Danny Lyne of MSD is wearing a dark jacket and standing in the company's Ballydine offices, smiling into the camera.
Danny Lyne. Image: MSD

‘The day you think you know it all is the day you stop improving’

8 Apr 2020

From a passion for maths at school to leading pharmaceutical operations at MSD Ballydine, Danny Lyne reflects on his career path so far.

Danny Lyne leads pharmaceutical operations at MSD Ballydine in Tipperary. Throughout his career in pharma, he has realised the value of continuous learning, on-the-job training, building relationships and seeking out mentors.

Here, he talks about the experiences that have helped him get to where he is today.

‘On-the-job training is crucial in order to obtain opportunities and show your potential’

What first stirred your interest in a career in this area?

Maths was a favourite subject of mine, I always enjoyed problem solving. The career guidance teacher gave me some advice and showed me the opportunities in chemical engineering. I decided to give it a go and I’ve never looked back.

What experiences led you to the role you now have?

On-the-job training is crucial in order to obtain opportunities and show your potential. I was lucky to have gained experience across an array of roles in MSD’s Tipperary site and this allowed me to get a broad understanding of everything, from the development of processes right through to drug substance and drug product processing at scale.

I’ve also gained further certification on the job, which allows for continuous improvement within the role and career.

What were the biggest surprises or challenges you encountered on your career path and how did you deal with them?

Things change so fast in the pharma sector and everyone across all levels is learning all of the time. I was surprised at how the company reacted positively to any projects that didn’t work out. They really focus on picking people back up and using it as a coaching opportunity.

This culture has helped many people become informed and has supported the development of effective decision-makers. Failure is inevitable, so embrace it and learn from it.

Was there any one person who was particularly influential as your career developed?

MSD Ballydine prides itself as a site in the development of its people. I have had numerous managers and mentors along the way, all willing to support me in my career path in some manner.

What do you enjoy about your job at MSD?

Interaction with various people. There are many different characters at MSD Ballydine, but we get our work done whilst also having some fun and banter along the way.

The variety of work is very enjoyable also. Each day is different, so work does not become monotonous. It’s what gets you out of bed each and every morning.

What aspects of your personality do you feel make you suited to this job?

Interpersonal skills are key. You need to build relationships and work with various folks from cross-functional teams to achieve. Each of our colleagues have different personalities, and understanding what makes people motivated is important for successful team performance.

Understanding these traits and communicating accordingly helps the wider team dynamic. Being open to other people’s views and opinions is also important, and not being dismissive of others or alternative ways of thinking or approaching challenges or problems.

People are our greatest asset and listening to new ideas can help two-fold – it improves engagement but, also, their idea could be the piece of the puzzle you’ve been missing to solve an issue.

What advice would you give to those considering a career in this area, or just starting out in one?

Put yourself out there to see and understand things. Every day is a learning day – the day you think you know it all is the day you stop developing and improving.

Request a mentor to help guide your career. There are people in the industry with vast experience and who are willing to share their experiences with the next generation. Own those conversations and don’t be apologetic about being inquisitive – again, that is where the real learning is!

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