Sunday, November 8, 2015

Novartis Panel Discussion

In business, Procurement is the act of buying the goods and services necessary to keep a company operational. While it may seem simple in theory, it’s a complex field that requires strategic and analytical thinking in conjunction with softer skills such as emotional intelligence and communication.

Rupa Banerjee delivering introductory remarks


On Thursday, November 5th, Rutgers Business School hosted a panel discussion where executives from Novartis shared stories from their careers in Procurement. Michael Brueckner (US Head of Procurement), Michael McKenna (US Head of Corporate Services Procurement), AnnMarieMoran (US Head, Marketing and Sales Procurement), Thomas Michaels (US Head, Real Estate and Facilities Procurement), Caitlin Mosco (Sourcing Manager, Global Procurement), and Todd Bittiger (Global Supplier Performance and Innovation Manager) were all in attendance. Rupa Banerjee, Co-President of the Management Consulting Club, kicked off the event by welcoming all the panelists and attendees. Professor Eric Larson then spoke about how the RBS Supply ChainManagement program has grown, and that Rutgers is now one of the top schools in the country for students interested in Supply Chain. Next, Shakun Wattal, Co-President of the Supply Chain Student Initiative, introduced each of the panelists and gave a brief description of their role at Novartis.

Novartis Panel Discussion

The panel then kicked off with a video where the Novartis CEO, Joseph Jimenez, talks about the mission of Novartis and the patients they serve. It was very clear that all of the work Novartis does is centered on allowing patients to overcome their respective diseases and live a normal life. Mr. Jimenez  explained, “I have arrived at a very simple concept: normal is extraordinary. There is nothing more extraordinary than a normal life." Mike Koskulics, Co-President of the Pharmaceutical Management Club, served as the panel moderator and segued into the discussion by asking the panelists what inspired them to get to the point in their careers they are at today. All of the panelists came from different backgrounds, but it was clear they all have a passion for Procurement and the effect it can have on an organization like Novartis. Mr. Brueckner talked about how he wanted to work in Procurement because it gives you a broad view of the company and the business. Mr. McKenna comes from an academic background and described how the world of academia shaped his professional career in Procurement. Mr. Michaels noted that Procurement is all about saving money and at Novartis, every dollar he is able to save can go developing new drugs or helping patients pay for their medication. Mr. Bittiger explained how procurement also affects the top line in a business and that is what inspires him. If he is able to do his job well and form strategic partnerships with top suppliers, he can make Novartis their client of choice and this ensures that Novartis’s products are brought to market in the most efficient and successful way possible.

The next topic of discussion focused on how students can be successful in Novartis without a strong Pharmaceutical background. Ms. Moran assured students that it’s OK to come to Novartis without a Pharmaceutical background. Instead of having broad knowledge about the industry, having skills essential to the function of Procurement is more important. Ms. Mosco elaborated by saying skills like being able to develop relationships and effectively communicate are the most important to her career.


Mike then opened up the panel to a general Q&A and the panelists covered topics such as innovation and the changing landscape of Procurement.  The event concluded with closing remarks from the Chair of the Supply Chain Management Program, Professor Rosa Oppenheim. It was an informative and engaging event that the students benefited from and enjoyed. Thank you to Rupa, Shakun, Michael and the countless other people involved who made this event such a success! And a special thanks to the panelists for taking time out of their busy schedules to come to RBS. We hope you’ll return again soon!

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