Healthy and mobile
Mexican marketer Jose Goldschmied takes on global pharmaceuticals
Jose Goldschmied (M3, 2009) is a smart, deep-thinking, multi-faceted young man. He tells us more about his life in Belgium and what it’s like to work at Abbott Vascular in a Global Product Management role. In a previous life, he was a judoka at the Olympic Games in Athens (2004).
Jose and his Belgian wife decided to leave Mexico about four years ago, mainly due to quality of life considerations: “In any case, I was at a turning point in my career. I’d worked with some interesting companies in Mexico: Procter & Gamble, Pfizer and the largest Mexican laboratory (Laboratorios Sanfer). I learned the basics of marketing at P&G but, above all, it provided order to what I’d learned at university, where I’d studied Business Administration.”
“I believe that working before coming to Vlerick was a bonus. You immediately see the value of what you learn, and it’s easier to make analogies and find practical applications. The fact that I have a different cultural background, and was about eight years older than my classmates on average, made me question things more as well. With about 50% of my fellow students coming from Belgium, the challenge was twofold: my studies on the one hand, and getting to know and understand the culture on the other. I’m afraid I have to admit that the Dutch language is still, for me, quite difficult.”
“A great place to learn”
“I had the opportunity to meet people from Vlerick before I came over, and the impression I got was very positive: everyone was very friendly and open. Once in Belgium, I liked the School immediately. It’s very well organised and I particularly appreciated the fact that we were so central in the beautiful city of Ghent, with so much culture around us. There’s also a good mix of local and international professors, which provides different points of view on education and overall teaching. It’s a great place to learn.”
Abbott: the right move at the right time
“How did I get in touch with Abbott? I had a call from someone at Vlerick who knew I was looking for a job in the pharmaceutical industry. It was to do market intelligence, and while this was something I’d already done, I thought it would be a good entry point to learn the business, and provide a solid base for my future. It was a good offer and the right move at the right time.
“Well, after 14 months I was promoted to product manager for the EMEA region. The job was promoting endovascular products, particularly the interventional guide wires. We had some pretty good results, with the product line growing by 30%. As it turned out, this attracted international attention, because the EMEA region was growing significantly faster than other regions in the world. The result was that after a year, I was offered the global position – and that’s what I’m still doing now.
“I work from home at least 40% of the time I’m in Belgium, but I also have to work the hours of the US head office. My day starts at around 10 o’clock and I work on through until roughly 8 at night, in order to adjust to the US schedule. I spend about half my time travelling, in order to see my boss and colleagues – but it works well for me. My working schedule gives me time to enjoy a healthy life. I try and do a two-hour sport session in the morning as often as I can. I used to be into judo – and even competed at the Athens Olympics in 2004.
“Abbott encourages a good work-life balance, and there’s no question of being nailed to your chair here. However, results talk for everybody, so it’s important to focus on achieving good performance and reaching your goals every day.”
A mobile family
“I’m open to anything at the moment, but particularly enjoy working for the emerging markets. The US and Western Europe are very developed markets where standards have been established; changing the current promotional methods can be challenging but results might not be as significant. In emerging markets, there’s always the possibility of making a breakthrough and creating some new models that can stand out from the rest.
“In 10 years’ time, I know one thing – I’ll have even less hair! And on the serious side, I’m fairly sure we’ll be living somewhere else. I see us as a mobile family. I haven’t been back home for a couple of years now. Security is still an issue, but I’ve been able to see my family when I’m travelling in the US.”
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