From researcher to Medical Manager – A conclusion

germany, roche, careers, medical manager, medical affairs
I see directly what I do for the patients and this is naturally a great motivation for me.
Kai Dittmann, Medical Manager Roche Pharma AG Grenzach

You work at Roche as Medical Manager. Which tasks do you have in this position?

The Medical Manager is medical scientific expert in his or her respective indication area and works cross-functionally together with many departments at Roche. So he or she forms an interface between "Medical Affairs“ as well as to external customer groups, for example physicians.

What do you do exactly?

My tasks are very diverse: I organise workshops and expert's meetings with physicians, manage clinical studies and visit congresses. Apart from this I prepare communication materials for the field staff and office staff and release medical-scientific content in my indication area that is published in publications from Roche. And finally I carry budget responsibility. This amongst others includes the preparation of an annual plan with all costs for my area of responsibility, which I not only calculate but also present and defend.

Before you came to Roche – after studying biochemistry and acquiring a doctorate in the area immunology – you had already worked scientifically for several years.

My work group in Göttingen was very much involved in fundamental research, but as part of the University medicine also had several interfaces to clinical work. At that time I had noticed that I above all found projects with relationship to the patients to be exciting for me. For example we had cooperations in which we analysed patient material and had looked into the genetic background of a disease.

Why did you nevertheless decide to change?

I had arrived at a point where the development possibilities were limited. Therefore I decided to venture the step into the pharmaceutical industry. Although writing publications is very enjoyable, one does not however receive any direct feedback. In my job at Roche I can directly see what I am doing for the patients, and this is of course a great motivation for me.

This principally applies for all pharmaceutical manufacturers. Why Roche?

Roche is a very innovation driven company that always aspires to be at the cutting edge of developments. Therefore no generics or bio-similars are developed here. This is also reflected by the guiding principle of Roche: "Doing now what patients need next". Our goal is to make the therapy options that we newly develop available to the patients as quickly as possible. Through this there is a permanent advancement, we continuously respond to the market and try to optimise the therapy. Apart from this Roche was also interesting for me because it is a worldwide leading and operating company, whereby Germany is an important location. As Medical Manager I am much involved with our head quarter in Basel and also participate in the global telephone conferences.

Did you find it difficult to change from scientific research to the industry?

It is repeatedly claimed that the change from scientific work to the pharmaceutical industry becomes increasingly difficult the longer one remains at university. But with me this was not the case. On the contrary: I had more the feeling that I learnt a lot in scientific work that helps me today in my job. For my publications I also had to work extremely well organised and was already used to presenting data, whether it was at internal workshops or at congresses. Therefore I did not find the job adjustment at Roche very difficult.

What do you like the most in your work?

I find it very exciting to engage in exchanges with the physicians and to learn from them. At the same time I have the feeling that my work is really helpful. As a team we are in contact with diverse interest groups and try to bring their perspectives together. I find it great that we always try to place the patient in the centre of our considerations – only through this can we ensure that we develop what is optimal for them. In a meeting room we can play through various scenarios - but in the final instance only our stakeholders can say whether these are also helpful.

Which development possibilities does a Medical Manager have in the company over the longer term?

One possibility would be a change to the headquarters. Those preferring to stay in Grenzach can aspire for a position as team leader or change to a different department. This could for example be the department Market Access, which accompanies the market access of new medicinal products.

Read more about opportunities in Medical Affairs in Germany

Tags: Germany, Career Blog