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Great Project Managers at ICON- Matt Zadnik

What’s it like to work at ICON? From the company culture to the career that you decide to follow, taking the time to get stuck into the world of clinical research can be rewarding in very unexpected ways- even if it’s not what you imagined yourself doing to start with.

As a career, Project Management is quite possibly one of the most diverse jobs that you can get stuck into. Challenging, time-intensive and ultimately very rewarding, having a good Project Manager to manage clinical research trials is crucial to the success of any drug, whichever part of its lifecycle it’s in. Having a good Project Management team is essential for any industry’s success, especially as 77% of high-performing companies understand its value.

But what does it involve- and why should it be your career of choice?

We talked to Program Manager Matt Zadnik to find out more.

Talk me through your day-to-day roles

As a Program Manager, I’m responsible for overseeing several studies as part of my work with one of ICON’s new partners, building a strong relationship and developing processes that we can apply to future studies. I also oversee the work done by Project Managers within our team, looking over the different studies that they’re managing, and making sure that they’re achieving their timelines, assessing risks and managing budgets correctly. At ICON, we’re responsible for carrying out clinical research projects, working with pharmaceutical and Biotech companies to potentially bring a new drug to market by collecting clinical data and making sure that to the study is run according to protocol and is safe for the patients. It’s really important that the team make sure that the study is delivering on their commitments and delivering quality results.

Day to day, my role involves a lot of communications, as I have to speak and work with people from all over the world: in my job, there are a lot of teleconferences!

How does your job fit into the business as a whole?

One of the great things about Project Management is that you can work with multiple departments- from working with sales to bring in new business, to making sure that the business that we’re winning is benefitting the company by working on its delivery. We have an impact at every level.

What do you like about being a Project Manager?

It’s a challenging role: there’s no such thing as a project going perfectly, so you’re kept on your toes. A lot of the problems we tackle are unforeseen, so making sure that we’re still maintaining and delivering on the commitments of the study is definitely hard work. That said, when you get to the end of the project, it’s worth it all. For me, the biggest rush is when you see that the FDA has approved the drug you worked on. Seeing the advertisements on television gives you a special feeling because you know just how much work goes into it and that patients are benefiting from that hard work.

What do you like about working at ICON?

I really like the culture and leadership here. The most important thing for me is knowing you’re being recognised for your work, and I think that there’s a really good level of recognition in the company, from the lowest levels to the highest. The people that you work with here are great, too, and having the chance to work with people across multiple levels, in multiple regions and countries is exciting.

Every day for the four years that I’ve worked here, I’ve woken up looking forward to what the day will bring. That goes a long way to show the experience that I have had working with ICON, and why I have no desire to work anywhere else.

What training do you need to be a Project Manager?

The beauty of being a Project Manager is that everybody comes from a different background. Ideally, you start as a Clinical Research Assistant, and work your way up through the clinical ranks. However, I started my career writing proposals for new sales opportunities: I learned Project Management organically, by taking on core tasks like managing a timeline, and dealing with scope and deliverables. There are training courses you can take from places like the Project Management Institute, but a lot of Project Management development is through learning and growing in the day-to-day work.

I myself entered the industry by chance and my life took a turn for the best. I started in project management administration, supporting project managers in their oversight of studies, challenging myself by looking at the administrative tasks as small projects and focused on fast delivery and quality.  I also asked a lot of questions and never hesitated to take on opportunities to learn.

Over time I was able to gain trust from my project managers and took on more robust tasks, starting with basic internal follow-up with leads to eventually managing site outreach and delivery of a complex program of database locks.  As my career progressed, those small tasks turned into large global studies and the rest is history.  To this day I still take on some of those early tasks with the same mindset, they are small projects and just as important as the larger project or program I am managing.  Focusing on the big picture and the impact of everything I do keeps me motivated.

Why should you work as a Project Manager?

If you’re looking for a challenge, organized, and you’re good with establishing interpersonal relationships, then Project Management is a great job. Project Management involves not just timelines and budgets, but also having difficult conversations in a positive way, and motivating your team to get the job done right.

In my mind, everybody is a Project Manager in some way: everybody has to work to a timeline, in a cost-effective manner, at some point in their lives. If you look at it that way, everybody is training to be a Project Manager in some way: you just have to pick the sector that works for you.

Become our next Project Manager.

At ICON, we’re proud to offer amazing job opportunities for all levels of Project Management, in all areas from Medical Devices and Diagnostics to Cardiovascular and Metabolic.

Curious to know more? Why not browse our vacancies?

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