Bart-Jan van Hasselt
In 2011 you switched from consultancy to a position in a corporate world. What was your reasoning behind it?
"After six years in consulting I wanted to see something different. I was also curious about what it would be like working for a ‘regular company’. The decision I made starting as a project manager at DocMorris Apotheke was reactive, I was contacted by them. It sounded exciting: setting up a new business on the interface of pharma and retail, an international company with a lot of potential for growth. On the surface it looked wonderful."
But you did return to consultancy?
"DocMorris wanted to become more international. With the business development department I analyzed the European market and identified countries that could be of interest to us, being a mail order pharmacy. That happened as part of a joint venture, but this joint venture collapsed after a few months. The new director of the holding quit the internationalization process and put DocMorris up for sale. I assisted this trajectory, but I had to travel a lot back and forth to Heerlen from Amsterdam where I lived and I had just become a father. After that the process of internationalization ended and there was a lack of future prospects. But the being away from home so much was the most important reason for leaving DocMorris. What is it I really like? I asked myself that question afterwards. Consultancy was the answer. And the pharmaceutical industry. Especially its complexity. There are many different factors determining its success. You don’t just have to deal with products and patients, but also with government structure, models of competition, with doctors, hospitals and insurance companies. Pharma is an interesting puzzle. Moreover, it is meaningful to humanity as a whole. You get differences of opinion about that and I do understand-there is money made here too-but medicine are essential to saving millions of lives. I have always wanted to study medicine, but I was excluded from doing so four times due to a lottery system. As a consultant in pharmaceuticals I feel I get to return to what I found interesting after all."
Don't you miss sector hopping, such as you did being a generalist?
"Not anymore. As a consultant starting out it was great getting to know a diverse selection of sectors and to discover what I liked. But the good thing about a niche I feel is you get to go in deep. At Vintura we have consultants who truly understand the workings of an oncology department at the hospital. Substance, that is very appealing to me."
Why did you pick Vintura?
"Vintura does a lot of work in pharma. Apart from that the atmosphere here, the way colleagues treat one another, felt right off the bat. I also really like Vintura’s philosophy. I get to be a father and a husband at home, as well as a consultant here. The work-life balance is supposedly important to many consultancy firms, but reality showed otherwise. Vintura doesn’t just talk the talk when it comes to that, they actually mean itWhat struck you, upon returning to consulting?"
What struck you, upon returning to consulting?
"What struck me is how much you learn as a consultant. I like the attitude in consultancy as well. At DocMorris Apotheke I had to work with unions, on collective labor agreements, strict procedures, having to jump through hoops to get things done. In consulting-here at Vintura, but also with Monitor Company and AT Kearney-they think: if you have a great idea, go right ahead and do it. Don’t ask for permission, ask for forgiveness; I like that kind of mind set."
Does niche consulting unite the best of both world?
"For me it certainly does!"