A different kind of healthcare company

Tom Sturt joined Roche in spring 2015 as a project manager for a new laboratory project in Shanghai, China. Since this year he has been Head of Program Management in the field of building architecture and infrastructure. Sturt originally comes from Great Britain, where he initially studied architecture. He later studied international relations in the United States.

Roche in Shanghai

Many years ago I worked in Shanghai as a project manager for an engineering service company with an industry focus on life science and chemistry. After a year working on behalf of Roche, Iwas offered a job as a project manager for a new Roche facility in Shanghai. There I was responsible for the construction of an additional laboratory and assumed overall responsibility for the engineering and construction. Together with the stakeholders, I decided what we need and how we are going to implement our plans.

There is no "standard plan"

We build buildings for a wide range of business areas at Roche: for research, production, sales and administration. Every building has different requirements. There is no "standard plan" and every building has its own challenges.

One challenge is that our projects are very dynamic. We can only ensure, through constant communication, that we drive the course that ultimately leads us to the goal: a building that meets all the requirements and needs of the later, usually diverse, user groups.

Around the globe

"About 27 years ago I took one of the biggest steps in my career so far. I left Great Britain  and started working abroad. This was followed by projects in Malaysia, the USA and China."

The experience I gained in the construction of industrial buildings made it possible for me to work in the pharmaceutical industry all over the world. I benefit from that diverse international experience every day.

I think we all have a certain, deep-rooted perspective, the way we grew up and how we learned things. The nice thing about traveling is that your own thoughts and actions are sometimes reinforced. But you often learn that there are even better or at least suitable alternatives. So you get open-minded and ask yourself: “Why do I do things the way I do them and how could we do them better or faster?” You learn to learn from others.

That's why Roche

The general conditions at Roche are good. The company enables us to concentrate on our actual tasks and to drive projects forward. In my position at Roche, I can act independently. That is the big difference between working at Roche and my time as an external project manager in other companies.

As an external project manager, I always had to get permission to implement the next steps, although I was sure that my approach was correct. At Roche I can make this decision myself. My team and I are more agile and able to act, which enables us to perform in the best interests of our customers and their patients. This keeps me learning new things. I hope and believe that this is ultimately not only a benefit for me, but also for Roche.

Limitless career paths

There are countless career opportunities at Roche. I advise everyone to take advantage of this diversity. It helps to try it out and see which area or task focus best suits your own interests, skills and career goals. In day-to-day work, there is nothing worse than being dissatisfied with your own tasks or feeling that you don’t have the right job. For me, challenging and pushing myself every day is part of it.

That's what Roche needs

Experience in the areas of building construction as well as in building and project planning are important. It is also an advantage for our work to have knowledge in the pharmaceutical field. This background knowledge helps with complex questions, problems and risks and of course also helps to identify solutions.

It is much more important, however, that you are open and willing to learn. You should be a team player, say what you think and listen to others. This also means not only always following the ideas of your superiors, but also bringing in your own - maybe better - ideas.

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Tags: Germany, Engineering, Career Blog