Opening Up New Horizons to Doctors.

My challenge at ZEISS

Carolin Schiele, Product Manager, Ophthalmic Surgery Systems

„I’m Passionate about the Products.“

After three years doing conceptual work as a management consultant, Carolin – a qualified electrical engineer – decided to make the switch to industry. As a product manager for high-end ophthalmic surgical microscopes in the ZEISS Medical Technology business group, she is ideally placed to combine her interests with her extensive technical expertise – and that’s precisely what she loves about her work. In this interview Carolin explains why her current position at ZEISS is the perfect job for her.

Carolin, what prompted you to switch from management consulting to product management at ZEISS?

Most of what I did as a management consultant was conceptual work. I enjoyed that for a while, but I felt I was missing out on actually putting things into practice, and that’s when I realised that my long-term future lay on the operational side in industry, not in consulting. ZEISS has a big presence in our region so I already knew a lot about the company, and I had always been fascinated by its broad range of innovative and high-quality products. Medical technology was actually one of my majors in my electrical engineering degree and when I left university ZEISS was one of my top choices on my list of potential employers. And now here I am – I’ve found a job which I enjoy and which suits me perfectly.

What is it you like so much about your work?

I’m passionate about the products. I find medical technology by far the most exciting area to work in, largely because we’re making such a worthy and important difference by creating products which genuinely enhance patients’ lives. It’s incredibly fulfilling to be part of that. I also like the variety, the fact that product management at ZEISS is an interface between the development team and the customer which encompasses the entire product life-cycle – from talking to physicians to understand their needs right through to the development process and the launch and marketing aspects. I’m involved in everything, covering all the different areas including technology, customer contact and marketing. And that means I can put my technical background to good use. The third thing I like is being in regular contact with our customers, the physicians. They bring passion and perfectionism to so much of their work and are really enthusiastic about our products, which is obviously fantastic!

What’s your job like on a day-to-day basis?

For a start it’s very international, because I cover all the different markets for my products, so my responsibilities encompass global development and global marketing. Eighty percent of my work is in English, and I do a lot of travelling to exhibitions and to visit physicians, sometimes in OR environments. My typical working day includes lots of discussions with all our different target groups and project partners, including physicians, the development team, and my sales colleagues. I’m always trying to strike a balance between driving ahead in-house projects and keeping up-to-date with the latest trends and key topics – for example by visiting exhibitions to get feedback and gather new ideas.

What are the biggest challenges you face in your work?

Developing an innovative and useful product from a bewildering array of different needs and requirements! The fact is that we talk to physicians in all our markets and sometimes they work in very different ways. That means they have different preferences and needs. We try to consolidate all their responses to find the most logical next step forward. Our goal is to reach a meaningful consensus. It really is my dream job!