Making It Through ASHP Midyear: Advice from Fellows
The ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting and Exhibition gives pharmacy students the chance to learn more about postdoctoral training programs, including fellowship and residency opportunities.
The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Midyear Clinical Meeting and Exhibition gives pharmacy students the chance to learn more about postdoctoral training programs, including fellowship and residency opportunities. Whether you’re attending as a candidate for recruiting programs or simply want to take a closer look at other career options, attending ASHP Midyear can provide you with insight and information that you won’t find elsewhere.
This experience can be intimidating for participants, but understanding what to expect can help you to better navigate the event. Although there are many ways to approach Midyear, the following tips have helped past participants ensure a successful conference.
Plan travel logistics as early as possible. Consider lodging accommodations close to the convention center. Booking can be done individually, or you can access discount rates when you register for Personal Placement Service (PPS), which is a highly attended recruitment event held during the meeting.
This year’s Midyear is being held in Las Vegas, Nevada from December 4 to 8. For some postgraduate programs, such as the Rutgers Pharmaceutical Industry Fellowship (RPIF), the recruiting process may begin before then.
Although Midyear isn’t the only way to secure a fellowship or residency spot, it allows candidates to obtain an interview or attend an informational session through PPS. See Table for this year’s PPS session schedule.
Table: 2016 PPS Session Dates and Times
Monday, December 5
1:00 pm — 4:00 pm
Tuesday, December 6
8:00 am — 11:00 am
Tuesday, December 6
1:00 pm — 4:00 pm
Keep an eye out for the PPS portal to begin the interview process prior to Midyear. PPS registration opens on September 14, 2016. You can periodically search for programs participating with PPS after registration opens. If a program interests you, read its posting, and, if possible, apply for an interview time with the requested materials.
Note: RPIF only schedules interviews for potential candidates on-site at Midyear.
The residency showcase provides a chance to meet with program directors and current residents. It’s important to ask questions about programs that aren’t otherwise available online. Think about collaborating with other students to exchange ideas and information about programs participating at the showcase. The full listing of participating programs will be released in early November.
If you’re unsure about applying for postdoctoral training, the recruiting programs often host informational sessions prior to or during Midyear that can help you decide where you’d fit best. After identifying areas of interest, learn about relevant programs through their brochures or websites and consider reaching out to individuals affiliated with the program. Important program attributes to consider include affiliation with a university, rotations/project experiences, teaching certificate option, geographic location, past success of residents/fellows, and other personal factors. If interviewing, prepare well-thought-out interview question responses and relevant questions to ask your interviewers. Consider setting up a mock interview with your mentors or faculty. Interviewing candidates should prepare an up-to-date curriculum vitae, 2 to 3 letters of recommendation, business cards, and thank you cards. Also, don’t forget to pack comfortable shoes and a positive attitude!
Whether you’re planning on applying to a residency or fellowship, or you simply want to learn more, creating concrete objectives prior to the conference can make the experience much smoother. If you’re having trouble deciding whether you should attend or what exactly it is that you want to get out of Midyear, reach out to your mentors and fellow classmates for support and advice.
Keynote speakers, professional lectures, poster sessions, interviews, the residency showcase, and networking receptions are a few of the many events occurring simultaneously at Midyear. Managing a schedule is important for not only avoiding distraction, but also budgeting for downtime to enjoy yourself in a professional manner.
Candidates who will be interviewing at Midyear should be personable yet professional. Programs will be interviewing many candidates each day, so highlighting your unique accomplishments can help differentiate you from the pack. Fellowship candidates should plan to send individualized thank you notes or e-mails to interviewers.
After each round of the process, try to narrow down which programs fit you best. As Midyear goes on, you may find you have to prioritize which functions to attend or individuals to talk to. Although it’s important for you to make a strong impression, Midyear is also a chance for you, the candidate, to find out more about the program you’re interested in. Use this time to see if the institution and individuals associated with the program are all a good fit for you.
Make sure to follow up with the programs and submit formal applications for positions you’re interested in. On-site interviews for fellowships are generally scheduled around January, with residency interviews beginning shortly thereafter, and applicants are expected to be available during this timeframe. It’s important to keep in touch with prospective programs to ask specific questions that weren’t already answered at Midyear.
On-site fellowship and residency interviews may require you to give a presentation as part of the interview process. Identify a past presentation you may have given while on rotation, or a topic you’d like to talk about. Then, refine the presentation and practice, practice, practice prior to arriving.
Good luck to all candidates!
Kripa Sanghavi, PharmD, RPh, is a graduate of Rutgers University, Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy. She is currently completing a Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Global Regulatory Affairs with Celgene through the Rutgers Pharmaceutical Industry Fellowship program.Brian Ung, PharmD, RPh, is a graduate of the University of Maryland-Baltimore, School of Pharmacy. He is currently completing a Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Health Economics and Outcomes Research with Celgene through the Rutgers Pharmaceutical Industry Fellowship program.