Hello and welcome to Lucas Chiang, one of the great ambassadors for the ZLOG program. The program has certainly made its indelible mark on your own career. Can we kick off with an overview of the various doors ZLOG opened up for you?
As for many of us, joining ZLOG has been transformational for our careers and life in general. In my case, I didn’t have any direct supply chain experience prior to the program so the ZLOG degree has given me the credibility to work in this area. Gaining a network of professionals and life-long friends is the biggest door opener as I have been able to rely on them for professional advice and good times alike. While ZLOG has opened the door for me, I have certainly relied on continuously networking, hard work, a little luck and being flexible to get to where I am today.
So, from Denmark, to Switzerland, which is your home right now, do you consider yourself at the Hub of the pharmaceutical SC there, where optimum progress can be made and innovative ideas put into practice?
Basel is home for me now, certainly, and the area is a hub for both pharma and logistics. To be honest, pharma supply chain has a lot of room for improvement so I wouldn’t say that we’re implementing innovative ideas. However, what we do benefit from, is the opportunity to exchange challenges, ideas, and solutions in our industry. The Basel ZLOG Alumni group has tried to build these bridges, but again there are many opportunities that can still be made in our cluster.
You have climbed the career ladder at an amazing rate. Is this down to your personal talent and ambition, or could any focused and committed ZLOG graduate advance their career as quickly?
I was one of the last in my class to get a job after graduating. I did turn down several job offers that didn’t fit my long term plans which was scary at the time but I am glad I kept to my strategy. The premise I have found most useful is being a big fish in a small pond. If you can find a unique selling point that few others can offer your company, and couple this with hard work and flexibility, then in my experience, this has been a recipe for success. Of course, having great bosses and working for companies that have undergone organizational changes are big factors too.
Any pearls of wisdom or advice in general for current and future ZLOG students, to take advantage of during the course, and attitudes or actions following graduation?
The ZLOG program gives you mainly the hard skills. Where students and graduates should also focus on is continuously improving their soft skills and emotional intelligence. Most companies focus on behavioural based interviews so even if you are the smartest person around, you could be passed over in hiring or promotions if you don’t have demonstrated success working effectively in cross functional and team based environments. The ZLOG program gives students many opportunities to work in teams and although it can be challenging and easy to disregard, that is really the time to improve at it!
The final question must obviously be – what does the future hold for Lucas Chiang, according to Lucas Chiang?
If only I had crystal ball… My home is Basel and I see us staying here for the foreseeable future. I was lucky enough to have met my wife in the ZLOG program and we will focus in the next few years in building our family. We are expecting our first child and future ZLOGger in July! Beyond that, anything is possible. We live by the rule: “Never say never.” At the start of the ZLOG program, I didn’t think I wanted to work in pharma. By the end of the program, I had changed my mind and now I love the work that I do. With the rate of change these days, we will probably not stay in the same location, in the same industry for the rest of our working lives, so for sure I will be open to new challenges somewhere down the line