Welcome to Stellenbosch University
Biochemistry postgrad now manager at biomedical firm
Author: Media & Communication: Faculty of Science
Published: 10/02/2015

Chantelle Pretorius completed an MSc in Biochemistry at Stellenbosch University in 2012 and immediately started working at Kapa Biosystems in Cape Town. Kapa Biosystems is a biomedical research firm with their head office in the SA, offices in the USA and UK and distributors of their products all over the world. She agreed to answer a few of our questions:

What and when did you study? 

I completed the following degrees at Stellenbosch University: BSc Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (2009) (Cum Laude); BSc Hons Biochemistry (2010) (Cum Laude) and MSc Biochemistry (2012)

What was your work experience prior to applying for a job?

I had no professional job experience before I started working at Kapa Biosystems. I only tutored and mentored groups of students at the university.

What is your current employment?

I am the Supply Chain Manager at Kapa Biosystems and based at their production facility in Cape Town. I am responsible for the monitoring of every aspect of the company's purchasing, distributing, inventory flow and demand forecasting for Finished Goods. I plan, schedule and monitor daily manufacturing activities for the component manufacturing department and arrange weekly shipments of Finished Goods to distribute inventory between all the Kapa offices. I am applying my knowledge and background in Biochemistry and experience at a research facility to understand the applications of all products manufactured and sold by Kapa Biosystems as well as the implications to customer satisfaction if products are not of a high quality or if delivery is delayed. Kapa Biosystems products have applications in medical research and diagnostics. The Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS), Quantitative PCR and PCR markets in which Kapa operates are fast-moving and customers are results driven and have high expectations with regards to product quality and sample throughput.

How did you get the job?

During the last few months of my MSc, I applied for the position of Bulk Manufacturing Scientist that was advertised on Kapa Biosystems' website. I worked in this position for 18 months where I was responsible for the physical bulk manufacturing of all Kapa products i.e. Stock solutions, Buffers and ReadyMixes. In February 2014 I was promoted to Bulk Manufacturing Manager for 10 months where I managed the Bulk Manufacturing department by leading a team of 3 scientists and planning and coordinating daily manufacturing activities. In January this year (2015) I was again promoted to a new position, Supply Chain Manager.

What is exciting about your work?

I get to be myself. I am a perfectionist and like to plan and organise things. My current position allows me to do just that and my fellow colleagues share the same personality traits.

Your advice to students who are entering the job market:

Prepare well for interviews and be yourself. 

What would you have done differently during your years at university?

I would have used some of my spare time to complete additional short courses like project management, supply chain management and people management.