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Diversity In Action

Genentech wants students with a passion for operations

Internships are available for students majoring in many technical areas. The Operations Rotational Development Program helps new grads channel passions into careers


Genentech is looking for students who are passionate about technology. The company needs college students and new grads for technical operations in pharmatech, biologics, engineering, supply chain, quality control and contract management. The Operations Rotational Development Program (ORDP) allows new grads to design their own programs over two years and create their career paths at the company.

"Four rotations in four different areas let them see what works best," says Cyndy Woodman, program manager for ORDP. "Working with four different managers on four different teams means they come out very well rounded. They can fit in anywhere in the company."

Genentech was founded in 1976 and is considered the first biotech company. The company uses human genetic information to discover, develop, manufacture and commercialize medicines to treat patients with serious or life-threatening medical conditions. Its research focuses on oncology, immunology, metabolism, neuroscience and infectious disease. Genentech scientists currently hold over 10,500 patents and another 7,000 are pending. Its medicines treat cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, Alzheimer's, diabetes, coronary disease, serious viral and bacterial diseases and others.

"We come to work every day for the patients," says Pam Leung, senior program manager for the college recruiting team. "The patient comes first."

Genentech has been recognized frequently for its commitment to diversity. 2012 was its sixth consecutive year on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's Corporate Equality Index for LGBT Equality. It has been one of Black MBA magazine's Top 50 Companies and was one of Essence magazine's twenty-five Great Places to Work.

Its eight diversity network associations provide connections and advocacy for African Americans, Filipino Americans, LGBT employees, women, young early-career employees, Latinos, South Asians and older employees. Representatives from each group meet monthly, and are guided by a diversity action plan adopted in 2001. They also connect with the community through minority school programs, patient advocacy and fundraising for disease prevention, research and education.

The company employs more than 11,000 people at five sites in California, Oregon and Kentucky. After Genentech merged with the Roche Group (Basel, Switzerland) in 2009, the South San Francisco headquarters became Roche's U.S. pharmaceutical headquarters.

Twelve to fifteen new grads become analysts in the ORDP each year. Since the program began nine years ago, about 125 have completed it. Each year, eight to ten of the analysts come from a pool of 300-plus Genentech interns; the others come through direct hiring.

Interns can begin as early as after their sophomore year of college. Students majoring in chemical, electrical or mechanical engineering; chemistry; life sciences; logistics; operations or supply chain management are considered. The application process is open to all online.

Interns spend ten to twelve weeks at one of the company's sites. Most are assigned to the South San Francisco headquarters. It's an intense summer: social events, like Giants baseball games, are included. They attend senior management "lunch and learn" sessions and career development panels. At the completion of their internships, students are expected to create a poster presentation about their projects.

"I work with managers to create meaningful projects that will impact the business and augment the intern's education," Leung says. "The poster presentations allow interns to showcase their projects and gain visibility within the company."

ORDP analysts are assigned mentors and buddies. Their mentors are executives at associate director level or above. Mentors help the analysts evaluate what they've learned in each rotation and choose the next one. Woodman's team also provides support.

Buddies are selected from ORDP analysts in the class one year ahead. They help new analysts navigate everyday questions and provide a friendly contact at work. And they introduce new analysts to corporate events like the traditional Friday afternoon "Ho-Hos," theme parties held every week.

Genentech frequently rewards employees with special events. For the company's thirtieth anniversary, Genentech held a party with music by the Black-Eyed Peas and the Eagles.

"We work hard and we play hard," says Woodman.

ORDP analysts are encouraged to continue their formal educations. A certificate program with Stanford University (Stanford, CA) allows them to take classes in a wide range of subjects, from biotech to accounting, and complete a certificate in Product Realization Networking or earn credits toward advanced degrees. Those who enter ORDP with a masters can pursue project management and other advanced certificate programs.

First-year analysts meet with Woodman or another member of her team every three weeks to talk over their work. She provides coaching to help them navigate any problems or frictions that occur in the workplace, and learn to manage situations as leaders. Second-year analysts meet with her every six weeks.

After the fourth rotation, analysts have built their personal networks and learned how the company operates; as the last rotation ends, they settle on a permanent position.

D/C




www.gene.com

Headquarters: South San Francisco, CA
Employees: 11,000
Revenues: $4 billion
Business: Biotechnology

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