply curious and intellectually creative teams analyze everything from value-driven decisions on a therapeutic area, to answering impactful questions regarding company direction.

To address the wide range of positions within BI&A, we spoke with an 18-year BMS veteran as well as a two-year employee. Brenda Remy, Executive Director, Strategy, Portfolio & Development Analytics dealt with data science at times in her BMS role as a chemical engineer, but her focus was lab work. “Eighteen years of experience has helped me transition my ‘part-time’ data science career into a full-time leadership role for a bona fide dedicated data science organization,” Brenda explained. “We’re addressing incredibly complex predictive modeling that helps steer BMS.”

Like Brenda, Pedro Garcia didn’t start out as a data scientist. “I got familiar with data and its importance as an industrial and systems engineer before I came to BMS,” Pedro said. He is now in a field-facing role as Associate Director of the Value Access and Payment (VAP) analytics team after participating in BMS’s Rotational Development Program.

“In one rotation we looked at clinical trial optimization, working with stakeholders from across the organization to analyze how we can expedite and reduce operational complexity, saving BMS millions in costs. Fantastic!”

A Combination of Science and Business

Both Brenda and Pedro highlight the importance of having that duality—experimental and data analytics—as an interesting component in their day-to-day. “I liked it so much that I took an educational leave of absence to get my PhD, which was paid for by BMS,” said Brenda. Pedro added, “I have an MBA as well as an engineering degree, but I was looking for something that was the right combination of business and science, and data science at BMS is it.”

Brenda’s role in BI&A supports the manufacturing division that interacts with Research and Development (R&D). “One characteristic of our industry is that many products never make it to market, so there’s a huge amount of uncertainty,” she said. “You don’t know when or how many you’ll need to prepare for. Through analytics, we contextualize that risk in the portfolio and help place the right bets, so costs and efficiencies are balanced.”

Those calculations address product development first. With no product, there are no clinical trials. But that’s just the start. “We also look into the future via data to model for the commercial manufacturing organization,” she explained. “So if these different products with different probabilities, happen—or don’t—here’s what manufacturing will need to look like.”

A Career Pivot Inspired by Real Life

Pedro spoke of a previous position and how BMS became a career consideration. “I started my career in automotive, which was fun, with travel outside the US,” he said. “But there was always something missing for me. I was also a caretaker for my dad, who had dementia at the time. I saw troubles he had as a patient. My brother worked for a medical device start-up and my girlfriend worked for another pharma. I wanted to be a part of that world where you can make a difference. Once I started talking to BMS, I was hooked.”

As we’ve seen from Pedro’s career path, there are no major industries that don’t rely on data scientists and analysts. What does Biopharma, and BMS in particular have to offer? Brenda offers insight.

“We’re working on super innovative medicines and data science can get those medicines to patients quicker and cheaper,” she said. “Another reason to choose BMS is that BI&A is enterprise level, touching every part of the company. We’re able to leverage data and information from across the entire company to make better predictions and models to help strategically steer the entire organization, which is quite unique.”

To compliment Pedro’s sentiments about meaningful work, Brenda adds, “I think a lot of the university data programs have an e-commerce focus. You have to answer this for yourself: do you want to help sell more consumer products, or do you want to apply your skillsets to help possibly cure cancer or bring innovative medicines to market faster?” And she added, “To those out there classically trained in STEM, but not necessarily data science, consider a career pivot. Bringing coding, data science and predictive analytics together, that’s a potent combination.”

A Culture of Support

The atmosphere and culture within BMS is an inclusive, diverse and supportive one—an example is our People and Business Resource Groups, of which Pedro and Brenda have played various roles. These groups support career growth and education, camaraderie, and mentorship and guidance. They are the resource that so many BMS employees cite when recounting stories of career growth. Pedro calls the Organization for Latino Achievement (OLA), “integral to my life at BMS.”

“OLA has given me exposure to the whole world of BMS across the globe,” he said. “I’ve been able to do some important leadership initiatives with colleagues in Latin America, Europe and the US. Those experiences fuel me as an individual.” And with over 30,000 employees across the globe, those initiatives are valued. “There are lots of mentorships, development opportunities, and people like Brenda, who will make the time to help because they genuinely care about you.”

An incredible talent pool, colleagues like Pedro and Brenda, the most interesting and meaningful work you could imagine: all compelling reasons to consider a career within the Business Insights & Analytics unit at BMS. Consider this closing quote from Brenda before you explore open roles in Business Insights & Analytics here.

“There aren’t enough data scientists out there to meet the demand of this growing field,” she stated. “Come join a dynamic team that gets excited about solving complex problems and learning new things. It’s a contagious environment and it’s a thrill and a pleasure to be here.”