Navigating lockdown as a new recruit at ADVANZ PHARMA
One of the newest recruits at ADVANZ PHARMA is Maciej Piwowarski, who joined our Business Development Team in London last month. He's not had the most traditional of starts, having had to work from home much like the rest of the team, as part of Government covid19 measures across Europe.
Two months on, we've caught up with Maciej to see how he is adapting to life at ADVANZ.
What has it been like to join a new company during this time?
Joining a new company can be challenging at the best of times, let alone joining during an extraordinary time such as this. ADVANZ PHARMA’s first priority is the safety and wellbeing of employees so it had moved to remote working very early on during the crisis. For a new joiner keen to meet colleagues and get up and running as quickly as possible, I was worried about the impact this would have on how quickly I could get up to speed. It turns out there was no need to worry!
From the beginning, I was in good hands with ADVANZ PHARMA helping me to onboard quickly and seamlessly, answering any questions I might have promptly. Everyone has been very friendly and supportive and despite the remote working, I have never felt isolated. I cannot emphasise how important this was to me as a newcomer, as I wanted to get up to speed as soon as possible to become a vital part of the team and company.
Due to ADVANZ PHARMA’s international presence – having offices in the United Kingdom, Australia, India, Sweden, Ireland, United States as well as colleagues working directly in many other countries – it was already well prepared for remote working but it has still been impressive to see how quickly and easily the whole company adapted to remote working as a response to the Covid situation. This is entirely due to the IT team who made it possible, doing everything they could to increase remote working capabilities. Thanks to their support, I was able to stay in contact with my colleagues and work without any obstacles.
Instead of face to face meetings, I have had to get to know my colleagues online. Surprisingly, the situation we all find ourselves in has lent to a more informal setting and it has been a pleasure to get to know people in their home office environment.
Two months in, I am delighted to be part of such a professional and driven organisation. Despite the isolation that comes with remote working, it has been anything but lonely as we all stay as close as possible as a team, talking regularly and meeting online. Team spirits are high and thanks to their support, I am extremely excited to be in a good place to help contribute to ADVANZ Pharma’s growth and success.
What is your role at ADVANZ PHARMA?
I am a Senior Business Development Manager responsible for introducing new products to the ADVANZ PHARMA pipeline. My activities cover finding new potential pipeline candidates, building business cases, managing appraisal process, identifying partners, preparation of project documentation, leading project approval process and finally, negotiations of agreements with partners. My day is filled with many tasks. I work with data analysis and interact with internal stakeholders and external partners.
Have you always worked in a commercial role?
I started out as a regulatory affairs specialist working for an R&D company so very different beginning to where I am now but that’s what’s great about working in this sector, there are so many opportunities in areas you would never think of beyond just science jobs. Having moved around various pharma companies and roles, I can say that having my first job in regulatory affairs, which I consider one of the core functions in pharma, gave me a great start as well as insight into a broad range of other functions, ranging from pure R&D through Quality Assurance, Sourcing, Process Engineering, project Management, Business Development, to Portfolio management and Marketing. It’s not only a good place to start career in pharma but also a good place to excel.
From regulatory affairs, I moved to a portfolio management role where I learned more about business side of the industry. Standing between R&D, Business Development on the one hand and Sales & Marketing on the other, allowed me to see both sides of the story.
I did that for a number of years before my steps led me again to an R&D organisation as Project manager, I could drive projects to their successful end. It was very interesting to work with all the functions I got to know by that time. Striving to achieve product launch on time, solving issues, finding solutions, together with my colleagues is very rewarding. I enjoyed it.
From there, I moved to Business Development as an In-licensing Manager, I found all my experience I had gathered so far really start to pay off and meant I was well prepared to learn new skills and develop my business acumen. Speaking from experience, it’s beneficial to have knowledge of the work that my colleagues are doing. It gives a perspective needed for making right decision and doing things in the right way.
Here at ADVANZ PHARMA, I have found new challenges, new tasks, I had not done before, but I am prepared to tackle them head on. The challenges we encounter, we take on together as a team and it’s great to be part of a company that really encourages growth and learning. More importantly, everyone has an understanding of what we want to achieve and has a role to play in delivering common goals. It might be surprising to hear such words from a newcomer, but I already feel I am an integral part of the team.
What is it like to work at ADVANZ PHARMA in a lockdown situation?
We are very fortunate to have an incredibly proactive Executive Leadership Team who have ensured that everyone is kept up-to-date on the evolving situation while keeping spirits high. Whether it’s Town Halls to inform us of the latest company news, making training platforms available for development and learning, mindfulness sessions to help us through the period, or social events such as online quizzes, the atmosphere here is of one big family regardless of geographical distance.
What are you most looking forward to when normality returns?
I am looking forward to getting back to normal and being able to interact with colleagues directly – no matter how great the technology, it cannot replace human to human contact or the small things that build a normal working life. Before the Covid-19 outbreak, we all took for granted downtime activities such as meeting by the coffee machine or being able to share and exchange questions, thoughts or ideas with colleagues. The lockdown has really shown just how important the small things are as well as the business at hand and I for one am really looking forward to getting to know my colleagues better while meeting partners and building relations with them which is an integral part of my work.