Erdem Cinar has been working in the pharmaceutical industry for 15 years, a sector that had to rapidly switch to digital. To adapt to this data-based environment, he decided to enroll in the online Master of Science (MSc) in Data Management and Business Analytics at EDHEC.
Better understanding data and analytics to be able to ask the right questions as a manager has been his goal since joining the programme. In this interview, Erdem looks back at his first months in the programme and shares some tips on how to balance professional life and online studies.
What is your professional background?
I have been living abroad for many years: in the US, Italy, Switzerland and now in France, for the fifth consecutive year. After working as a strategic consultant for the Boston Consulting Group, I joined the pharmaceutical industry, in which I have been working for 15 years now, in different locations and roles.
Throughout my career, I mainly had commercial roles, from marketing to sales, from business development to commercial excellence. I have been a general manager for emerging markets at Pfizer, covering sixteen markets.
Why did you choose to acquire new skills in data management?
The pharmaceutical industry has been changing really fast. It is now much more digital and all based on data. As data grows in importance, companies can no longer ignore the benefits of analytical tools.
You must adapt to the future and make sure you become proficient in understanding data, ask the right questions, learn artificial intelligence techniques and managerial decision-making skills. As a manager, it is really important to ask the right questions and understand what is happening in the data world. This is the only way for growth.
Why did you choose EDHEC and more particularly an online program?
I chose the Online Master of Science in Data Management and Business Analytics because of the broader global perspective brought by EDHEC. The professors, the content of the program, the insights from my classmates, all contributed to my decision.
I chose the online format because it makes it easier to balance my professional and personal lives. Being an online student gives you an added flexibility and better time management. This is key for me. It also helps me decide on my own pace, which is very important.
How does the programme help you in your current position?
Some of the content we have already gone through is about big data, digital transformation, and managing innovation. Using data is the reality of the pharmaceutical industry. In my current position, it gives me the ability to quickly generate insights that are actionable, and make decisions by interpreting data. It also helps me ask the right questions.
Can you tell us about a specific course you are particularly enjoying within the MSc?
I particularly enjoyed the “Managing innovation” course by Prof. Kollenz. It was quite enlightening to me. As Clayton Christensen said « Disruptive technology should be framed as a marketing challenge, not a technological one ». I learned that innovation is always a challenge but it can be tackled in a systematic way. Learning about these systems helped me a lot.
How do you see the impact of Data Management in the pharmaceutical industry?
The industry is shifting towards digital. The technology is evolving so fast that patients can now track their own health data. To put this very simply, as an example that we all know, you can track your own heartbeat on your smart watch.
Connectivity is amazing. You can even share the data automatically. For example, there are new technologies helping patients get their Covid-19 test results on their mobile phone. They can later share this data with the authorities automatically, in order to travel using public transportation, go to the museum or a restaurant. Technology enables you to move faster and safer.
The data you collect from patients is extremely valuable, and how you manage this data has become very critical in our industry.
Can you share any piece of advice for anyone wishing to pursue an online course or diploma?
Online is the new reality. Many companies in the Fortune 500 are switching to full-time remote work. We have to learn how to make the most out of it.
The best way you can leverage online learning is by making sure to use all available sources and platforms, being active and making sure to connect with other students as well.
Data management is very important in today’s business life. As someone who received an education mostly in management and worked in commercial roles, learning about data management and analytics is creating another muscle in my brain and leveraging all my commercial background to another level. It helps me understand how I can use Big Data, AI, Analytics, Digital and Disruptive technologies in my industry. It’s quite exciting and I’m enjoying it a lot so far!