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A Marine Vet Debunks Misconceptions Around Jobs In The Pharmaceutical Industry
Editor’s Note: The following story highlights a veteran who manages recruiting for Takeda. Committed to filling its ranks with talented members of the military community, Takeda is a Hirepurpose client. Learn more here.
When it comes to fast-growing fields, the pharmaceutical industry tops the list. But many job seekers — including military veterans — tend to overlook the field out of a fear that they don’t have the right experience to work at a pharmaceutical company. But as we learned from Takeda, a Japanese-founded pharmaceutical company that produces and sells medications to help improve patients’ quality of life, these companies have plenty to offer to veterans looking to transition into civilian employment and continue to serve their communities.
Andy Tate, 37, joined Takeda in 2007, after separating from the U.S. Marine Corps as an assault amphibious vehicle crewmember. He joined the company as a sales representative, but has since moved up the ladder to the role of district business manager. In his nine years with the company, Tate has worked hard to not only encourage sales growth, but also the growth of the in-house military community. Hirepurpose spoke with him about why veterans should look to pharmaceuticals when they start considering their post-military careers.
Pictured: Marine veteran Andy Tate, 37, joined Takeda in 2007.
Not a lot of people understand what a pharmaceutical company does. Can you talk a little bit about what Takeda does and how a pharmaceutical company works?
In the military, you’re serving your country and you’re giving back, and I think that’s exactly what Takeda does. … We put the patient at the center of everything we do. I’m actually helping patients have a better quality of life, and at the end of the day, I can go home and feel proud of that.
There's a misconception in the public that pharmaceutical companies are all about profit and not about service. What would you say to a prospective employee who is looking to serve the community the way they did in the military?
I’ll give you an example. I just pulled my team together and we went to feed starving children for a day. … We were able to feed something like 40,000 kids. And that was on Takeda’s dime, and Takeda gives us the opportunity to take volunteer days like that and go out into the community. It’s really impactful and a great team-building event.
We have programs and we partner with insurance companies to give discounts and get our products covered for patients. … Here’s an example: We have discount cards that help get our patients’ copays down to zero dollars and really help with the out-of-pocket cost. We also have patient assistance programs that help patients who have a family income of less than $100,000.
Honestly, I can tell you that Takeda is not that company that’s all about income. Everywhere you look, it’s all about the patient and helping them live better lives.
Veterans may look at Takeda and not believe there are jobs there for them because it’s a pharmaceutical company and they don’t have a science background. So what other opportunities are available to vets at your company?
Any job you can think of, we have it here at Takeda. … We have anything from human resources to IT — a lot of military veterans’ military occupational specialties are centered around IT — and administration, research and development, and sales and the more commercial side of business. I would tell any veteran looking to get back into the civilian world that this industry, this company is very fitting for veterans.
A lot of veterans may assume that they need a science or sales background to work at a pharmaceutical company. Even if they don’t have these skills, why should they apply to work at Takeda? What other skills do you look for in potential team members?
The military teaches you to improvise, adapt and overcome, and those skills are very valuable. … The pharmaceutical industry is changing every day, and we need leaders who can really embrace those skills they learned in the military and who can implement change and foster camaraderie.
Takeda’s STRIVE program — which stands for “Supporting Troops and Inspiring Veteran Engagement,” and for which Tate is one of the founding members — aims to help connect veterans and help them grow within the company. Can you tell us a bit about this program and how it helps Takeda stand out as an employer?
We’re really trying to support troops and inspire veteran engagement, and we are the largest employee resource group at Takeda.
There are a couple dozen veterans in the corporate headquarters, and then we also have several hundred veterans who work in field roles at Takeda. When we get together, it’s like that connection we had in the military. That’s the kind of relationship you can’t usually find anywhere else, but I’ve been able to find that at Takeda because we have such a strong resource and support group around helping our veterans and troops.
Veterans who apply for jobs in the civilian sector often face difficulty explaining their military experience to civilian employers. How can a veteran best present themselves as a job candidate to your hiring managers?
Whether infantry, pilot or administrative officer, they will have all the foundational skills relevant to a job at Takeda. … Veterans have the ability to make big decisions in stressful situations and to improvise. The military instills strong leadership, a good work ethic and real commitment, and those are all assets.
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