QIAGEN Global Product Manager
Tufts University Bachelor’s Degree, Biochemistry
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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 Jul 24 2020
buddy. My name is Mona Patel s. So I started out, uh, premed on. I studied biochemistry when I was in school, and my main goal is to really help people. And, you know, there was so much prestige around medicine, and it was a high paying career. So it was always something that I felt like I could dio. And towards the end of my senior year of college, I started to feel a little burnt out by all the school work. And so I wanted to just work for at least a year just to get a taste of what it's like t b in the workforce. Um and so I started working at a start up, and that's when I realized I had an entrepreneurial itch and I really liked working, um, and being able to learn and apply right away. And so I started working. Um, but I remember one experience distinctly. I was two weeks into my job and I was not performing very well, and both the co founders brought me aside and pretty much told me that I was being too casual. I wasn't working hard enough. And if I didn't get my act together, Um, they would fire me. And, you know, I remember that experience. I called my older sister, who was always a great, um, leader for me And, you know, she looked at me and she said, You know, welcome to the real world. This is This is what's gonna happen. Um, and I always remember that experience because a couple years later, things were going well and my company, my startup, ended up getting acquired. And when we got acquired within 3 to 4 days, everything changed. I had completely new leadership. My role was a little bit different, and it was a different office and everything that's kind of flipped upside down. And that was another really big experience for me because I hadn't really experienced change when I was working. And when I was at this new role, we started toe have production issues at this main company, and people started to leave because we couldn't sell the products and it was really difficult because there was a lot of tension. There was a lot of fighting, and it was very, very hard to, uh to know what to do next. Eso Fortunately, I decided to stay with the company. I showed loyalty. I short leadership, and I was able to really get the eye of some of the people higher up in the company on. I was able to really earn their respect. Uh, not so much on what I did, but just the way I carried myself. Um, I've always been taught that, uh, you know, your true character has shown when, you know things are hard. Um, And so because of that, I was able to make an internal move to the current role that I'm in now, which is a global product manager. Um, so those are some of the experiences that I've had it sort of how it brought me to worry.

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 Jul 24 2020
each of my work is focused on new product development and really launching new technologies. So that really involves working cross functionally with different teams and different members of the organization in order to make sure that we fulfill our goals and our objections. And once the product has launched, a big responsibility I have is downstream marketing, which is really being able to support our sales team when, um when the product is launched. So how can we best find different avenues in which we can get these products to customers to really be able to help My weekly hours? I tried my best to be efficient and then to be done within eight hours because I do believe that there is a life outside of work and you really should should enjoy that. It's been obviously very interesting during this cocotte 19 period. I've been full time remote for obviously safety purposes, and so I continue to try to work 9 to 5. Um, but of course there are times where you'll have to work a little bit longer, But I really love my team because I'm able to manage my own hours, and I think it really helps to stay to that

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 Jul 24 2020
challenges that I have is working cross functionally The way that my team and my organization works is everybody reports to somebody different. Yet we all need to work together in order to launch products and to really complete projects. And so, you know, this concept is called lateral leadership. You know, how do you really leave people that you're not directly in charge? And it's a skill that I'm still continuing toe toe learn than to grow in. Um, but one thing that I've learned is you really can't tell people what to dio. Um, nobody likes being told what to do, and especially if you're not there, boss, it just isn't something that's gonna be effective. Um, and so one thing that I've really been implementing that's worked really well is just getting to know people outside of work, just asking about their families and their hobbies and what really motivates and excites them because it's funny. You know, once you really ask about somebody's life outside of work, it makes your life and work so much easier because people are really receptive to you when there's that human to human, you know, spirit to spirit interaction. That's just so powerful. Um, and I also think that just being genuine and authentic about it is so important. I think if I'm just asking you about your life just because I want something from you, it's gonna come off is very arrogant. And I mean, nobody is really gonna respond well to that. So just being genuine, being authentic and taking a real interest in people's lives, I think will really help them help you, uh

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 Jul 24 2020
ization. I work very closely with the marketing director, sales director, the director of research and development directors of Q CSO, Quality control and quality assurance. And I work very closely with the project, um, one outside of the organization. I work very well with our distributing partners that really help us share the products and really get a global reach. And then they also get to work with customers, um, as a need basis. One thing that I found very effective in working with the internal team is to really identify the people that have really good relationships with different members and really seeing what they're doing right. There's this one individual on my team who's just has great relationships with everybody, and very early on I was proactive and asking her, You know, what kinds of things do I need to dio And she really broke down the different directors and they're sort of personalities and the way they like to be talked to and worked with. And I've implemented those to make sure that I don't reinvent the wheel, um, and that I'm able to build relationships with them and outside of work, it's the same thing. It's just finding the right representatives or very, very good with building relationships and leveraging what they know

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 Jul 24 2020
because I'm a product manager. I don't necessarily manage people, but because I do work cross functionally and I do lead a lot of teams. I do think that it's an important skill that I have, and I think with my role specifically, it's really important that, you know, I lied from both in front as well is behind. Um, I have to do things that I expect other people that do. But I need to do them first because if people don't see me doing that first and putting in the effort, why should they put in the same amount of effort? And so it's really important to do things first and to really just have servant leadership to really serve people and you might not benefit directly from member, they might not even benefit. But knowing that you're always putting people first, I think it's just a really important style that that hopefully when I do manage, people will be able to. Um I'm an avid reader of leadership books, and I actively work on self development. And so I has two books that I would recommend to anybody, whether they're students, whether they're young professionals or even older. Other first is how to win friends and influence people. Dale Carnegie and the second is everyone communicates few connects By John Max.

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 Jul 24 2020
question because I remember two weeks into my current job, our research and development team was incredibly backed up. They were understaffed. They had just so many projects to handle. And in the marketing came that I'm part of, you know, we were getting pressure from the commercial leaders to get products, you know, tow launch. And so we had to go to R and D and trying to figure out a way for them to kind of handle our our situations. And I remember the R and D director was not very happy. Amanda's matter of fact, you really spoke his mind because he just was not. He did not want to do the things that we wanted him to dio, And I remember when he was was, you know, properly upset instead of lashing back at him or instead of, um, you know, just taking it personally. I just listened, and I understand what he said, and I extracted the things that I needed to in order to move the conversation for. So even though he was upset, he did say a few things that we could have done better. And so after that meeting, I was able to take those things implement thumb. And I remember that a couple days later, he actually brought me aside. He apologized. He thanked me for doing what he asked and that he, you know, I got a lot of respect with him and then he actually explained to me to some of the history as to why he was upset and I completely understood him. And ever since then he's been a lot more willing to serve and to help. And I think it's because I didn't take what he said personally, and I was able to actually help him, even though he was upset. So that's just a good story, sure.

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 Jul 24 2020
big. The main goal is that the year before, we always develop a product roadmap, and then at the end of the year, we always track well. Where did we stand for our goals? And so a big baby I that I have is Did I launch products? You know that I get the projects across the finish line and, of course, that there's things that happen. Cove in 19 is definitely affected things quite a bit. We actually have to products that are being used in testing. And so, instead of focusing on new products, were actually focusing on the life cycle management of those products. So obviously my goals shifted a little bit. But overall, it's really making sure that those products get launched and they get across the finish line. Another man campy I have is more emotional. It's actually making sure that the sales team feel supported on that. I'm always there to help them with, because there are times where I get busy and there's a lot of questions. So it's always good to stay on track and they're always get there was giving feedback to their director, who's speaking with my director, Um, that's the way that he can. Really cute track of of them, I really supporting them. So those who become the main metrics that measure

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

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Jul 24 2020
ring. I think the main goal is to make sure that it's a good fit for the role. I think often times employers try to see if someone's qualified and that's fine. But ultimately, just because somebody's qualified doesn't mean they're gonna be good federal. Um, so I all I love making sure that people's personalities align with mine and really five with my team because we have to have a good culture in order to actually get things done. Um, I want to make sure that people have the right direction in their career. I think if somebody's overqualified, I'm honestly afraid they're gonna get bored and there's gonna be no room for growth and therefore they might not have the same energy and passion for doing so. Sometimes I really want to see somebody who is a good fit for the role you conceive themselves growing because as long as people are growing their typically happy with the work that they're doing, um and I think transparency and openness is so important. I want to feel like I really understand somebody before hiring them, because you know, if there's a situation that comes up, there's a challenge that's faced and I don't really know somebody. Then I don't know how they're gonna behavior responding and not compete. The problems in this and some questions I'd like to ask people I love knowing what people do outside of work. I think that's really indicative of kind of who they are as people. I love to know what motivates people and what drives people in life. What is there, Why? And I also love reading, So I always like asking people with the last boat favorite.

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 Jul 24 2020
from my career trajectory. I think my biggest accomplishment is being in the role that I'm it. Now. Most people typically have a PhD in MBA 5 to 10 years of experience, and I've been able to come into the Troll with only 2.5. Um, and the reason that I'm I'm proud of that is because when I was in my previous role and we had production issues and people were leaving, um, I really as I mentioned earlier, I I'm proud of the way that I handled the situation and I shall leadership, and I was able to actually get a recommendation from our CEO for this position. And he is just amazing guy. He's just such a great leader that I look up to, and I think that getting the recommendation, I think they allowed me to get this role, and that's something that I'm just very, very proud

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

Based on experience at: Bachelor’s Degree, Biochemistry, Tufts University
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Fri Jul 24 2020
eso I went to Tufts University in Boston and absolutely love to my experience in a very holistic way. It was more than just school, and I played sports as well. So I just had a very well rounded experience. And the thing that I think I valued the most about that experience was just the high standard of excellence that everybody had. Everybody was just so involved in so many different activities. Everybody just really pushed themselves to be the best that they could be. And when I started working, you know, I saw a lot of the successful people resemble a lot of the qualities and the culture that I saw at us. And I think that that's something that I'm very, very happy that I was part of, um Prior to tops. I grew up in upstate New York, so I didn't really have a ton of perspective on life that was very much, and I didn't really hear about other people and other things. But when I came to tough, so I met people from all over the world that always had another perspective. So I knew I never needed to only have one opinion. I was always able to really think it's a value, other people's opinions, so I just I love my experience and has really helped me while working.

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 Jul 24 2020
I think the first lesson is what I call the law of sowing and reaping the way I kind of look at. Life is you're kind of a farmer and you have an open field, and your goal is to produce ah, harvest. And so you really need to plant as many scenes as you can. But you also need to tend to the field and you can't control the weather. You can't control the soil. You can control animals, come and eat your food. But ultimately, the more than you. So realistically it's the more that you're gonna read and you're not gonna have every seat grow. But at the end of the day, you don't need that. You just need enough the have the harvest. And so I always view planting seeds like actions that could help people. And I always view tending to the soil like your behaviors. So the more actions you put out into the world and the more positive relationships that you give people. And if you just love people, even if they never do anything for you, enough people are gonna come back to you that you're gonna have so many great opportunities and relationships, and it's gonna be very powerful. I think a lot of people just try to take fruit from their neighbor's tree instead of planting their own seeds, and in the short term you might get some fruit. But in the long term, it's not really, um the second lesson kind of tying into that is is what I call the law off receptivity and not the key to effective giving is also being open to receiving. I think that if you're only giving and you're not allowing people to give to you, that's that's almost selfish, You know, it's a constant cycle and you have to start that cycle by giving, but just expect to have people want to give it things back to you because I do believe that humanity does have that characteristic. So always give first and give a lot, but always be open to receiving and you're going to see some really great opportunities come for you. And the last life lesson I think I have for people is to focus on the WHO more than the what. I think a lot of people would kind of look at job resumes and say this is going to be my experiences, whatever people right in this resume. But it's really the people on that team and in that company that are gonna make your experience good or bad. I know that when I apply to my current role, my job resume, Did you look that exciting? It was a product manager role for PCR, which is not that great. But I had a great relationship with my boss. We we definitely had a lot of really good conversations when I was being interviewed. I had a lot of respect for him, but he had a lot of respect for me and he kind of took me in as a mentee. And ever since then, he's just made my experience so good. And I hope that I've obviously given him, um, you know, a little bit of loving return, but because I've been around the right people, I think that my career in my role have been very successful, and I think a lot of people, if they focused on the WHO, more than the one they will be very successful

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 Jul 24 2020
for my industry, which is biotech. I think that there's a lot of companies that have rotational programs that are typically 2 to 3 years after school. I never did one, but I highly recommend them. I have a lot of friends that are doing them, and I think it's good for a few reasons. The first is that you typically have 6 to 8 months shifts where you get to be in different cities. You get the have different functions, you get to meet with different people, so you really get a wide a range of experiences before you actually have toe.