Gaining a Competitive Edge: SWPP leads to a marriage of science and business

For Paramita Chaudhuri Basu, participating in BioTalent Canada’s Student Work Placement Program (SWPP) allowed her to marry her passions for life sciences and business.

Chaudhuri Basu already had a PhD and was working in academia when she enrolled in a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree to further her interest in finance.

“I was interested in applying business to life sciences, but wasn’t sure how exactly to go about it,” she says. “I had no practical work experience in a business or finance role. But then I heard about the Student Work Placement Program.”

Chaudhuri Basu came across SWPP and BioTalent Canada by chance while attending a webinar. She heard the Student Work Placement Program discussed in passing and it piqued her interest.

After following up to learn more, she quickly found herself enrolled in SWPP and working in a business development role at Outbreaker Solutions, an Edmonton-based biotechnology start-up.

“It was incredible,” says Chaudhuri Basu. “In no time, I found myself immersed in business development and pitching Outbreaker Solutions at conferences. Very quickly I was able to marry my interests in both life sciences and business.”

Working in a business position at Outbreaker Solutions enabled Chaudhuri Basu to develop her networking and public speaking skills and learn practical aspects of finance and the business of running a company.

She says her experience at Outbreaker Solutions would not have been possible without the generous wage subsidy provided through SWPP, funding that enabled the small company that focuses on antimicrobial cleansers to take a chance on her.

“The Student Work Placement Program exceeded my expectations,” she says. “It’s the only program I came across that took into account my STEM background, that I am a woman, and my interest in business… I would encourage others to apply.”

Today, Chaudhuri Basu has both her MBA and PhD and is employed as Director of Programs & Ecosystem Development at Applied Pharmaceutical Innovation, a national not-for-profit bridging the gap between academia and industry based in Edmonton.

At Applied Pharmaceutical Innovation, Chaudhuri Basu can successfully straddle her passions for science and business, helping the company to build incubation programs for life sciences innovators, develop stakeholder relationships, and support innovators from Alberta to commercialize their life sciences innovations.

Not only does she love what she does, but Chaudhuri Basu credits participating in SWPP with her career success. In fact, without SWPP, she is not sure she could have made the transition from academia to the business world.

“The Student Work Placement Program not only gave me the practical experience I needed, it enabled me to build relationships that continue to be helpful to this day,” she says.