"Looking beyond the rims of test tubes and beakers!"

A researcher in Marketing? Catherine was initially skeptical – until she discovered her talent for sales with Roche. As a Management Start-Up Trainee, she can now fully realize it.

e-fellows.net-Alumna Catherine Dold (30) studied Molecular Biotechnology at the Technical University in Munich and has been a Management Start-Up Trainee in Marketing at Roche since October 2014.

How did the first contact with Roche come about?

If you study Molecular Biotechnology in Munich, you know Roche, the geographic proximity of the Penzberg site is reason enough. But I didn’t really become interested in the company until my doctorate in Innsbruck: I read about sales training in Mannheim in the e-fellows.net newsletter. At first, I had my doubts as to whether I should even apply, since I – like many natural scientists – considered myself to be more of a researcher and had never had anything to do with sales. My boyfriend finally convinced me to participate all the same.

How was the event?

Brilliant! I learned a lot about selling – not only about selling products, but also about how to sell myself. As a consequence, I discovered a completely new aspect of myself. And I had the opportunity to chat with Roche trainees and employees and to see how the company ticks.

Just how does Roche tick?

What I find striking is the holistic approach in the development of new medicines: For example, at Roche a lot of emphasis is placed on ensuring that a patient doesn’t receive just any old chemotherapy, but that they try to adapt the therapy for individual patient groups and for special forms of the disease. Through the collaboration between Diagnostics and Pharma, Roche is working on making personalized medicine possible for the patients. This mentality immediately won me over.

And after the event, you were recommended for the talent promotion program "Roche Evolution"?

Exactly. Although my studies were already well advanced, I was still able to take full advantage of the program: At the 2013 annual event in Penzberg, I had a chance to network with Roche employees. I got to know the Marketing and Medical trainees at "Roche meets" in Grenzach. And in the spring of 2014, I participated in the event "Clear on your career", during which I learned more about my own strengths and my ideal career path. As mentioned, I thought of myself as more of a researcher. However, an analysis of my personality and the feedback of the other participants surprisingly revealed that my talents are, above all, in creativity and presentation and that I am ideally suited to a job in marketing or sales. And that conclusion helped to explain why I wasn’t really having fun in the daily work in the lab, but that I really enjoyed presenting my research and exchanging views at congresses.

And after your dissertation, you joined Roche as a marketing trainee?

Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite that fast. Since the position at Roche hadn’t actually been announced yet, I applied to a number of other companies and even got offers. But I had set my sights on Roche and waited for the job at Roche – which I fortunately also got.

What exactly do you do now as a trainee in Grenzach?

I am currently working in the office and passing through a new station every three months: for me the stations are Marketing, Finance, Medical and, at the moment, Digital Innovations, an exciting department, which develops strategies how to approach customers digitally and offer services. Then there will be two additional stations in the office before I start my 18-month field force training, which I am already really looking forward to. In total, the program runs for three years.

Isn’t it rather unusual for a natural scientist to work in Marketing?

For a start, you are much closer to scientific innovations in Marketing than you might think: Every day you come into contact with Roche products and deal with study results for example, modes of action and continue to keep up with the specialist literature. Many of my natural scientist friends have even congratulated me on my job, but don’t themselves dare to apply or even to go to an event. That’s why it’s so important for me to say: Go ahead any apply, look beyond the rims of your test tubes and shake off your prejudices!

© Roche with e-fellows.net, September 2015

Tags: Career Blog, Germany