#ThrowbackThursday Daniel Altherr

(From left) Flo, Daniel, Stefan and Jan on the “weird but fun” night out in Zürich with a group of BEST tour Californian students in 2007.

In June 2007 about 15 students from CalState Fullerton came to Switzerland as part of the so-called BEST programme run by Robert Buttery, the Head of International Relations.  He asked some of us regular students to take the group out – which we did.  It was a Monday evening and we, Stefan Stöckli, Jan Musar, Flo Estoppey and myself took this group to several bars in Zürich.  Let’s just say it was a weird but fun night with a lot of alcohol.  Which meant that the next day we ended up sleeping on our desks in a classroom as we waited for a lecture to start.

Graduated BSc IM in 2007

Now I’ve been with DePuySynthes, which is part of Johnson&Johnson, for over 8 years now in various roles.  Currently, as EMEA Marketing Manager for the Spine segment, I can profit from knowing the business inside out and the network I’ve built up.  I’m tasked with rationalising the portfolio of 255 products by half. Reducing this number will allow us to focus our R&D efforts on creating innovation instead of keeping old brands updated to comply with the changing regulatory environment. The challenge is to retain our existing customers when removing some of their favourite brands. So I have to keep them and our sales force well informed.  This is such a major project that it’s on our CEO’s scorecard which motivates me even more. My role is very much more about marketing strategy than sales which I enjoy and means I learn something every single day.  Also, importantly, I enjoy that I can have a better work-life balance now that I don’t have to travel so much. I had years when I undertook 70 trips a year.

After Graduation I’d done my semester abroad in Hong Kong and joined the Insight China seminar so a year after graduating I tried working in China. But it was 2008 – I picked the wrong year.  I then returned to Synthes as Product Manager in the Spine unit, which after two years lead to the role of Market Development Manager of the same group in the Middle East and Africa. Especially the Middle East is a vibrant development area in our sector and I travelled a lot. However, after the merger with Johnson&Johnson that business unit became redundant – I then took on the same role but for 13 countries of Eastern Europe and was based in Prague.  This market was expanded to include Neuro – two business units dealing with implants and instruments for brain and skull surgery.  This unit, too, was reorganised last year so after about 4 years in Prague I returned to Switzerland.

How did studying IM help? You know, I was thinking about this recently. In my current job I’m not applying much of the knowledge taught in the courses I took.   But my studies brought me three highly valuable assets. One is that those three years made me an adult, able to work independently and take responsibility. Then, I learnt to present. I developed the skill to stand in front of people and talk about what I know- or sometimes even what I don’t know and to be concise. I need to present every day – to colleagues, to surgeons. And then thirdly, it gave me a valuable network of people including some, like Stefan and Jan, who remain my best friends.

Want to get in touch with Daniel? you’ll find him in the IM Alumni LinkedIn group.

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