Having been promoted to Clinical Operations Manager this summer, we caught up with Venkat Rajendran about his exciting, and sometimes unusual, career trajectory.
Tell us about your role at Protas.
I joined Protas in January 2023 as a Business Process Analyst.
This involves examining, optimising and sometimes automating business processes and workflows to make sure everything is happening as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
To be successful at this, I find you need to be good at relationship building and understanding what makes all the various stakeholders tick.
Every single person at Protas has the skills, experience and subject matter expertise to help build and improve our processes. It’s the role of the business process analyst to capture those opportunities and turn them into something tangible.
I’m passionate about the operations and management side of things too, so I was delighted when I got the role of Clinical Operations Manager in June.
This role brings together the work I was doing previously, with the responsibility and opportunity of applying it across clinical operations through trials.
With Protas’ plan to be running multiple, large-scale trials concurrently, it will mean much more responsibility and challenges. It also means plenty of learning opportunities.
Through working with incredible subject matter experts, we not only help build the operations for a clinical trial at scale but also optimise them to cater to multiple concurrent clinical trials.
How did you get to where you are today?
My career so far has led me to many different roles, across three continents.
After completing my undergraduate degree in Electronics and Instrumentation in Easwari Engineering College in Chennai, India, I decided to dive straight into my master’s degree pursuing Systems Engineering at the University of Houston Clear-Lake, Texas, US.
My master’s was a blend of systems engineering and also engineering management, which meant that when I graduated I was well-equipped to take on roles that covered both the technical and human side.
I’ve worked all over the US, India and now the UK, specialising in global operations within the healthcare sector.
Working across different continents allowed me to learn how unique the approach to operations can be in every country, and how to effectively manoeuvre and run operations at scale.
I feel lucky to have had these opportunities in logistics, which can be significantly different in every country, helping me gain understanding of how effective planning can help deliver to tight schedules.
After supporting me to pursue my career in the States, my wife got an equally amazing job opportunity here in the UK, and I wanted to do the same for her, which led us to London.
What interested you about Protas?
I was immediately struck by Protas’ vision.
Protas was set up to actually change and improve how things are done, and to do so in a way that allows others to replicate what we are doing.
At other organisations, from an operations perspective, you might be making small changes to improve day-to-day functions. But here, we’re doing everything from scratch to a standard that hasn’t been set before.
That’s what makes it all so special to me, and not once since I joined Protas have I felt that we’ve diverted from that mission.
All my prior experience, I feel, has prepared me for a role like this, here at Protas.
What’s been your greatest achievement so far?
I think compared to my 20-year-old self, I’m proud about the progress I’ve made in my career and the learnings I’ve had in the process.
I didn’t really know what career I wanted to pursue when I studied my master’s, but I’m really happy that all of those decisions and challenges have led me to where I am today.
The next 10, 20, 30 years excite me, because I’ll be building on that legacy.
What advice would you give to other people looking to take that next step?
I wouldn’t want to dole out advice… but I often think about something my dad said to me: it’s important to always be in the present with an eye on the future.
Additionally, I think by understanding our weaknesses and being ready to learn and improve ourselves, that’s really the best any of us can do.
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