Meet Me in 5: the Covance management development program

Our ongoing “Meet Me in 5” series covers 5 people, topics or questions to illustrate how Covance nurtures exceptional people, provides an energizing purpose and enables extraordinary potential in its employees’ careers.

In this article, Covance spoke to three participants of the Clinical Management Development Program to learn how their careers have been nurtured with this unconventional training experience.

1. Stepping outside the comfort zone

Started in 2013, the Covance Management Development Program was designed to offer three, one-year assignments for individuals in entry-level management positions. “These rotational assignments give participants the opportunity to step away from their current positions and immerse themselves in a different area of the business,” explained Helen, Senior HR Business Partner at Covance.

“Whether they are working on a business challenge or leading an initiative, the participants are going outside of their comfort zone while gaining exposure to different departments working to achieve a specific objective,” she said. “Each participant is partnered with an executive sponsor and rotations are tailored as we get to know the individuals to help support and develop their skill sets even further.”

2.  Broadening exposure

Josh, Senior Manager of Business Operations, is currently in his third year of the Management Development Program. Starting as a clinical data associate and quickly working his way up to higher level positions, he was interested in expanding his data management background with broader experience.

“For me, this program is all about pushing yourself and stepping up into challenging situations,” said Josh. “One of my proudest moments was supporting the Project Management Center of Excellence as we integrated with our Chiltern colleagues. In this program, I’m getting a chance to work with leaders within the business, learn from them and enhance skill sets. The exposure to these leaders and building these relationships has been critical as I grow my career.”

Josh, Senior Manager of Business Operations

  • 1st rotation: Process Improvement, Clinical Trial Management Office
  • 2nd rotation: Organizational Optimization, Business Operations
  • 3rd rotation: Business Performance

3. Building a project management skillset

After working as a senior project manager to support Early Clinical Development, Michelle was thrilled at the opportunity to join the Management Development Program.

“I was not one bit reluctant to commit to a three-year program to explore other parts of the company. I get to work with new people and invest in the company as they invest in me,” she said. “If you’re looking to advance your career in a non-linear, non-traditional way and are ready to take risks, I encourage you to always be open to new opportunities.”

Michelle, Covance/Chiltern Integration Manager

  • 1st rotation: Client Services
  • 2nd rotation: Integration Management Office
  • 3rd rotation: To be determined

4. Finding and developing new strengths  

As one of the first participants in the Management Development Program, Iris had been working her way up in Covance from her position as a clinical research associate (CRA) and then a line manager. When she was invited to join the training program, she saw it as an exciting change for her career.

“My second rotation with Client Services was especially eye opening,” said Iris. “I did not consider myself a ‘sales person’ and was very hesitant to join this role. It turned out to be the best choice I could have made. Just leaving what you know behind and seeing all those different groups working together to achieve a win in sales provides a great experience and indispensable business insight.”

Iris, Associate Director in Operational Excellence

  • 1st rotation: Clinical Trial Lead Management
  • 2nd rotation: Client Services
  • 3rd rotation: Process Management, Clinical Trial Management Office

5. Benefitting the business and personal development  

In these interviews with current and previous Management Development Program participants, many central themes emerged. The participants were keenly aware of their own limitations and weaknesses but felt completely supported when trying out new roles. They were given autonomy to choose their projects and take on initiatives, developing close connections with their department’s leadership team. They also cited all the networks they established and continue to rely on, even after a rotation ended.

“At the end of the program, we work with participants to identify opportunities and look for positions they could naturally fit in. In some cases, we have even created specific positions for participants,” said Helen. “This program allows us to showcase our diverse career paths, offer unique exposure opportunities for participants to grow personally and professionally and highlights our ability to develop the extraordinary potential of our employees’ career.”

To explore careers and learn more about life at Covance, visit

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