Hard skills can be learned in schools or from books. There are usually designated level of competency and a direct path as to how to excel with each hard skill. The requirements are the same regardless of which company, circumstance or people you work with.
Some of my hard skills:
- Financial Valuation for projects (rNPV-based, IRR, ROI,…) and companies (DCF, Relative Valuation, Multiples,…). I’m using all these methods on a day-to-day basis as it is my responsibility on the job.
- Analysis (Economic, Financial, Trends). As a financial analyst, I’m used to spot trends in huge amount of data. I also like to follow what’s happening in the financial markets and understanding what are the main trends in the global economy.
- Sales Forecasting is a key skill that allows me to fully exploit my passion for Excel spreadsheets. I put in place a global methodology on my current job where I collect all the inputs from my colleagues and populate a fully customized spreadsheet to compute sales forecasts over the full project lifecycle.
- Business & Deal Strategy. My sound experience and track record in the banking as well as the pharmaceutical industry allows me to propose specific strategies for deal structuring (depending on risks, opportunities and portfolio fit). Additionally I’m always well informed about the last M&A in the industry in order to spot the trends in terms of preferred therapeutic areas or technology.
- Pharmaceutical Industry Deep Knowledge. I started analyzing pharmaceutical and biotech companies back in 2000. I accumulated over the past 15 years an in-depth knowledge of the industry but not only. I’m also always taking the opportunity to ask questions to science and medical people every time I can and people are available to explain. I like to interact with scientists in order to better understand the context of medical decisions.
- Computer Skills (Office, Web-based tools like WordPress). The Office Suite (Advanced use of Excel) as well as financial tools such as Bloomberg and Reuters (as well as web-based tools like Deloitte Recap and IHS databases) have nearly no secret for me. I recently enrich my tool range with WordPress. I like to use this CMS and I even created a website for a small biotech from scratch by using it.
Soft skills are self management and people skills. With this type of skills it is possible to anticipate the rules based on the company culture and people you work with. However, there is no simple path to learn soft skills; they are not taught in school and have to be learned on the job by trial and error. It is fundamental to apply the tips you learn through your experience and be adaptable.
Some of my soft skills:
- Active Listening & Critical Thinking. I like to listen to people and learn from them. Everybody has something to teach you, even children. I also like to collect the opinions of several people on the same question as by crossing all the ideas you could sometimes find a solution. Once you find a solution, it is better to think twice. Can we cross-check? What are the facts behind my beliefs? Can we reach the same result differently? If we did bottom-up methodology, could we use top-down?
- Leadership (small team) & Teamwork. I’m leading a small team of 3 people and it is great to have this type of interaction. I don’t feel like a boss, I feel like a coach to encourage and motivate them to do a great job. I like to work in team. Within a team where people are honest, transparent, hard working, flexible and creative.
- Problem Solving (Solution-oriented). I think that we can always find a solution that is valuable for both parties, we just have to be creative.
- Flexibility. I have no issue in changing priority 3 or 4 times in one day if there is a good business reason for that. In my current job it happens regularly.
- Effective Communication. You can do a great job but without communicating it well, it will not be perceived that way. It is key to fully master and understand each business case before presenting it. I need to understand the main goals of the audience before presenting in order to bring them the answers they are looking for.