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Old 23.05.2008, 17:02
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Interviewing at Novartis

Hello all, another rare visit to these forums from myself. I've been invited for an interview as a Research Associate at Novartis and was wondering if anyone here worked there (I'm sure there is), what the company is like to work for, what kind of benefits there are, idea on salary etc etc. I know these are the kinds of questions I will also ask at the interview, but it would be nice to get feedback from the "other side" as it were. If you wish to remain discreet, just send me a PM or something. The position is actually in the MSD division of NIBR and there are looking for a PhD with at least 3 years post-doc experience in the relevant field (I have almost 5 myself). Some info would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 23.05.2008, 17:09
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Re: Interviewing at Novartis

Hi Paddy,

There are a lot of us working at Novartis

I've been here a few years now and I have to say on the whole I really like it. It's considered to be the best paid pharma company in Basel and the benefits are pretty good.

Depending on your contract, you will probably have the 13 month salary (which is very handy), bonus, a good pension plan and an above average salary compared to other pharma companies. (that's only in my experience)

There are other advantages that I keep stumbling upon....for example you get 10% discount in most of the taxi's here by showing your Novartis ID. Weird
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Old 23.05.2008, 17:35
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Re: Interviewing at Novartis

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Hi Paddy,

There are a lot of us working at Novartis

I've been here a few years now and I have to say on the whole I really like it. It's considered to be the best paid pharma company in Basel
Ahhh, but is it the friendliest?
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Old 23.05.2008, 17:40
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Re: Interviewing at Novartis

It's 'performance driven'........
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Old 23.05.2008, 17:42
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Re: Interviewing at Novartis

The part where I am is very friendly
I have to agree about the performance driven part...especially at the moment. Mind you it's pretty normal in most places now wouldn't you say?
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Old 23.05.2008, 17:43
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Re: Interviewing at Novartis

Well, looks like it's going to be penciled in for 10th June and I have to give a 30 - 45 min presentation on a subject of my choice. How does the interview system work at Novartis, will I speak to several people, or does it depend entirely on the Division? Actually, as I'm typing this, 1 of you out there could conceivably be 1 on my interviewers, in which case you never saw me here asking all these questions.
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Old 23.05.2008, 17:44
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Re: Interviewing at Novartis

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It's 'performance driven'........
Would you like to elaborate and make your posting a little more helpful for the OP?
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Old 23.05.2008, 17:59
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Re: Interviewing at Novartis

They have quite a structured review process and depending on how well you have completed your objectives depends on how much bonus you get. I think that's what he meant by performance driven
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Old 23.05.2008, 18:06
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Re: Interviewing at Novartis

I actually don't mind performance driven bonus schemes and the like, it would make a pleasant change from the low objective-driven environment that is Academia.

Actually, Mimi, you're from Oxford or studied there? I lived there between 91 and 95 till I moved to CH.
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Old 25.05.2008, 11:42
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Re: Interviewing at Novartis

"It's performance driven" - meaning that it's not a place to be if you want an easy life - at least Marketing/Comms/Finance isn't. This is a company where you work hard, get paid well and then work harder in the hope of being paid well next time.

....which is fair enough, so long as you know that's the deal.

I can't speak for the labs - not my bag.
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Old 25.05.2008, 12:36
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Re: Interviewing at Novartis

Hi Paddy,
I'm currently working as a research scientist at NIBR, St Johann site of Novartis and have done so for 2 yrs. I've worked for some big Pharma in my 11 year career but I would say Novartis is the toughest environment I've ever worked in. Sadly politics n beurocracy are a tedious part of my every day and where I work you really need a thick skin, be able to work under pressure, think smart and watch your back.......but what doesn't break you makes you tougher eh!

My job at Novartis does have its good points though or I wouldn't stay, I've had exposure to some really good things and banked **** loads of brilliant experience in a very short time. So in summary my advice (based solely on my own experience) to anyone contemplating a career move to Novartis would be if you're resilient then do it.

Good luck and I wish you success
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Old 26.05.2008, 10:41
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Re: Interviewing at Novartis

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I actually don't mind performance driven bonus schemes and the like, it would make a pleasant change from the low objective-driven environment that is Academia.

Actually, Mimi, you're from Oxford or studied there? I lived there between 91 and 95 till I moved to CH.

I was born in Oxford and studied there. What were you there for? Uni?
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Old 26.05.2008, 10:44
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Re: Interviewing at Novartis

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I was born in Oxford and studied there. What were you there for? Uni?
I lived there after graduating from Reading, working in the labs at the Churchill. Had a great 4 years in Oxford and met my wife there
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Old 20.06.2008, 15:36
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Re: Interviewing at Novartis

Well, I had the interview (4 in fact) last week and I think it went pretty well, gave a pretty good account of myself, handled all the questions after my talk pretty well etc etc. They said it would take up to 2 weeks to get back to me and the waiting is killing me! I've never had so many self-doubts in my entire life. Did it really go that well? Did they like me? Do I really fit the profile? Do I have the required skills and experience?
Is 2 weeks pretty much standard, or does it depend entirely on the division (It's in NIBR btw)? 1 strange thing though after the interview with the HR / recruitment people, they gave me a handbook "Novartis and You" or something similar, detailing benefits, holidays and other such staff-related details. Should I read much into that? I thought it would be a little cruel to dangle such a carrot in front of someone unless you were seriously considering making them an offer, don't you agree? Or is that also pretty much standard at Novartis? It's the kind of thing I would expect to receive along with a formal job offer / contract. Anyway, I'll continue to chew my nails until nxt week and I'll let you know what happens.
Cheers,
Paddy
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Old 20.06.2008, 15:44
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Re: Interviewing at Novartis

To me it sounds very promising...............good luck, will keep my fingers crossed
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Old 20.06.2008, 15:56
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Re: Interviewing at Novartis

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Well, I had the interview (4 in fact) last week and I think it went pretty well, gave a pretty good account of myself, handled all the questions after my talk pretty well etc etc. They said it would take up to 2 weeks to get back to me and the waiting is killing me! I've never had so many self-doubts in my entire life. Did it really go that well? Did they like me? Do I really fit the profile? Do I have the required skills and experience?
Is 2 weeks pretty much standard, or does it depend entirely on the division (It's in NIBR btw)? 1 strange thing though after the interview with the HR / recruitment people, they gave me a handbook "Novartis and You" or something similar, detailing benefits, holidays and other such staff-related details. Should I read much into that? I thought it would be a little cruel to dangle such a carrot in front of someone unless you were seriously considering making them an offer, don't you agree? Or is that also pretty much standard at Novartis? It's the kind of thing I would expect to receive along with a formal job offer / contract. Anyway, I'll continue to chew my nails until nxt week and I'll let you know what happens.
Cheers,
Paddy
I got a similar book from KPMG after my first interview, and received a call back for another. Unfortunately for them I had already accepted another job

but does look pretty promising for you. I just think the swiss recruitment process can be a little slow at times
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Old 20.06.2008, 20:31
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Re: Interviewing at Novartis

PaddyG,

I'm in very similar situation to you. I had an interview last week in Novartis and HR told me I'll be contacted within 2 weeks. It's been almost two weeks since then and I haven't heard anything yet. So I totally understand how you feel. However I expect it'll take much more than 2 weeks until you hear from them, probably a month. I also received the booklet you mentioned but don't lay too much meaning to it because I think it's just a part of their interview protocol. Let me know when you receive the offer. I'll will let you know when it happens to me. I hope the best for you!
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Old 01.07.2008, 14:27
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Re: Interviewing at Novartis

Oh well, didn't get the job . They actually phoned me back a couple of days later and left a message on my voicemail, which I didn't pick up for some reason. I phoned them back and got some pretty useful feedback. Seems my interview technique needs a little tweaking, not surprising seeing as I've never really had a proper tough interview and the one for my current job was pretty easy. Anyway, I'll keep looking and have a few applications in the pipeline as far apart as Basel and Geneva :O. Anyone know where I can find a comprehensive list of Pharma / Biotech firms in Switzerland? Bioalps has been a good resource, but I'm wondering if there's something else I could take a look at.
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Old 01.07.2008, 14:53
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Re: Interviewing at Novartis

Hi Paddy,

Thanks for updating us and sorry you didn't get the job. I'm sure something else will turn up soon
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Old 01.07.2008, 16:47
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Re: Interviewing at Novartis

Hi Paddy,

I'm sorry to hear that. I am still waiting for the result. They say it'll take 4 to 6 weeks. So hopefully this week or next week. I'll let you guys know when it happens. I still hope the best for you.
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