Why work for BMJ Group
We think the people best-placed to tell you what working here is really like are the ones that already do. When asked, their overwhelming response was that the BMJ Group is a unique organisation with noble objectives. What’s more, our people think we offer fantastic opportunities for the right people, with intellectually challenging, interesting work; a supportive learning environment; bright, friendly people; and a fair work/life balance.
Read on for what our staff members have to say for themselves.
- Dr Fiona Godlee, Editor, BMJ
- Dr Sabreena Malik, Clinical Community Editor, doc2doc
- Ola Agboola, Head of Customer Services & Support
- David Payne, Editor, bmj.com
- Geetha Balasubramaniam, Head of Marketing- Journals Division, BMJ Journals
- Claire Weinberg, Journals Manager, BMJ Journals
- Dr Kieran Walsh, Editor of BMJ Learning
- Janet O'Flaherty, Publisher, BMJ Journals
- Jonathan Peterson, Head of Development and Operations, BMJ Technology
- Marie Traisneau, Head of Business Development, BMJ Evidence Centre
- Prashant Mishra, Country Manager,India
- Sophie Ramsey, US Editor, Best Health
Fiona qualified as a doctor in 1985 and joined the BMJ five years later as an Editorial Registrar in 1990. She’s since risen through the ranks to become Editor of the Group’s flagship journal and Editor-in-Chief of the rest of the Group’s publications.
I first joined the BMJ when I was a registrar in general medicine. I’d always wanted to write and saw an ad for a scheme that aimed to bring young clinicians into the journal. I initially thought I’d stay for just a year but was soon captivated as it was such a lovely place to work. Because the whole organisation is geared towards patients I still felt part of the medical community, which was important for me.
There are two main strands to my role. One is to develop and strengthen the BMJ as our flagship journal. The other is to be editor-in-chief for our other products, which means providing editorial leadership and ensuring the brand is always upheld. We’re a commercial organisation and the brand is one of our most valuable assets so we have to make sure our business policies are always in line with our reputation for independence and integrity.
The BMJ itself has a dedicated team of about 30 people, which isn’t a huge number when you consider that this covers content and production across both the print journal and BMJ.com, which reaches nearly 1.3 million users per month. I think we achieve miracles here every day! We have a meeting each morning where we discuss the content we’re going to publish, including podcasts and videos. And we have weekly meetings to plan and discuss each of the sections of the journal: research, editorials, news, educational articles, and comment. We also deal with a high volume of letters from readers, which is a really important part of the job.
Interacting with intelligent, thoughtful people every day, both inside and outside the group, is a real pleasure. I also love the fact that the group is able to make a difference by inspiring doctors to do the best they can for patients. People here are passionate about what they do and as a result there’s very little politics or sniping. There’s also a sense of shared responsibility for the quality of what we produce and a tradition of openness to criticism. We all critique each other’s work to maintain and drive up standards.
If you’re thinking of joining, I would say you should expect to work hard but you’ll be well rewarded – not only financially, but with job satisfaction, colleague support, and because we are a global company, the opportunity to see the world.
Sabreena joined BMJ Group nearly two years ago as a Clinical Editor and now works as the Clinical Community Editor for doc2doc.
I graduated from Leeds medical school in 2003 and worked as a hospital doctor in Yorkshire until 2008. During a short sabbatical in 2005, I completed a postgraduate diploma in journalism, after which I worked as a freelance medical writer while doing regular emergency medicine shifts at St James University Hospital in Leeds. I joined the BMJ Group in 2008 as a clinical editor for the Evidence Centre, working on Point of Care and Best Practice. In 2009, I joined the BMJ editorial team and started work as the BMJ clinical community editor. In this role I look after the clinical content on doc2doc, the Group’s global online community for doctors. I also do regular work with the new product development team.
I am proud to have been appointed a member of the Group’s new charity team, BMJ4Life, where I work with three others to arrange fundraising events and skills sharing sessions for the Group’s chosen charities, PaLM and Cancer Research UK. I am also honoured to have recently been asked to be the champion for the new BMJ Group Award, Doctor of the Year in a Crisis Zone, where I will recruit external judges to work with in appointing a winner based on his/her actions in a humanitarian, conflict or disaster situation.
Ola joined the BMJ Group in May 2008, heading up four teams as Head of Customer Services and Support.
My responsibilities are similar to those I had before, but I was mainly attracted by the big changes happening in people, systems and processes. I have worked in the information industry for over 19 years so I knew how strong the BMJ brand was. I have also been a client of the BMJ Group in the past and really respected what it stood for.
I now lead four teams under the umbrella of Customer Services: Technical/Online Support, Order Processing/Fulfilment, Sales Support and Customer Services itself. A typical day will see me prioritising emails followed by a meeting with my senior team or another department. Because we have direct customer contact it’s really important to keep up to speed with new products and campaigns. I love the interaction with customers but I generally only deal with calls that have been escalated, and I also get involved in high level managerial issues.
Our customers are made up of personal, institutional and commercial subscribers for all BMJ products so it is a very fast paced environment therefore listening, communication and time management skills are critical. We still manage to maintain a relaxed atmosphere though, and it’s definitely a place where ideas are encouraged and nurtured.
A journalist by trade with some 20 years’ experience, David joined the BMJ Group in March 2008 as Editor of BMJ.com
I started out in print journalism and immediately before joining had been developing websites and printed materials for the UK Food Standards Agency. But I missed the fast pace of journalism and a couple of friends working on the BMJ recommended the job to me when it was advertised. My background was primarily in health journalism so I already knew what a prestigious title the BMJ is. At the time I didn’t realise how many different products BMJ Group has. Since I’ve joined there have been other product launches, so it feels a very dynamic, happening place.
One of these was a clinical community for doctors worldwide, doc2doc.bmj.com. In June 2009 this product joined the BMJ editorial team and I was given responsibility for it. I'd never managed a social media product before so I was on quite a learning curve, but I've learnt a lot from the community manager and medically-qualified clinical editor in the team, and it's been great to see the commmunity grow to more than 28 000 members in 18 months.
A redesign of bmj.com is due in 2011 so we're busy writing specs for our technical partners and the design team in technology. The new design should showcase the quantity of content we're now publishing each day - articles, blogs, video, and podcasts. I'm also involved in the project group looking at BMJ Group's strategy for mobile apps, including the iPad.
My job is mainly desk-based – editing the website, leading the team, and commissioning guest blogs. But I have been given some great travel opportunities. This includes three trips to the US, including a trip to the TEDActive conference in California. That was an amazing experience. I also joined 14 other colleagues at a week-long management course at Ashridge, which taught me lots about the commercial side of the business.
I find the workplace culture here reassuringly trusting with lots of scope for self-direction. So it helps if you’re decisive and can manage your own time. People will also listen to your point of view so you need to be assertive and able to argue your point if you don’t agree. I’d say if you want to work for a prestigious organisation with a progressive outlook and a good central London location, then go for it.
Geetha has had a variety of marketing roles since joining us in 1996 and is now Head of Marketing- Journals Division for BMJ Journals.
After university I took up a marketing role at the Greater Peterborough Training and Enterprise Council. I hadn’t really thought about where I’d like to go next, but when I saw the role of BMJ Marketing Assistant advertised I jumped at the chance to work for such a well-recognised brand. I was also attracted by the fact I’d be working on international editions and liked the idea of publishing in general.
Since then, my position has changed as the company has, so I’ve been able to experience lots of new things. I became Product Manager for the flagship journal BMJ and Student BMJ and moved online in 1998 as our websites launched. Now I look after a team of marketeers, several of whom are quite new, so there’s lots of hands-on management. Apart from that my days are spent on product development, devising campaigns to increase subscriptions and web usage, maximising conference attendance as well as ongoing projects such as relaunching the BMJ and Student BMJ websites. I also get involved in everything from pricing and technology issues to organising free trials, so my days are extremely varied.
I’ve had all kinds of training including people management, a presentation skills workshop through RADA and copywriting tuition.
In Marketing we’re all about getting things to happen quickly. It’s fast paced and friendly, but you need to be someone who can keep up to date with what everyone’s doing within the Group as well as what’s going on outside the company and assert your own ideas. The Group is doing amazing things for healthcare and is changing all the time. Before I joined I thought I’d spend a year here at most. Now more than 10 years later I’m still enjoying it.
Claire started out in 1999 as an Admin Assistant for Clinical Evidence. Several roles (and years) later, she’s now Journals Manager for 12 of our publications.
It’s my job to liaise with editors, editorial assistants and production assistants, as well as the medical societies we co-own journals with. I’ll answer queries by email, troubleshoot any problems that arise and assist in setting the budgets for each publication.
Before joining I was an Admin Assistant at the Specialist Training Authority of the Medical Royal Colleges and was looking for a role with more responsibility. I hadn’t heard of the BMJ Group but everyone was really nice when I went for the interview and promised plenty of opportunities for progression. They’ve certainly fulfilled that promise! My initial role was in Clinical Evidence, which was just launching at that time, and I’ve since progressed to Production Assistant, Editorial Assistant, Production Editor and Development Editor before moving into my current role.
The company has also really invested in my skills. I’ve completed a BA (Hons) in Publishing which was all paid for by the BMJ Group, as well as an STM (the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers) Masterclass and training in things such as copyediting, proofreading and production.
The best thing about the Group is the people who work here. I’ve always felt looked after and included, and everyone’s so positive and engaged in what they’re doing. When I first started I couldn’t believe how long people stay, but now I’ve been here over ten years myself! There’s always something going on and I wouldn’t have been here so long if I didn’t really enjoy it.
Kieran joined the Group as an Editorial Registrar in 2003 and was promoted to Clinical Editor 18 months later. He’s since become Editor of BMJ Learning, incorporating BMJ Learning, Masterclasses and OnExamination.
I originally qualified as a doctor in 1993 and spent five years in General Medicine before moving to the UK from Galway. I also had the chance to do some work for the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland during this time, which stimulated my interest in medical education and writing. In 2003 I saw a post advertised at BMJ Learning, which was just one website at the time. I only intended to stay a year but there are so many opportunities I haven’t looked back.
As the most senior clinician at BMJ Learning it’s my job to oversee content and strategies, as well as driving up usage of our products in the medical community. Such a wide remit means I could be editing learning resources, writing content for email alerts or working with Marketing and external organisations such as the Royal Colleges to create new content. There’s also a big focus on research and daily and weekly feedback, which is especially important in improving our Masterclasses.
I get to meet a huge range of people in my job, which I really enjoy. The Clinical Editors of BMJ Masterclasses and OnExamination report into me and there are cross-department projects such as those with BMJ Journals or the Evidence Centre. Before I joined I thought the BMJ Group was just the BMJ. I had no idea about Clinical Evidence, or that they produce other journals including ‘Heart’ and ‘Gut’. Any ideas you have are looked at seriously from all perspectives, so there are real opportunities to develop.
Janet joined us in 1997 as a Technical Editor. She is now one of 3 UK based Publishers responsible for our more than 30 specialist journals.
After completing a BSc in Medical Cell Biology and Biochemistry at Liverpool University, I got straight into publishing with an editorial role at the British Veterinary Association. I later moved to Canada and joined a small medical publishing company, working my way up to Vice President over ten years.
When I returned to the UK I saw a job advertised at the BMJ Group for a Technical Editor. It was a relatively junior position, but I jumped at the chance to get my foot in the door at such a well respected organisation. I’ve since been able to progress to Publisher for BMJ Journals, taking financial and strategic responsibility for a third of our specialist journal titles.
There really is no such thing as a typical day! I could be writing bids, attending pitches, calculating budgets or meeting with our society partners. We have been very successful recently winning contracts to publish journals under our Affinity programme – most gratifying for me was taking over publication of the BVA journals, which is where I started my publishing career. I travel a fair amount in Europe and the US mostly to attend medical conferences, and I try to work from home a couple of days a week as I have a long commute. The highlight of the year is our annual editors meeting when all the journal editors get together and the ideas just fly. I also love the fact that I have the freedom to make my own decisions with support there when I need it.
It’s incredible how much the organisation’s changed over the past few years. As well as becoming more commercial, it’s also much more dynamic, so people should expect to be challenged every day. But if you’re willing to put yourself forward and contribute ideas, it’s a fantastic place to be.
Jonathan is Head of Development and Operations – looking after internal software development and running the majority of our websites. He joined the Group in 2001 as a Technology Manager.
We have five or six major web applications which were created in house and are used by doctors all over the world. My focus is the programming, or back end, of each application, which could be anything from an online learning tool to an archiving application for huge libraries of research articles.
My background in IT goes right back to the beginning of the commercial Internet, creating websites for the music and advertising industries in the mid 90s. I also worked in telecoms setting up data centres and server farms. When I joined the BMJ Group they were just starting their first big in-house development and it was great to get in on the ground floor and do things my way. I’m working with intelligent, switched-on people who think long term rather than in chaotic six-month business plans, which is fantastic.
Mine is a role of two halves. The first is giving practical guidance to software developers so they can translate our business goals into technological solutions. The second is liaising with managers throughout the business to sell the benefits of our technology platforms and ensure they’re aware of our capabilities. The most rewarding part of the job is getting direct feedback from doctors saying our technology has made their lives easier.
It’s an organisation full of self-starters rather than process-led people who work through their in-tray and then go home and do it all again the next day. Because of this we can be a fairly flexible company with regards to dress codes and hours, and it definitely feels smaller than it is. If you’re a real problem solver and want to explore new technology, this is definitely the place to do it.
After a brief stint as a New Media Sales Administrator, Marie began her publishing career with us as an Editorial Assistant in 2003. She’s now a Head of Business Development for the BMJ Evidence Centre.
I have to be honest and say I didn’t know much about the BMJ Group before I applied, although I had heard of the BMA. I went into the interview thinking it would be good experience and left thinking ‘I really want to work here’. Previously I worked for Proctor and Gamble in a project co-ordinator role for well known haircare brands such as Pantene. . I’d already studied part-time for my CIM (Chartered Institute of Marketing) qualification and was looking for something new.
Having worked on a range of BMJ Evidence Centre products and completed a post graduate diploma in Management I’m now Business Manager for BMJ Action Sets – our order entry set offering for the UK and North American markets. The product is being developed in conjunction with a a leading supplier of healthcare information technology . We’re creating evidence based content for a system that provides an executable set of instructions for doctors as they diagnose and treat patients, Every day is different and there is a need to be adaptable in order to react to new challenges as they arise. I’ll often start the day by chairing a project team meeting where we’ll make decisions about business and editorial priorities In addition to hands on people management and day to day project responsibilities I regularly attend conference calls, meetings and giving presentations to potential clients. Getting our content into clinical workflow is a new direction for the Group so there is a need to keep on top of what the the competition are doing, by attending conferences, reading industry reports and undertaking desk research. I love the level of ownership I have here. It’s really inclusive and everyone’s opinion is valid – even if you’re the most junior person in a big meeting. We work hard and have tight deadlines to meet but it’s made by worthwhile by the positive feedback we receive from practicsing clinicians and support from colleagues alike.
Prashant joined us last year and is based in Delhi, India.
With my Bachelors and Masters in Microbiology I was keen to work in the Health Care industry. I started my career in pharma with Unichem Laboratories Ltd. Later I moved over to publishing with my first major break with Elsevier and last assignment for Wolters Kluwer Health. BMJ Group has always been a brand admired and respected for the content by the entire industry. No wonder I was also in awe of the brand.
The moment I got an opportunity to join BMJ Group I grabbed it, and since then I have been extremely delighted with my decision.
For me BMJ Group has been a place full of opportunities and independence to chart my course to achieve the results. The motivation this provides simply makes me excel and opens doors I never thought were possible. Well the results have been astounding in terms of business growth and of course without the stresses of the modern day work life.
My family is very happy as there is a good work life and family life balance.
Also the Indian healthcare industry is still at a nascent stage and needs further breakthroughs. Through BMJ Group’s content tools I am confident of bringing about some effective advancement in the overall health sector scenario in the country.
I think BMJ has given my life a direction.
Sophie joined the BMJ Group in 2001 as one of the Group's first US employees. Working from her home in Seattle, she's an editor on Best Health, which provides evidence-based health information for patients.
I truly love my job. I work with an amazing group of people on a high-quality product — and I'm able to do so from thousands of miles away. This wouldn't be possible with many employers, but the BMJ Group's culture of openness and collaboration makes this a very workable and rewarding arrangement. This is also an organization where employee initiative and decision-making are encouraged, and staff members are trusted to manage their job responsibilities, as well as their hours — all essential elements for an off-site worker like myself.
But work culture aside, I also enjoy what I do each day. Every medical condition we cover in Best Health is updated annually to reflect the latest research, so editing and evidence appraisal are key parts of my job. I also write news stories on recently published studies for our UK clients, as well as blog entries for our US partner, Consumer Reports Health. This diversity of tasks keeps the job fresh and challenging. And, at the end of each day, I can feel good about our overriding mission: to make the best and most up-to-date medical research available to patients.
Another appeal of working for the BMJ Group is that our products are constantly evolving. This past year, we've reorganised the Best Health content so we can flexibly package our information to better suit our clients' needs, whether they're looking for overviews of medical conditions, printable treatment leaflets or self-help advice for patients. The BMJ Group is always striving not simply to remain relevant, but to be leading-edge. This makes for a dynamic and invigorating work environment.
And it doesn't hurt that I can wear my slippers to work, too.