Guest Author - Susan D. Bates
Mary E. Dominiecki, Ph.D., shared information about her career in healthcare market research for the benefit of those who may be interested in entering a similar career. Currently, Dr. Dominiecki is an associate group director for National Analysts Worldwide. Previously, she worked for a pharmaceutical company as a clinical publications lead, for two medical communications agencies as a medical director and a medical writer, and for a university as a professor.
Dr. Dominiecki found her current job through an informational interview. She met the president of the company while attending a mentoring panel sponsored by the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association and asked the company president if they could meet for an informational interview so she could learn more about the company. During the interview, the company president told Dr. Dominiecki about an opening in the bio-oncology group. After researching the field, she decided to apply for the position. It turned out to be a good fit for her because she is able to use her analytical skills and her science background.
Through her position, Dr. Dominiecki is involved in all aspects of market research. Her work involves both research and liaising with clients. Her clients include pharmaceutical and biotech companies. Among her duties, she interviews healthcare professionals and patients about current and future treatments of medical conditions. She also designs and administers surveys to discover the views of healthcare professionals and patients. She analyzes the data from her research to create reports and presentations for clients. These reports provide her clients with empirical data used for strategic planning and executive decisions.
The feature of her job she likes best is getting to work on a variety of projects with a variety of clients. The most challenging aspect of her job is time management. Client projects are somewhat unpredictable. Sometimes her workload is very heavy and other times it is much lighter. She prefers the busier times.
While a science background is not a requirement for her line of work, Dr. Dominiecki finds it very helpful for her research. She earned a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Biology from Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) and both a Master of Science (M.S.) and a Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Basic Medical Sciences with a specialization in Microbiology from New York University (NYU). Dr. Dominiecki uses her background in science to understand medical concepts and to ask relevant questions of her clients and while conducting interviews. She honed her analytical ability through her science education, postdoctoral work, and previous experience as a professor, which helps her to analyze data and identify trends.
There is not one best path to enter healthcare market research, according to Dr. Dominiecki. While some market researchers have a science background, others do not. Many prospective market researchers complete graduate degrees in psychology or sociology. Regardless of the degree field chosen, coursework in marketing, psychology, sociology, and statistics can provide useful information for aspiring market researchers. It is essential for researchers to understand how to follow trends in consumer behavior, analyze data, and work with statistics. Dr. Dominiecki stated that someone looking to enter the field might seek a position as a research assistant at a firm that does primary or secondary market research.
Dr. Dominiecki advises aspiring market researchers to “do your homework.” She explained that it is important to look into the different research firms and learn about what each firm does and how they differ from one another. She suggests prospective market researchers should talk to several people who work for the company and people who previously worked for the company.