Exploiting Timing to Your Own Advantage

Life is often about timing. For example, you might exchange business cards with a colleague at a conference who later becomes a key contact at a company; you may find yourself sitting next to a gentleman on a plane who happens to share a mutual friend and then becomes your friend; or you may even meet your future wife in a supermarket while on vacation (yes, that was me!).

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But is it possible to exploit timing to your own advantage? Morunda is a specialist professional recruitment consultancy firm focused on placing professionals in permanent positions in Asia’s pharmaceutical industry. Our job at Morunda is to present the market with relevant information. What candidates and clients choose to do with that information is not for us to decide. Our role is similar to that of a medical representative (MR). An MR presents information on drug safety and efficacy to physicians. What physicians then do with that information or whether they prescribe the medicine is entirely up to them. The MR’s role is simply to provide the best possible information.

Morunda’s primary market can be defined as the key manager and director roles in Asian pharmaceutical companies at a commercial and development level.

We equip candidates with information about the market, open positions, possible positions, and soft positions. What particular candidates do with that information is up to them. The most we can do is present information regarding our clients in the most favorable way.

For our clients, our role is to source the best and the brightest candidates for key roles in client organizations. We also provide them with insights into the market from the trenches; for example, how are clients currently perceived? What are people’s perceptions regarding companies’ sales pipelines? Are they seen by potential employees as attractive companies?

The following anecdote shows how you can get timing to work for you. I met Kentaro Watanabe (not his real name) through a referral in January 2004 on one of those glorious Tokyo winter days, with the sun shining brightly and the air crisp and clean.

Watanabe-san was around 35 years old and well dressed. He already had a solid career behind him working with a US pharma company, first as an MR, then for six years as a product manager in the area of marketing. He had also completed a short stint in their New Jersey office, which improved his English and gave him solid sales and marketing experience in Central Nervous System (CNS). I met with Watanabe-san for around 30 minutes, during which he shared his career highlights and I informed him of the marketing opportunities available to him in the workplace. He said we wasn’t interested in moving at that time, but when we parted, I promised to keep in touch. As the years rolled by, I would send him an article (much like this one) every month, and from time to time speak to him about positions of potential interest to him. Mainly, however, his views on moving remained unchanged; he was happy where he was but also happy to stay in touch. Things continued in this way for seven years. In 2012, I spoke to him about a company that was not in his core therapeutic area of CNS. The position of Brand Director of Urology in this company sparked his interest, however. We introduced him to our client and he was offered the position, along with a 20% pay increase. He accepted the role.

Watanabe-san understood better than most that life is about timing. However, before being able to decide for ourselves whether the timing is right, we need to put ourselves in a position to avail of all the relevant information.

Benjamin Disraeli, the British conservative politician, writer, and aristocrat who served twice as Prime Minister of the UK, may have said it best: “As a general rule, the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information.”

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