Author: Cari Pérez Vives, PhD, Medical Affairs, Alcon Management (Switzerland)

The Industry-week for the Ageye consortium in Alcon Spain took place the second week of February 2016 in Barcelona. The purpose of this meeting was to introduce the fellows to the industry, since it might be an interesting option for them when they will finish their PhD studies.

The first day we met in the Alcon/Novartis offices where the Surgical Business Head, Medical & Regulatory Head from Alcon
Iberia and Medical Franchise Lead from Alcon EMEA explain us the organization and structure of Alcon, global leader in
eye care multinational company with more than 24.000 associates in 75 countries and product distribution to 180 countries. They also showed the portfolio covering a broad range of eye conditions and diseases for the full life cycle of eye care needs.

The second day, Alcon employees from Regulatory Affairs, Medical Affairs, Clinical operations, Safety, HR, Marketing, Medinfo, Market Access and CAS (Clinical Application Specialist) explained us their role in Alcon as well as their background. HHRR team explained how to look for Alcon job offers in their website, they showed some examples of these job descriptions and gave some advises to the fellows on how to apply for the different positions. The ER Marie Curie fellow (Cari Perez) also showed which are her activities as a post-doctoral fellow in Alcon and explained the interest of this fellowship in the private sector and her future opportunities.

The third day we visited the manufacturing plan, the library, the medieval pharmacy, the museum and the wetlab in El Masnou. In the wetlab an Equipment Manager explained us several surgical equipment from Alcon and we had the chance to practice with them.

The last day we went to IMO (Instituto de Microcirugia Ocular) where we saw how an eye hospital is working. We did a tour around outside the operation rooms (OR) watch eye surgery live on screens and they explained us the OR organization. IMO also has a wetlab and some fellows had the opportunity to perform cataract surgeries and vitrectomies in pig eyes. We finished the day visiting the IMO facilities and the laboratory of genetics.

According to a survey completed by the fellows, this industry-week was a fruitful event, since the meeting met the expectations of all of them; they found it educative and substantially increased their knowledge about the private sector. The favorite days were Alcon employees’ roles and IMO’s visit. The following quotes were reported:

After this week I clarify/encourage/raise (my) interest of industry as an option for my near future

I have a wider vision of the different roles in a company and also how important is the flexibility for a personal development.

We have to take risk and go out the comfort zone to be successful and feel rewarding with our job.

A company success comes not only from the product but from the people behind.