Meet Dean, Senior Portfolio Planning Manager at Roche

Tell us a bit about yourself

Hi, my name is Dean and I am a British citizen. I joined Roche from the United Kingdom, where I was working as a management consultant for the pharma industry. I trained in the UK as a statistician and worked in a number of roles, primarily in analysis and decision-support services.

I am a serial learner and am always busy studying something new. I completed an MSc in applied statistics and more recently, an MBA via distance learning, whilst holding my day job.  

My big passion in life is music. I am an avid listener and enjoy reading music biographies. I am currently composing and recording music to complement the projects of my wife, who is a videographer. I have a small home studio that houses a large collection of guitars and miscellaneous other instruments. My new challenge is learning to design and program software instruments.

In which Roche location are you currently working and what can you tell us about that location as a work environment?

I work at the headquarters in Basel, Switzerland. I feel rather blessed, as my office on the 11th floor has the most wonderful view over Basel. I work in a small open-plan office with colleagues from my department. It is a great set-up that allows for a lot of informal interaction and exchanges, which is vitally important in an area where we have to be on top of constantly changing information. We are also just a short walk from our business partners in Pharma Research and Early Development (pRED) and Commercial, so we are well connected to the entire business.

Why did you decide to join Roche and why this location?

I joined Roche in Basel about nine years ago. My primary motivation was my wish to improve the quality of life for myself and my family. I was previously a management consultant in the UK and was looking for a new challenge in a location that would benefit my family. Now, I am able to work in a dynamic city, whilst retiring to the tranquillity of the French countryside every evening.

On a professional level, Roche gave me the opportunity to join a top-tier pharma company with a great portfolio and a long-term focus on R&D. The work on offer was both interesting and challenging, and the company's size afforded tangible prospects for professional growth.

What is your current position at Roche?

I am currently employed as a Senior Portfolio Planning Manager supporting the Infectious Diseases and Inflammation & Immunology Disease Areas. In this role, I assist governance committees and senior executives as well as project teams in their efforts to optimise project plans and the portfolio strategy by providing portfolio insight and analytics.

More succinctly, the role is to leverage my strategic and analytical expertise to help our portfolio committee make the best decisions possible; be it decisions to progress an asset to the next phase or the evaluation of the probability to deliver on key milestones.

This role gives me the opportunity to make a real impact on senior-level decision-making in the pRED organisation, with extensive exposure to the R&D leadership team.

How would you describe Roche as an employer?

Roche has proven to be much more of a meritocracy than I have ever experienced anywhere else. The company has fostered my professional growth to a tremendous extent over the past nine years.  I am now involved in projects and decisions that I would never have imagined possible. If people see the potential in you, they will invest in you and involve you in projects to maximise your opportunities to learn and to gain new experience. I am a living example of this, and will always be thankful for these opportunities.

The size of the company provides infinite scope for career development. There is a sense that as a family-owned company, the focus is on long-term sustainability. This makes Roche less exposed to the follies of short-termism. As a result, I feel Roche can provide me with both intellectually challenging work and the security of a long-term engagement in R&D. The on-going investments in Basel are further evidence of Roche’s commitment to this site.

I have found Roche to have a very open, collaborative, consensus-driven culture, and this is inherent in many of the company's processes. Access to senior leadership is pervasive, and there are no hierarchical barriers. As a result, I have benefitted by learning from the company’s leaders.

How would you describe the people working here?

My first impression was how well qualified everyone here is! The level of expertise at Roche was a big step up from the smaller affiliate offices I used to consult for.

There is a high level of commitment and engagement in the teams. I am always impressed by the sense of loyalty and attachment people have to their projects.

Another striking feature is how truly international the talent pool is on the Basel site. Roche may be a Swiss company, but it actively draws on talent from across the globe, with no sense of favouritism or cliques based on any given nationalities.

What can you tell us about the current job openings in your department?

Currently, there is an opening for a Senior Portfolio Planning Manager – the same position that I now hold – but supporting the Oncology franchise. This is a fantastic opportunity to help shape and drive the strategy of the Discovery and Early Development portfolio for the world’s leading oncology company.

We are primarily looking for candidates with exceptional strategic and analytical thinking and excellent interpersonal skills. Candidates are required to have an advanced degree in science, ideally in the life sciences (MBA or PhD degree strongly preferred), with at least 3-4 years of experience in different functions in biotech, pharmaceuticals or a related field, and demonstrated success in working with teams in research, development and commercial functions. Experience in different functions along the drug development value chain is strongly preferred. Details about the open position can be found here.

What would you advise job seekers who want to join us?

If the job mentioned above does not fit your profile, there are plenty more at!

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