Sven Sorensen - Product Manager

What sort of work does a Product Manager in Oncology do?

Name: Sven Sorensen

Field of Work: Oncology

Place of Birth: Oslo, Norway

Age: 41

Your job title: Product Manager, Oncology

What is a Product Manager? This is an individual responsible for delivering timely and effective promotional tactics involving planned strategies to develop and grow a brand/product. They are the leader of the team with people from other departments that contribute their skills to the overall team’s success. To be successful, the team’s approaches and information have to reach the right audience. The Product Manager role requires leadership and collaboration with both internal and external partners to ensure goals and strategies are met. A Product Manger is the central person to the team, leading and bringing people together to consult, share ideas, gain agreement on the “next steps” planned. A Product Manger understands the basics and some specifics of the product but they rely and trust on their team’s expertise to coordinate and work together for decisions.

What is a typical day like for you? I commute to work each day with intent to maximize my time at my desk and in meetings. This requires preparation for 30 minutes the night before so I have the right information and tools to lead specific tactic and strategic meeting/planning sessions. A typical day usually involves 3-4 short (30 min-1 hr) meetings with team members throughout the day. In between these meetings, I work at my desk, reading scientific results and research, making phone calls and thinking to put together and understand information that better our team’s knowledge specific to the projects my team is working on. I need to look at specific problems and challenges within the overall bigger picture of the longer timelines (lifecycle) involving promotion of a product.

Did you always want to be a Product Manager? I do not think I ever “knew” I wanted to be a Product Manager. I have always had a purpose for my working life; the use of science to better human lives. These thoughts with education and direction lead me to the Pharma/Biotech industry and this exposure helped me to understanding that my personality, leadership and communication skills would be well suited to a manager type role. However, I knew I needed develop other necessary skills first. So once I was exposed to the positions available I started to learn what fit with me and what skills and experience I still needed to obtain.

What courses in high school prepared you for this field? The main prep courses would have been Science and Math Courses along with any courses necessary to writing and communication skills. These would include some balance courses to expand on science knowledge and challenge thinking; English, Human Sciences, History.

Where did you go to university/college? Queen’s University, Kingston Ontario

How did you decide where to go? I wanted to go to a smaller University with a good science background and I was also recruited to the Queen’s Swim and Soccer Teams.

Was there extra training required for this career after you finished college/university? If so, what? There are some preparatory courses outside of University (Colleges) that lead you and prepare you for the Pharma/Biotech industry. I did not know about them prior to joining my company for my first job.

What is the coolest part of your job? Knowing that our products help improve patients lives.

What’s the worst part of your job? Sometimes days are long and not as much work and accomplishment is achieved.

What’s the salary range for this particular job and field? I am not sure. Money is important as long as one is happy and challenged at their job. People are very skilled so my guess is the range goes from $90,000 to $130,000 and the salary is based on education and experience.

Ooooops! Everyone makes mistakes so what was the dumbest thing you've ever done at work? Upon reflection, I think a dumb mistake is speaking too fast about someone or something that may be either misunderstood or overheard incorrectly. More often, those words are misunderstandings and not intended to hurt or harm anyone or thing. But, when it does, it impacts trust and credibility of that person who spoke them. Those words were not clearly thought out with what they intended to really say.

I have learned to think before I speak to fast!!!

Any advice that you would give others seeking a similar career? Speak directly to someone. After understanding, ask to shadow them in a typical day.

What are some great web links or references for someone interesting in reading up more about this career? Any Management books at the library or bookstore would be a start. I do not know of any specific web links.

What is the last movie you saw? Thumbs up or thumbs down? I saw “Inception” and it was cool as it made you think as to what reality and non-reality really is ….or was….or is….

What’s your motto? Get ‘ er Done, meaning get the tough stuff done when there is no interest in starting or finishing it. Just has to be done.

What’s your favorite cartoon character? Spiderman …watched him all the time on Saturday morning

What’s your zodiac sign? Pisces

What’s the best advice your mother gave you? LOOK Before you LEAP!!!

CurioCity Careers

We hope you enjoyed learning about this great STEM career! The information in this career profile was provided by this individual especially for CurioCity. We hope it helped give you a sense of what this type of job is really like.

Let’s Talk Science is pleased to provide you with this information as you explore future career options. Many careers require a background in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Even jobs that don’t use specific STEM concepts on a day-to-day basis benefit from the skills gained through a study of STEM. People with a STEM background are very much in demand by employers across all career sectors. If you would like to learn about more careers that have a STEM connection, visit

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