KI Alumni Rosa: “Keep positive and realize that everyone is in the same boat."

KI Bioentrepreneurship alumna (’18) Rosa Willock reflects on how COVID-19 impacts her work as a consultant with her Stockholm-based team at Parexel. Rosa, originally from the UK, is currently on lockdown in Manchester with her family.

Screenshot of a video call
A creative solution to stay social during this time is through video call. Rosa is at the bottom of the image. Photo: Private

Rosa is a Senior Associate at Parexel, a global clinical research organization of 20,000 employees working across the drug development pipeline. Rosa works for the market access consulting arm at Parexel in the Stockholm office where she works primarily in Nordic markets. For family reasons, Rosa has recently relocated her home-office from Stockholm to the UK before the UK went on COVID-lockdown.

How has the coronavirus outbreak affected your work/job sector?

When Parexel ordered a corporation-wide work-from-home mandate, the difference for Rosa was not so extreme.

“At Parexel, we are used to working globally and are set up for on-line interactions, which has been very helpful in terms of adapting to full-virtual office in a short window of time. Parexel also has many initiatives across the company to make this transition easier, including virtual fikas, zoom social meetings, and weekly team check-in to make sure everyone has the support they need.”

The biggest impact on their business will be in the clinical part of the organization. Projects running clinical trials have had to reduce operations for the time being in order to protect patient safety.  As such, they will likely suffer more disruptions than Rosa's team. 

How does a normal day look for you now, compared to before the coronavirus outbreak?

“The biggest change has been the lack of face-to-face meetings with clients. While my team is trying to replace those with more virtual meetings, we are handling much interaction via email.”

What do you think your company will gain from this unusual experience?

“The entire sector is rapidly becoming more flexible and responsive. Already, I see a huge possibility in the working-from-home resources. Our company is investing in new and improved video meeting technology, in order to enhance online personal connections.”

Rosa reflects that the necessity of companies to adopt these virtual-based communication methods will force industries with “old fashioned” communication and techniques to rapidly move forward.

How do you stay motivated?

“The UK has much stricter lockdown measures, we are very contained and can only go out for groceries, medicine, and exercise once per day. As an extrovert, this is definitely a challenge for me because I enjoy the person-to-person interaction. I’m happy to have a job that gives me a good structure for the day and helps keep me focused.”

“Since returning to the UK though, I have had to give up Swedish class and going to the gym, so my partner and I keep our free time busy with virtual exercise classes online, and cooking fancy dinners with my family."

How do you keep in touch with your friends in Sweden and internationally?

“My friends and I have been meeting socially for on-line quiz sessions. Our first one lasted 3.5 hours with all the chatter between quiz questions.“

What advice do you have for students who will be looking for jobs after spring graduation?

“Keep positive and realize that everyone is in the same boat. Finding a job right now may be tricky, but firms that are hiring also must adapt to these circumstances. They will likely have to switch to remote ways of working, and new opportunities may arise during this transition. Companies may realize that there is a huge pool of talented people who are available for work, and seize this opportunity if and when possible”

“Keep an eye out for positions in the consulting sector, as well as other industries where online working has always been the norm. These sectors may be least affected during and after this crisis period.”