In an age where professional networks are hosted online and sales pitches are launched from smart phones directly to consumer inboxes, Michael Dill ’09, a sales representative for Johnson & Johnson, says he still prefers traditional face time when communicating with colleagues and potential clients.
That might be a surprise to some. As a young alumnus of Rider University, Dill falls in the category of the gadget-obsessed, headphone wearing, texting millennials. While his LinkedIn profile boasts 500-plus connections, he credits part of his career success to his ability to build personal relationships.
“Social media is a great tool to do your homework and gain insight into an individual that might be of interest to you,” he explained. “At the end of the day, it’s so important to be personable. It’s not easy to ask someone to sit down with you, so you can to learn about their career and journey, but it speaks volumes of you as a person.”
Since he graduated with degrees in Accounting and Finance three years ago, Dill has emerged as an aspiring business leader in J&J’s Financial Leadership Development Program (FLDP) to become a medical device sales representative of a $3.5 million territory. In order to gain exposure and leverage his successes early in his career, Dill said he focused on establishing relationships within the organization, including those in upper management.
During his first year of the FLDP, Dill gained experience abroad while working in a corporate internal audit department. The following year, he handled recall expenses while working in the marketing finance consolidation department for McNeil Consumer Healthcare. Although he was on the finance track, Dill began to consider another business route. Ultimately, Dill, who aims to become a president of one of the Johnson & Johnson companies, noticed many senior executives have sales experience.
“I thought it was really critical to get sales experience early in my career,” he said.
After completing the FLDP in May 2011, Dill was able to leverage his internal network to attain a position at the J&J subsidiary Ethicon, Inc., as a territory sales assistant for team of eight covering New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Southern Connecticut. In less than a year, he was promoted to his current position as a medical device sales representative, carrying nine different products geared toward gynecologists and urologists in 40 different hospitals in the Bronx and Westchester Counties in New York and Southern Connecticut.
“I absolutely love the new role and being able to have direct contact with our customers on a daily basis,” he said. “My passion is people. It’s important to get the customer perspective and to understand what they want and how you can bring them value.”
Though Dill is no longer in a finance position, he has been able to leverage his accounting and finance skills, which he says have been essential in the current economy and with hospital budgets.
“My accounting and finance background has helped me deliver solutions to these customers by providing contracting options, value analysis proposals and cost/benefit analyses,” Dill said. “Analyzing the numbers behind the business has really helped me to spend my time wisely in managing the territory.”
Through his studies and involvement in Rider’s DAARSTOC (Developing Administrative Abilities and Resources through the Synergistic Training of Organizational Competencies) program, Dill discovered that understanding numbers and people are two critical components of successful business. Under the advisement of mentors such as Dr. Mark Sandburg, Dr. Gene Kutcher, Professor Alan Sumutka and Dr. Marge O’Reilly-Allen, he was able to grow personally and professionally. Anne Mandel, associate director of Career Services for CBA, also helped Dill find internship and co-op opportunities.
As an alumnus, Dill visits with members of Beta Alpha Psi, Rider’s business honors fraternity, and looks for ways to give back through mentoring. He advises students to start building their relationships, take advantage of opportunities early and gain as much experience as possible.
“Every experience I had paved the way for the next one. I became more knowledgeable about my career interests in accounting, finance and sales,” Dill said. “I’m continuing to learn a lot about myself and couldn’t be happier to be with a company that gives me the opportunity grow both personally & professionally.”