Meet Ivo- Student of the Year 2015

Ivo de Maddalena was awarded this March 2015 for his Marketing Concept (Multi Channel Marketing) and won a paid 3 month internship in marketing within our joint company Vifor Fresenius Medical Care Renal Pharma VFMCRP.

Meet Ivo and get to know on why he applied for the challenge:

Ivo, why did you apply for this challenge of a marketing concept as a MSc in Chemistry?

The whole story around winning this competition is based on the fact, that I applied a year earlier, after graduating from MSc Chemistry at ETH Zurich, for a graduate program at Vifor Pharma. I was very convinced, that this graduate program fits my skills and personality but unfortunately, Vifor Pharma already selected candidates for the third interview round. Thus, I was too late with my application. Half a year later, while being in the middle of an R/D Internship in Barcelona, I learned about the “Life Science Student of the Year” competition from advertisements on social media. My first thought was: “Nice competition, but you have no marketing experience at all. You are a chemist, hence no chance to win it”. Some weeks later, I received a personalized email from the recruiter of Vifor Pharma I talked to for the graduate program, in which he motivated me to participate. That was the point of no return.

How did the process look like once you submitted your concept?

From the competition website I knew that the finalists had to present their concept to the jury a week after concept submission deadline. Coincidently, the weekend between submission deadline and presentation at the Vifor headquarters, I spent in Switzerland – for my sister’s marriage. During the ceremony I got the phone call saying I am a finalist which made that day doubly special for me. After presenting my concept at Vifor Pharma, I received the message of being the winner. Two months later I started my internship at the headquarters in the joint venture between Vifor Pharma and Fresenius Medical Care.

What was the most impressing moment for you during the challenge?

For me, the whole process was kind of impressive. With no experience at all in marketing and especially in the pharmaceutical market, it was a quite a challenge to face the development of a patient centric marketing concept for prescription drugs. There were several aspects to consider: from addressing and delivering value to all the important stakeholders in this highly regulated industry to linking the concept to a brand or company. I guess the complexity of the pharmaceutical industry with its diverse stakeholders and the current change this sector is undergoing, impressed me the most.

You are now working as an intern at Vifor Pharma, how does your daily work look like?

This internship at the Vifor Pharma headquarters is no normal nine-to-five job. It is not normal because, even as an intern, I already have a lot of responsibility: I am working on my own project which has strategic importance. By participating in strategic workshops, collaborating with medical, marketing, IT and legal, I get insights into all important parts of the company – on management level! It is very exciting to work with and learn from so many skilled and smart people.

Why should students apply for the coming challenges?

Because going out of your comfort zone opens unexpected doors to exciting places. It is an amazing opportunity to gain first experiences in the industry and you learn a lot. On the job, from experts.

Dear Ivo, thanks a lot for your time and all the best for the remaining time!