MilliporeSigma Director, Strategy and Business Development
University of California, San Francisco Post-doc, Virology, immunology, and vaccine development related to HIV
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How did you get to where you are today? What is your story? What incidents and experiences shaped your career path?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Sep 11 2020
It's a fairly convoluted story. I actually work in biotech, and I'm a director of strategy and business development. But I actually went to three different colleges. I basically stopped once in the middle because I didn't really know why I was trying to major and when I was majoring in so they were very roundabout way. I wound up majoring in biology. I wound up getting a doctorate in cell molecular biology and genetics and then actually went on, did a post doc in virology. Before I finally realized that I wanted Thio work in business on, I actually completely switched over and started a career in market which evolved into, AH, product management, marketing management on business development. So it's, um, there's nothing predictable, predictable or normal about the path bond. Frequently, I like to show this through with people because it shows that you can never go so far done one path that you can't completely change direction and do something different. Onda. More importantly, I think the job that I'm in now is not a job that's very well defined, and it's not commonly known. Thio people looking for careers in business or in biotech or or farm

What responsibilities and decisions does one handle in a job like yours? Tell us about weekly work hours, including the time spent on work travel and working from home.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Sep 11 2020
so that in general, the idea of business development. And so I consider myself a business development professional and that some business development is really about network working, uh, performing strategic analysis and so really everything that my business or that the portion of the company that I support that has to do with third party in organic solutions. That's my responsibility. I don't I have evolved into a role where I don't have any direct reports, work in a group of five people that support two billion your own business. So we have a lot of worldwide responsibility over a very broad business, but there are a lot of different functional groups we work with. So I I constantly work in teams of 3 to 10 people where there's a marketing representative and R and D representative and then many other functional groups, such as manufacturing or quality or operations of regulatory. But my job is to interface with third parties. I spend 1 to 2 weeks per month on the road interfacing with companies having steering committee meetings. Um, the pipeline turns over very quickly, so it's a lot of fresh faces and fresh opportunities every month in a recorder, but I don't know if that spoke to the responsibilities. The responsibilities at the end of the day are to structure and negotiate deals and get agreements in place that further the needs of our business. Eso its's a number of components that go into that, and part of it draws on my technical background. Part of it draws on my marketing background, but I probably spend more time doing finance and legal work than than anything else nowadays.

What are the challenges in a job like yours? What approaches are effective in dealing with these challenges? Discussing examples will help students learn better.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Sep 11 2020
e guess the challenges what why I've over the last 20 years has grown into a job that I really thoroughly enjoy. And I think the challenge is that its different every day I wake up every morning and I have very little idea what emergencies were gonna come about when I open my email for first thing in the morning. It's a different set of challenges every day, and it's again. It's not very predictable. Eso I think I've I've I have to accept change. I've come to appreciate that when things get too settled into predictable, it's not as much fun and it Z, there's no challenge. There is no fun for me. Eso I think, to keep an open mind and to be flexible and to be responsive, that's that's all. I could do it

What tools (software programs, frameworks, models, algorithms, languages) are typically used in a role like yours?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Sep 11 2020
it's ah ah, Lot of my work is done on the phone and through email. There's a very important attribute around the personal connection and personally contacting business partners. Um, you know, other other parties to contract aside from that. So I worked with a lot of legal contracts, and I do an awful lot of power point just toe to try and, you know, explain, summarize my projects, you know, in tow, her upper management to understand on what the horizon on these projects looks like and itself. There's enough Cloud of Excel works, so it's normal. Normal, you know, business of Microsoft documents.

What are the job titles of people who someone in your role routinely works with, within and outside of the organization? What approaches are effective in working with them?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Sep 11 2020
The key to this title is I normally connect with people and other companies with business development in their in their title, and it's again, it's traditional business development. It's not sales, um, sales. We work, which frequently is referred to his business development but business development in terms of, uh, sometimes it'll be combined with licensing or strategic partnerships or innovation. Um, something along those lines, Um, and again when? When I find those people, the people that do business development are in this role. And I know you've talked to some of my previous colleagues because a company of my size has literally dozens of people in different businesses doing work like this. But it's a very specific kind of work in terms of finding the right contact for something that way. Think we need this from your company. We don't really know anything else that that, but we would like to be open minded and flexible and find a way to, you know, a mutually beneficial solution or resolution to this need, and that's that's That's how it goes about

How would you describe your management style? How has it evolved over the years? Can you tell about experiences or books that influenced your management style?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Sep 11 2020
Yeah, So I would say it's become a lot more relaxed and offhanded and independent. I'm really lucky to work in a fairly flat organization where there's a lot of trust. There's a lot of understanding. There's also a lot of, um, experience from all the team members, and everybody's clearly bought into the long term strategic goals as well. Is that kind of, you know, short short term activities they're going on Eso. So my style is, um yeah. So, first of all, I don't have any direct reports, so but but my work style and in terms of managing the teams is on. It's based on trust and transparency. I think there's within my organization. Um, Mark E G A is ah, very environmentally and socially conscious and, uh, straightforward company s. So it's a lot of this concerned about being straightforward and honest and open, and I think that that helps, uh,

How do you manage conflicts within and across teams? How do you promote trust, openness and a healthy work culture? Sharing stories will greatly help.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Sep 11 2020
again. I would say that, you know, in reference to my last answer, and I guess I should have prepped on these questions a little better. I would say that the transparency, the openness, we have some core values of the company, but acting ethically with our partners, but internally, really being open and honest and transparent. And I don't know if I have any good stories to back that up. But when I think about previous companies that I worked out where there was conflict and there was more drama and that the day to day workings of the business, e think was because those things were lacking Andi, I think, honestly, when he adhered to those principles, it it facilitates good communication. Um, I also think it allows people to be more accepting of people with different experiences and different approaches to problems. Um, and it's, you know, if you work for a big international company and maybe that's part of the evolution and working for a really ah, large multinational company where a lot of the majority of my colleagues are based in Europe and Asia, Um, you really have to just be ready to accept just about anything in terms of cultural bias or, you know, just just just mindset about the people you're working with just to be open minded.

How can one get better recognition of work from one's boss and higher management? What mistakes should one avoid? Stories or examples will be quite helpful.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Sep 11 2020
good question. And I think starting out in my career, I think it's something you always grapple with wanting to get attention for things that you dio. I learned from a manager that I had 12 or 15 years ago, and he used to always kind of joked to me which which I something I've come to take very seriously. But the idea was he was my boss. But he always said, like, you know, just remember to make your boss look good on guy. Think something that really, like developed in the internally is that if I all I worry is about my boss is going to be successful on, but it's really not about me getting credit for things. But if I do things for the credit of my group, for the credit of my business, I'm always gonna look good in the end. And it's always gonna work out. So I think directly managing up or were you think about those things? Is a is a is a problem. It za rabbit hole, you know

What indicators are used to track performance in a job like yours? Think of the indicators such as key performance indicators (KPIs), objectives & key results (OKRs), or so on.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Sep 11 2020
I'm tracked on doing deals and hitting financial targets. So I have very clear metrics that air set every year and that, you know, that's my bonus and a lot of things air based upon tracking towards those goals. So its financial goals in terms, the overall volume in dollars and euros of the deals that we do for the business on, but also the number of deals and keeping the pipeline moving. So I need to generate Jackson million euros as a portion of the X million euros that my team generates, and then also, you know, things like, Oh, I wanna bring in, like, 15 new major projects every year and I want to keep the pipeline moving, you know, 75% turnover year to year, so I think

What skills and qualities do you look for while hiring? What kind of questions do you typically ask from candidates?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Sep 11 2020
again, So I well, I don't have any specific direct reports, but I have been largely responsible for a couple of the new members of my team bringing in former colleagues and people that I've known from past lives on. But really, it has to do with experience on Guy would say, being flexible and open minded. I think anybody that thinks Dave taking a course or had a job and they have everything figured out about how to structure a deal or find a solution. Thio business situation is, um, is not gonna be creative enough toe, actually, um, to be a productive member of our team.

Can you discuss career accomplishment(s) that you feel good about? Please discuss the problem context, your solution, and the impact you made.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Sep 11 2020
when I think about success is, um it's funny because, you know, within my company every year you can. You can receive medals, you can receive awards and usually those things go for large accomplishments in terms of big deals and big launches. And, you know, generating X million euros the first year of launch or something like that and those those things, they're memorable. But not as memorable as I would say, the projects that have been really complicated and complex that have involved really creative solutions. S Oh, I have one deal that comes to mind where it was one of those things that after two years of trying, um, you know, a lot of people just say, Hey, there's there's no future in this. This isn't gonna work And a small team they've got together and said, Hey, is what would it do? Like just let's just think out of the box. Let's figure out like what would take? We came up with some kind of crazy solutions, but one of them actually worked out, and it was one of those things, like bringing a deal back from the dead on day, finding a way to get it through it when there was no hope and it really drew upon the creative solution that involved a lot of people in a lot of team members and for me there are other deals like that. But those are the kind of things that are far and away the most rewarding. The things that basically someone said, can't be done. Let's not waste our time on been proving that it was worth our time and that it could be done.

How did the school prepare you for your career? Think about faculty, resources, alumni, exposure & networking. What were the best parts in each of your college programs?

Based on experience at: Ph.D., Molecular and cell biology, Carnegie Mellon University
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Sep 11 2020
that that's a good one. Eso At the time that I came out of college and graduate school, I wouldn't say there was a lot less understanding and cooperation between between academia and industry. That's obviously evolved a lot. And a lot of my younger colleagues had a much easier transition from from school into into business. Um, so my my training was really more around problem solving. I think that the thing that most of my academic work taught me, especially through my thesis and through other sorts of special projects, was general problem solving. Andi, it's You can always research something new when you can always find new solutions to a problem. And that again I I referred to earlier most of what we're going to do or figure out every week. It's not a chapter for somewhere there things that involve creative, creative solutions. Drawing on a lot of different expertise is, and also leaning on people with different expertise in your own Um that will look at things in a different way and come up with a different solution so I don't I don't have I have a couple of mentors and that my business career that were incredibly instructive generally, but again, they had very different backgrounds in mind. One was kind of an economist. One was mud Howard Hughes, investigator, much more hardcore research background, and they both impacted me in very different ways. But all of those, um, kind of learnings have contributed toe how I do my job now.

What three life lessons have you learned over your career? Please discuss the stories behind these lessons, if possible. Stories could be yours or observed.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Sep 11 2020
one, I would say that one of the most important things and getting comfortable in my career was probably to do with maintaining a really good work life balance. Um, I think it's very easy. A lot of times in life and career toe let things get out of balance and that work is never that important. Um, Thio to prevent that and and making time for yourself for exercise, for vacation, for family. Andi, I think more so. I think maybe doing everything possible to combine those two and to to make it possible to have fun when you're working and traveling. I travel at my job, and if it was 100% work focused, it would. It would probably be intolerable. Um, I think, uh, another one is toe embrace. Change I think I referred to earlier is that I think maybe earlier in my career, I spent a lot of time trying to get things completely figured out completely settled and to have things to be more predictable. And I think in a lot of ways, it's it's not only impossible, but it's also not very satisfying. Um, if the challenges are gone, so not not just thio except change, but between embrace it on do realize that it's kind of what keeps things interesting

What starting job (after internship) would you recommend to students who hope to grow professionally like you? What other parting advice, dos, and don'ts would you give?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Sep 11 2020
That's a good question. And it z advice that I get from friends and neighbors, friends and also both. My kids are in college right now, so I give the same advice to them to, um, I think in my line of work, I think biotech and healthcare and pharma is a huge industry. Ah, lot of opportunity for for a lot of life, science educated students. And my general advice is that there's the majority of jobs in biotech companies. You probably wouldn't understand the title or know exactly what the job was. I really encourage people to take a job and jump in. I have, ah, friend of a neighbor who recently took a job in production in my company. Um, he had a biology degree, and it obviously wasn't his first choice. But after six months in that job, it allowed him to interface with a lot of different people within the company and actually understand how quality and regulatory and legal support all of these groups, um, interface, to get done. What a company is trying to do at the end of the end of the day, both for its customers and shareholders. Andi, I think the sooner you you're jumping and expose yourself to those things, the better off you are because you spend a lot of time trying to analyze what job is gonna be you guys. For you, it's I don't think that time is so well spent if that makes