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In our series ‘People of Pauwels Consulting’, our colleagues introduce themselves and talk about how they experience working at Pauwels Consulting and with our clients. Today, we are going to get acquainted with Corentin Larcy, Business Analyst at Pauwels Consulting.
Corentin, can you briefly introduce yourself?
Corentin: Sure! My name is Corentin Larcy, I’m 28 years old and I currently live in Mons – Bergen.
What do you do in your spare time?
Corentin: Well, a few times a week – usually at the end of the workday – I like going for a run. I also enjoy having a few beers in good company once in a while, in a café or on a sunny terrace. And I love spending weekends abroad as well. Cologne, Barcelona, Hamburg, Stockholm are some of my favorite destinations.
But – recently – my partner and I bought a house in the countryside. So basically all our spare time is spent on renovations. We are working really hard to finally build the house of our dreams. (smiles)
What did you study?
Corentin: In 2011, I obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Mons. After that – in order to become a pharmacist – I also got a Master’s Degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the ULB, Université Libre de Bruxelles.
I also obtained an Advanced Master’s degree in Industrial Pharmacy at the ULB in 2014 to become an industrial pharmacist. This was an inter-university program with courses at the Université de Liège or ULg and the Université Catholique de Louvain, UCL.
Why did you choose these studies?
Corentin: My mom is a home care nurse. When I was a child, I used to stay in her car after school while she was working and – from time to time – I even visited some of her patients. That’s how I got interested in healthcare. My father – as an industrial engineer – gave me the “chemistry whizz”. (laughs)
Pharmaceutical sciences were the perfect combination of both domains. But during my studies, I became increasingly interested in the actual manufacturing processes and research behind what I practiced as a pharmacy trainee. So I decided to enter the industrial field.
Can you tell us a bit about your professional background or working experience?
Corentin: First, I worked as a consultant on a one-year project in the Chemical Pharmaceutical Department of the UCB, in the Preformulation and Non-clinical Formulation group to be exact. I had previously worked as a trainee in that department, actually.
During this first experience as a consultant, I worked on new formulation approaches to test the new chemical entities in the non-clinical trials. That’s the process before the molecule is tested in the actual clinical trials.
After that, I spent a year at the UMons in a research lab to fill in for someone who was on maternity leave. I also used to be a trainee there, by the way. Half the time, I was supervising pharmaceutical sciences students working on quantitative/qualitative chemistry and pharmaceutical analysis projects. The rest of the time, I worked on analytical method development and validation through LC-UV/MS to support clinical and non-clinical trials.
At the end of that project, I was at a crossroads, considering two options. The first option was staying in my comfort zone and looking for opportunities to strengthen my knowledge on analytical or pharmaceutical development. The second option was to start exploring other fields to find out which pharmaceutical field would suit me best.
“As a “junior”, I was extremely interested in joining the Pauwels crew to learn as much as I possibly could.”
How did you end up at Pauwels Consulting?
Corentin: While I was considering my options, I went on various job interviews and received a lot of offers to work within my comfort zone.
One day, I received a phone call from Caroline Talan, Recruitment Consultant at Pauwels Consulting. She asked me if I was interested in working on Laboratory Information Management Systems – “LIMS” – as a business analyst. She thought I was a very suitable candidate for one of her clients.
Fortunately, her client and I got along very well. I say “fortunately” because I really wanted to work for Pauwels Consulting.
What was your first impression of Pauwels Consulting?
Corentin: I first heard about Pauwels Consulting when I was working for another consulting company. Within the pharmaceutical industry, Pauwels Consulting’s consultants were and are known to be experts in their field.
Back then, I was surprised to learn that those experts gladly shared their knowledge with their colleagues as well. That’s why – as a “junior”, I was extremely interested in joining the Pauwels crew to learn as much as I possibly could.
Plus – as a proud Belgian – I was eager and proud to join a successful Belgian company. When I heard Pauwels Consulting also regularly organizes after-work activities, my decision was final. After all, I really think after-work events are a key part of any company culture.
Did your first impression match the reality of everyday business at Pauwels Consulting?
Corentin: Certainly. I really enjoyed the “Pauwels Consulting Academy sessions” I attended, a knowledge platform by and for Pauwels’s consultants.
At the moment, I’m also very lucky to share my office at the client with fellow Pauwels Consulting colleague Xavier. I learn a lot from him every day. He is exactly the type of consultant I had in mind some years ago when I first heard about Pauwels’s experts.
What I didn’t know then is how nice Pauwels Consulting’s staff actually is. I met some of them during the last after-work events and I had a really nice time.
Can you tell us a bit more about your current project?
Corentin: Like I said, since mid-October, I’m working for a global healthcare company as a LIMS business analyst. My job combines a lab and an IT environment: you have to deal with the needs of the lab user to be able to translate it into a suitable IT solution.
For example, if the lab users want to generate a custom report for a batch of results, our job is to ask those users specific questions about the required format of the report, the layout, the information needed and so on.
Then, we provide the IT analyst with an extensive document so he can develop the report. The document has to be as complete as the users want it to be, because “if it is not written down, it is not needed”.
As a business analyst, I’m also in charge of the LIMS user support: the role assignation, the little issues the user might have etcetera, but most of my time is spent on specific projects.
What’s the goal of your current project?
Corentin: We are currently working on the deployment of the current LIMS’s new foundations to make it more simple, user-friendly and compliant with all lab activities.
“What I learned and what I recommend, is not to hurry at the start of a new project. Things take time. Never rush!”
What are your responsibilities during this project?
Corentin: The project I am working on involves many systems and has been divided into 9 streams: 7 process-specific streams, a data migration stream and a system interface stream.
Together with other colleagues, I have been appointed as a stream leader of 3 streams. The key is to ensure good communication between all partners involved in order to successfully execute the project.
What does a typical workday look like for you?
Corentin: A big project like this one requires lots of meetings. After all, the project has an impact on many different teams and departments. So we have to be sure they are all well informed. Plus, we have to check if everything is compliant with the QA entities.
During such meetings, a lot of future “actions” and measures are discussed. So most workdays are filled with meetings and the discussion of follow-up actions.
What do you like about this project?
Corentin: Everything. (smiles) It’s a brand new business for me, as I’ve never worked on this kind of project before. I’m learning a lot about IT methodology validation, about information technology, about management and so on. For a curious guy like me, this was a perfect opportunity.
What important lessons have you learned in the past months, during this project?
Corentin: When you start a new project in a “new” field, you want to be operational as fast as you can. You follow all the trainings in your training matrix, you take in everything you hear in order to make an understandable remapping, and you want to achieve the goals of your project as quickly as possible.
But – the thing is – you’re not working alone on one project. You have to keep in mind that you arrived in a place where lots of people are working on other projects than yours as well, and that fixed working procedures or best practices were established long before your arrival.
If you don’t keep this in mind, you might get disappointed because you won’t be able to accomplish your goals at the pace you want. So, basically, what I learned and what I recommend, is not to hurry at the start of a new project. Things take time. Never rush! (smiles)
What would you like to do after this project?
Corentin: I kind of miss the research lab environment, so I’m considering to go back to my old friend. (smiles) Maybe because – in a research lab – you’re always on the brink of new discoveries: interesting lab findings can impact a lot of people.
When I was 14, my biology teacher told us the story of Alexander Fleming. He was a scientist working on staphylococcus bacteria. In an unguarded moment, he forgot about some culture boxes in his lab. After a few weeks, he noticed those boxes were contaminated by fungi.
Instead of throwing them in the bin, he observed them and discovered that – after a while – the bacteria surrounding the fungi were dead or dying. That’s how he discovered penicillin and saved millions of lives.
Because of OpEx, such things can’t happen anymore (laughs), but still, working in a lab makes me feel like my actions can directly impact patients’ lives.
I’ve also gained some weight since I started working as a Business Analyst, so standing up all day would benefit my health as well. (laughs)
What are your ambitions for the future?
Corentin: Always being happy in my workplace. I want to be in positions where I constantly learn new things. To me, it’s also important to be able to have fun with my coworkers at appropriate times. This improves the atmosphere, the synergy, and it increases the team’s achievements.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers? An inspiring wisdom, quote or citation perhaps?
“Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.”
It’s a Frank Zappa quote I followed many times while I was working on R&D projects. This quote helped me to think outside the box.
Thank you very much for this lovely interview, Corentin. I wish you all the best for the future!
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