It’s early in the morning as the ICN students in Brand Management make their way on the bus for their last company visit of the semester. Having previously visited Allianz, a global insurance company, and ProSiebenSat1, a national media company, it was time to switch gears.
Just a short trip from the ICN Business School in Nuremberg, The ICN students in Brand Management make their way to the Bionorica Headquarters in upper Bavaria. With its roots in Nuremberg and a rich history expanding 80+ years, Bionorica to this day remains family-owned. This is no small feat, given that the company is now a leading global manufacturer of herbal medicines (you might have heard of their signature product, Sinupret), with sites and partners on almost every continent. Its headquarters in Neumarkt symbolize the ethos of the company: integrating nature with technology. Not to mention, it’s one of the most sustainableoffice buildings in all of Europe.
Making our way towards the bright, sky-blue building, the students and I are warmly greeted by Dr. Jürgen Ott, the Regional Head of Central Europe, and his capable team of marketing and sales professionals. Ushering into the conference room, an array of Bionorica products await us at our seats. Dr. Ott kicks off the morning, providing us with an overview of the company. The students can hardly contain their enthusiasm and welcome the opportunity to jump in with questions galore (it’s clear they have done their research)!
After Dr. Ott’s presentation, we ‘scrub-in’ to prepare for the production tour (unfortunately, there are no photos documenting this, as we had to leave all electronics behind). With our white coats, blue shoe covers, and hair nets, we are guided through, step-by-step how Bionorica manufactures its products: starting with the seeds, to the cultivation and harvesting of the plants, to the modern technologies, and the packaging processes, we are offered a unique glimpse into how plants are transformed into medicine.
After lunch in the employee canteen, we are escorted back to the conference room where we hear from Dr. Martin Lehner about the current status of Bionorica’s R&D developments. He even reveals some insights about new drug discoveries that might become available in the not so distant future. Dr. Christian Lottner then joins us to discuss some of the challenges a global medicinal company faces, particularly with regard to legal regulations and guidelines. While no doubt, a complex and complicated topic, we get a first-hand introduction to the many approaches companies can adopt when entering new markets with new drugs. And as a growing company in a burgeoning industry, Bionorica is the expert.
But now, the students’ expertise is put to the test…
As Bionorica continues to expand its global operations, it must familiarize itself with the markets and competitors. Anne Schwenghagen and Christina Häupler walk us through how Bionorica conducts in-depth competitor analyses and before wrapping up the day, they ask the ICN students to do the same. While novices in the medicinal industry, the ICN Brand Management students are masters of marketing. Currently working on competitor analyses for the French, Austrian, and Chinese markets, the ICN students will deliver their findings and recommendations to Bionorica at the beginning of March. Being able to obtain hands-on experience at an actual company – working on real and tangible deliverables– is a unique opportunity, and one that is not lost on the students.
Therefore, we would like to thank the team at Bionorica for welcoming us to their office and taking the time to thoroughly explain the on-goings of their operations and the secrets behind their sustainable success. In particular, we would like to thank Dr. Jürgen Ott, Elisabeth Schuster, and Andrea Schels for organizing such a fantastic program.
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I've been lucky enough to find a career that combines my love of traveling, passion for educating, and need to work in sweatpants at least 50% of the time (see I really am American).