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Old 12.03.2013, 18:18
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working for Roche or Novartis

one former colleagues of mine is thinking to move to Switzerland for a better job in IT. He is very qualifiied and has an impressive CV so there are few open positions out there where he can fit.
He has asked me how is to work for the big Pharma in Basel, but I can tell only one side of the story as I am working for Novartis IT.
Can anyone share his/her experiece in Roche and explain which one would be better in his/her opinion please? you can also report some indirect stories of your friends who have moved from one to the other.

thanks
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Old 12.03.2013, 19:18
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Re: working for Roche or Novartis

What exactly do you mean by "IT"?

Also, I guess it would be helpful for others if you could describe a bit your Novartis experience...
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Old 12.03.2013, 19:25
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Re: working for Roche or Novartis

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What exactly do you mean by "IT"?

Also, I guess it would be helpful for others if you could describe a bit your Novartis experience...
as IT i mean the SAP team.

My experience is overall positive, there are a lot of opportunities for career growth.
It's a little bit frustrating to deal with all the politics and the lack of coordination between IT teams and/or business, but it is a very objective driven organization.
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Old 12.03.2013, 19:32
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Re: working for Roche or Novartis

Sadly there are quite a few people here who could tell you what it is like NOT TO BE WORKING FOR NOVARTIS
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Old 12.03.2013, 19:54
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Re: working for Roche or Novartis

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Sadly there are quite a few people here who could tell you what it is like NOT TO BE WORKING FOR NOVARTIS
Novartis isn't for everyone. I thinks you have to be very driving and ambitious to make your place in. Of course, contacts are everything, more you know people, high level people, better you life and position gets. Not everyone is ready to play political games at work.

Compared to other big pharma companies, I don't know. What I know is Novartis is much secure job wise compared to other companies as it gets the best yearly financial results.
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Old 12.03.2013, 20:01
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Re: working for Roche or Novartis

Having just done over a year at Novartis, I'd say overall it is positive. But beware that if you're commuting from Zurich, then the amount of free time you have can be extremely limited.

I've learned to fall asleep instantly and power nap on the train.

This morning, I considered if I should take Ritalin to help concentrate so that I could burn though my backlog of work. A bit of a wake-up call on whether I have the right work/life balance.

Bonus last month was nice (more than double of any bonus I've previously had) which balances some of the overtime.

For a single ambitious person, who likes to get things done, there's a lot to like about Novartis (compared to other companies where you can get mired in politics and internal red tape).

I do wonder at this rate if I'll burn out, but really enjoying it at the moment. Then again, I look at some colleagues who have been doing this for a decade and who have small kids and figure that I have it easy...
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Old 12.03.2013, 20:19
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Re: working for Roche or Novartis

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For a single ambitious person, who likes to get things done, there's a lot to like about Novartis (compared to other companies where you can get mired in politics and internal red tape).

I do wonder at this rate if I'll burn out
in 3 days I will complete my first year too.
I think we have the same impression and I do also understand why the number of people with a burn out is so high. In one year I have met at least 5 people in my team with a burn out or just coming out of it, I have never seen something like this in all my previous work experiences.
However, it seems that nobody here is from Roche? anyone can share similar experiences there?
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Old 12.03.2013, 22:17
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Re: working for Roche or Novartis

The earnings per employee for Novartis are far higher than for Roche. Given the apparent high burn-out rate, this indicates to me that there aren't enough people and they're covering too many roles.

I've worked for both companies for extended periods of time, and, in my opinion, Roche is a nicer place to work. With some very honourable exceptions, there is a tendency, I feel, for Roche to treat its staff in a more humane way than Novartis.
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Old 12.03.2013, 22:24
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Re: working for Roche or Novartis

Also, generally speaking, for anyone who's worked in a modern IT company, pharma IT is dinosauric - whichever company. Migrated from 46c yet?
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Old 12.03.2013, 22:31
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Re: working for Roche or Novartis

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Also, generally speaking, for anyone who's worked in a modern IT company, pharma IT is dinosauric - whichever company. Migrated from 46c yet?
LOL, I migrated from Windows XP to W7 in October
I come from the FMCG world and I felt like going back to 1998.
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Old 12.03.2013, 22:33
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Re: working for Roche or Novartis

My husband works for Roche and he loves it. He is very happy there. I can't tell you any details but maybe your friend would be interested to call him on skype and talk in person? He could also send him an email. I am sure my husband wouldn't mind to talk about his so very positive experience with Roche. Answering some of your friend's questions should not be a problem.
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Old 12.03.2013, 23:30
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Re: working for Roche or Novartis

and just when you think you'll get home at a reasonable time, the swiss train system phucks you over and you get home at 9pm

the think i hate about novartis is that i'm based in basel. honestly, i think my job would be ideal for me if it was in zurich.
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Old 12.03.2013, 23:38
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Re: working for Roche or Novartis

i work in Roche but not in IT, I find it a very nice place to work- nice people, flexible work, good conditions. Can't compare it with Novartis, I have heard that there is more pressure there but honestly don't know if this is true or just a myth put about by HR. Good luck
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Old 13.03.2013, 21:54
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Re: working for Roche or Novartis

I cannot recommend Roche for IT people unless they are willing to work from the Roche Kaiseraugst site, which is outside of Kaiseraugst, and not within walking distance of anything. An office park. Many of the plebes are being sent out to this backwater.

If your friend just wants a job, any job, Roche may well have one. I don't know anything about Novartis (apart from the obscene bonus given to Daniel Vasella, now purportedly hiding away in the US).
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Old 13.03.2013, 22:33
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Re: working for Roche or Novartis

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If your friend just wants a job, any job, Roche may well have one. I don't know anything about Novartis (apart from the obscene bonus given to Daniel Vasella, now purportedly hiding away in the US).
not sure why people are complaining about DV's bonus. everybody at novartis gets a bonus like that!
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Old 13.03.2013, 22:42
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Re: working for Roche or Novartis

I work at (not FOR) Syngenta in SAP/IT. Working for Syngenta is great; they look after their staff and the politics is polarised such that you'll fall into one camp or another; either is fine Good benefits and they look after their employees.

The downside is that there isn't much SAP work as most of it is outsourced to companies like mine. My company is the opposite of the above, but they leave me alone and the base salary is good. I'm happy.

And I prefer Basel to Zurich so my journey to work is 10 minutes' cycling.
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Old 13.03.2013, 23:01
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Re: working for Roche or Novartis

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and just when you think you'll get home at a reasonable time, the swiss train system phucks you over and you get home at 9pm

the think i hate about novartis is that i'm based in basel. honestly, i think my job would be ideal for me if it was in zurich.
Just curious - why do you live in Zurich? If you moved to Basel, you too could have an Adrian life.
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Old 13.03.2013, 23:12
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Re: working for Roche or Novartis

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i work in Roche but not in IT, I find it a very nice place to work- nice people, flexible work, good conditions.
Same for me - although not on the Basel site, so I suppose there could be differences in the atmosphere. Compared with the two American companies I worked for previously, it's a massive improvement in terms of the company's attitude to work-life balance. No idea about Novartis.
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Old 14.03.2013, 00:13
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Re: working for Roche or Novartis

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Having just done over a year at Novartis, I'd say overall it is positive. But beware that if you're commuting from Zurich, then the amount of free time you have can be extremely limited.

I've learned to fall asleep instantly and power nap on the train.

This morning, I considered if I should take Ritalin to help concentrate so that I could burn though my backlog of work. A bit of a wake-up call on whether I have the right work/life balance.

Bonus last month was nice (more than double of any bonus I've previously had) which balances some of the overtime.

For a single ambitious person, who likes to get things done, there's a lot to like about Novartis (compared to other companies where you can get mired in politics and internal red tape).

I do wonder at this rate if I'll burn out, but really enjoying it at the moment. Then again, I look at some colleagues who have been doing this for a decade and who have small kids and figure that I have it easy...
I hope this question isn't too personal, but may i ask what percentage of your salary was awarded as a bonus? I appreciate it would have been based on a scale of satisfactory, good, exceeded, etc etc.

But just curious....
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Old 14.03.2013, 10:25
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Re: working for Roche or Novartis

Your Bonus % depends on what Function Class that your job role is in. This is at both the companies because I have worked at both of them. (currently working in one of them).

Both companies have their plus and minus attributes. It depends on your personality.

People tend to get burnt and really stressed out at Novartis because of workloads. Also there are layers upon on layers of management levels which can cause a lot of red tape and politics specially the middle management levels. Plus the complexities of having so many divisions and therapeutic areas can cause a nightmare for people who are working in cross divisional projects. Novartis is a numbers game, entire departments can get wipped out because of a re-org or a cost savings initiative. So if you are the wrong place at the wrong time, tough luck. If you are ambitious, you thrive under pressure, you are highly perceptive in analyzing risks (and change your course) and are not afraid to take risks you would succeed at Novartis.

At Roche, it is much more flatter organization but Roche really is two company cultures within one larger organization. You have the anglo saxon attitude like Novartis in the Pharma Division of Roche since the Genentech Merger which has caused a lot of Old IT hands to get very frustrated at the way the division is run right now. It's the shoot first and ask questions later motto now. The same feeling has perpetuated itself outside of IT since the NewJersey HQ was closed down completely last year. So most of the folks in Research and Development are not happy either. All this change will mellow down eventually but currently it's too hot because of the Old guard and the new entrants.

Then you have have the Diagnostic Division at Roche which is still run like old school Roche. Highly people and alliances driven. You need to know people to get stuff done, you need to have alignment meetings for alignment meetings. If you know your job and you have relationships with the right people you can be a rising star. Also, they still take care of their people and have a lot of human interaction than Pharma. But sometimes, the pace of how slow things move can be annoying.

Roche and Novartis are two entirely different companies so where you succeed depends on what type of person you are. What is common between them is that they have a really fat margin on most of their product lines and have bags of cash on their balance sheets. So they are not going out of business anytime soon.

In addition to their innovation, as soon as they see a risk in their pipeline they have the cash to go buy out a promising biotech or medium / small complementary company to beef up their product line.

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I hope this question isn't too personal, but may i ask what percentage of your salary was awarded as a bonus? I appreciate it would have been based on a scale of satisfactory, good, exceeded, etc etc.

But just curious....
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