An important interview is always nerve-wracking, but the infamous, “where do you see yourself in 5 years” pharmacy school interview question stands out for its ability to make people sweat. The question is beguiling in its simplicity. Everyone should be able to answer it, like answering questions about your strengths and weaknesses or “why do you want to become a pharmacist,” but this question often feels intimidating. It doesn't have to be if you are well prepared!

This article will explore the nature of the question and how to come up with an interesting and informative answer. In addition, some strong examples will help you craft your own response.

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8 min read

“Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years” Sample Answers What Is “Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years” Really Asking? Formulating Your Answer to “Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?” Conclusion FAQs

“Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years” Sample Answers

Sample Answer 1. In five years, I see myself still learning. After graduation, I would like to earn an apprenticeship at a Big Pharma Company or a co-op placement at a geriatric center to study geriatric drug therapies. I have a great interest in learning more about particular diseases to help refine drug treatments to fight those diseases.

I think a greater focus on the molecular mechanisms of new drugs is necessary as well as an understanding of changes required to adjust dosages of certain drugs to lessen the harshness of certain therapies. Unfortunately, biochemistry was not my strongest subject during my undergrad, so I need to improve in that area before I can think about researching and developing new drugs.

Sample Answer 2. In five years, I hope to have successfully completed my Pharmacy School degree and be on my way to one day finding a safe, effective treatment for pancreatic cancer. Cancer of the pancreas is one of the least survivable forms of cancer, even with early detection, and it’s my view that more attention needs to be paid to these types of cancers precisely because of their lethality.

The impossible goals are often the ones most worthy of our efforts. But, in the short term, I want to first understand how current cancer drug research is done and what strides it has made or defeats it has suffered over the years. I also want to devote some time in Pharmacy School to lab work and exploring the intricacies of nanomedicines in treating cancer as a relatively new development that shows great potential.

Want to prepare for the hardest pharmacy school interview questions? Check out this video:

Sample Answer 3. In five years, I see myself applying to an MBA program or, at least, understanding more about the business administration side of being a pharmacist. Despite my math and science skills, I do not have a head for business, which is a necessary part of owning your own pharmacy – something I would like to do one day.

I would also like to study the commercial aspect of modern pharmacology and investigate how new medicines are advertised. Recent issues have shown the need for reform around the ways new drugs are marketed and distributed, both domestically and internationally. The uneven and unfair distribution of drugs throughout the developing world is what attracted me to your global pharmaceutical policy stream. As an eventual entrepreneur, I want to acquire a strong base in best ethical practices.

Sample Answer 4. In five years, I hope to know more about pathobiology and the pharmacokinetics associated with treating psychiatric diseases. But beyond simply the drugs used to treat psychiatric disorders, I want to become more acquainted with the other types of therapies, outside of the pharmacological world, that can help depressed people and others suffering from mental health issues.

I think that to achieve these goals I would need to understand more about how society interprets diseases (of all kinds) and how these constructions can adversely affect those who are suffering. I need to know more about the sociological impact medicine has, as well as the ways that society responds to medical developments that have profound and unpredictable effects.

Sample Answer 5. In five years, I hope to be continuing my studies in a resident or internship position in the field, working directly with patients in an ambulatory, hospital, or other institutional setting, with the ultimate goal of becoming a hospital pharmacist. In my view, the role of pharmacists is as important in the medical profession for patients as that of doctors, nurses, and dentists. Everyone interacts with a pharmacist in some way during their lives.

I feel that I need to become more comfortable interacting with patients and develop a manner that is both friendly and knowledgeable. I hope to make all my patients feel listened to and cared for by sharing what knowledge and understanding I gain from my studies as the necessary foundation for effective treatment.

Sample Answer 6. Within the next five years, I hope to develop the requisite knowledge and understanding to formulate new therapies for people suffering from substance abuse. My focus would be on alternatives that do not create more dependencies and, unfortunately, more suffering. It has always troubled me that treatments aimed at curing people and easing their discomfort can become their source of pain.

While I understand that not all treatments for substance abuse can be formulated in a lab, I want to see where pharmacology, behavioral therapies, and traditional methods for battling addiction can work in concert to create a sustainable and long-lasting solution.

What Is “Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years” Really Asking?

“Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” is a commonly asked question in all sorts of interviews, from job interviews to university entrance interviews. It is as prevalent and often as difficult to answer as the much-dreaded “tell me about yourself” portion of an interview. The reason for the question is to discover more about your professional goals and what you can contribute as a student to the school of pharmacy. 

Pharmacy school, like any other medical school, requires a significant amount of time, effort, and commitment. Pharmacy school acceptance rates vary between countries, but the competitiveness and high standards of many pharmacy schools mean that your answer should be remarkable, concise, and illustrative. An outstanding answer can help you stand out from the rest.

Of course, there are other elements of your interview to consider. Pharmacy school interviewers are also fond of asking curveball questions that examine your ethics, opinions about the pharmacist profession in general, and personality questions that try to gauge what you would do in certain situations. You may have to explain your opinions on the differences between clinical pharmacy and dispensing, whether cigarettes should be sold in your pharmacy to keep it from going under, or what you would do with a limited supply of a vaccine. So, while “where do you see yourself in 5 years” can throw some people off, you should prepare for your interview by focusing on all aspects, not just this one question.

Formulating Your Answer to “Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?”

Many of the other questions asked in a pharmacy school interview are difficult to prepare for and are meant to be answered on the spot, like how you would deal with a specific situation. Fortunately, “where do you see yourself in 5 years” is a question you can prepare for with a little self-examination, reflection, and honesty, as authenticity is an important quality interviewers look for.

At the same time, your answer should be practical and absent of vague, fanciful ambitions that have nothing to do with your desired profession. You should list attainable goals that reflect your curiosity and enthusiasm for being a practicing pharmacist, while leaving out how you want to benefit personally from attaining your goals.

Choose a Discipline 

Pharmacology, like all other medical professions, has many different disciplines and specializations, so you should first choose what type of pharmacist you wish to be and then research what it takes to excel in that particular discipline. If you are interested in having your own pharmacy, are you aware of all the pitfalls of running your business? If you have more interest in research and pharmacology, are you aware of the challenges in the job market, and do you have a plan to overcome them? Whatever discipline you choose, make sure you are aware of the challenges you may face and then present a detailed plan of how you will overcome them.

Do Your Research 

It is also important to research the school to which you are applying and pick out things that appeal to you and your stated goals. If you like the program’s emphasis on clinical pharmacology, then you should mention how that aspect will help you further your academic pursuits.

If you are attracted to the school’s research department, or a particular professor who is a role model, make sure you mention how these intrinsic factors of the school can help you in your academic and professional career. Show the interviewers that you know what you are getting yourself into and how you are prepared.

Ask Yourself, “What Are My Goals?” 

You may have a discipline or specialization in mind, but what then? This is an important part of answering the “where do you see yourself in 5 years?” question, because it has to do with your life and career post-graduation. What will you do with your degree? Will you enter a residency program? Pursue another specialization? Will you go into private practice or apply to work at a pharmaceutical company?

Be sure to carefully examine your true career goals before entering the interview. Write down at least four or five of your career goals and draw straight lines to them and what it will require for you to achieve those goals when you graduate.

Be Humble 

You should approach the “where do you see yourself in 5 years?” question with a healthy dose of humility. This means answering the question by assuming you know nothing about pharmacology or being a pharmacist because, at this point, you don’t know much. As you would in a job interview, think of the question as an opportunity to show how you will grow and change over these five years.

Instead of focusing on the titles, accolades, and job placements that may come after graduation, talk more about what you will have to do to achieve those goals. What are the courses that are most interesting to you? What challenges do you foresee that could hamper your success? Is there one particular area or weakness that you want to focus on improving?

Answering all these questions will convey a sense of self-awareness about you and your limitations that interviewers will consider a positive. They want to accept students who are comfortable admitting that what they know is nothing compared to what they do not know, since that is what the next five years will be about: education.

Practice Out Loud 

Write down the main points of your answer on index cards. Once you have crafted your answer, practice saying it out loud using effective interview strategies, such as those you can learn in a mock medical school interview. If you want to have a real person helping you, there are many professional college interview prep services that can help.

Practicing your answer will build your confidence and make it easier to remember key points. However, there’s no need to memorize your answer word-for-word; you don’t want to come off as overly rehearsed, stiff, or inauthentic. Just focus on recalling the main takeaways of your answer; the words you use can differ.

How long is pharmacy school?


Answering “where do you see yourself in 5 years?” is not a difficult task. You can prepare your answer beforehand by practicing a little self-interrogation and answering the question honestly. Then, research the pathways available to you to reach those goals.

If you are not sure about your career goals, then this is the other reason interviewers ask this question so often; it has the added benefit of getting you to think about the future, if you haven’t already. You know you want to enter pharmacy school, but what do you want to do with that degree, specifically? If you examine your goals and motivations, you should come up with an answer that is genuine and attainable.


1. How should I answer “where do you see yourself in 5 years” for a pharmacy school interview?

You should brainstorm a checklist of what you want to achieve after you graduate, and then draw lines to those goals by stating concrete actions you will take over the course of five years to attain them.

2. Why is “where do you see yourself in 5 years” an important question?

It’s an important question because it forces you to think about your professional development and what specific areas of interest you want to explore within pharmacology and beyond. 

3. Is there a right way to answer the “where do you see yourself in 5 years” question?

Yes and no. You want to reveal your ambitions and show you want to maximize your potential within pharmacology, but you don’t want to set your sights so high that your goals seem unrealistic and far-fetched, so remember to stay grounded and focus on what’s achievable. 

4. Is there a wrong way to answer the “where do you see yourself in 5 years” question?

Yes. You do not want to come off as arrogant or boastful and talk about things unrelated to the profession (wealth, big house, vacations). You should also not be general in your answer but provide specific details about your professional goals. 

5. What else do they ask in a pharmacy school interview?

There is more to it than just “where do you see yourself in 5 years.” Pharmacy school interviews are multi-faceted and look at several aspects of a candidate’s application. For example, interviewers might ask you to present and defend an opinion, or explain how would resolve a tricky ethical dilemma, among other questions. 

6. How long should my response be?

As an oral interview, you don’t want to exceed two minutes when giving your answer. A long, rambling answer is a sign of unpreparedness, even though nerves have a part to play as well. 

7. How can I prepare for the interview?

You can prepare for your interview by researching the program you wish to enter and identifying the courses, professors, and extracurriculars it offers. Engaging a medical school advisor to help you prepare for your interview is always a great idea, as they are familiar with all the fields related to medicine, including pharmacy.

8. Should I practice giving my response?

Yes, you should prepare or rehearse your response, so that you are not too nervous during the real interview. Going through a few practice runs is a great way to remember what you want to say, but you also want to avoid sounding monotonous and overly rehearsed. 

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

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