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Jack Carolan, Manufacturing Front Line Leader, Abbott

Jack Carolan, Manufacturing Front Line Leader, Abbott

What's your name, job and employer?

My name is Jack Carolan and I'm a Manufacturing Front Line Leader at Abbott.

What does your job involve?

My main task during the week would be focussing on Quality and Compliance, to ensure we're producing the highest quality products every time. I support a lot of cross functional teams as well from an operational perspective. I would link in a lot with the Quality or Compliance teams if we have upcoming audits, or the Engineering team if we need to schedule maintenance in the manufacturing line, and give that link between the people on the floor creating the products and the people who help run the rest of the show.

What skills are important to be successful?

Probably the most important skills I use would be leadership and communication skills. I always say you can have the most technical knowledge on a subject in the world but it's useless if you're not able to communicate it to other people that you work with. Being able to take the important information that you need to get across and both effectively communicating it to the right people and equally having the ability to take the lead on the project and drive it through to make it a success are the two most important things.

What do you love about your job?

I think the nature of the products that we make in Abbott is what inspires me every day. We're making life changing technology across a number of different product divisions and what we make really improves people's lives every day. In terms of the professional development programme, I love the opportunities to change role every year for three years and I get to have a taste of a lot of different departments. When I finished my Masters degree I wasn't really sure what area I wanted to work in but now that I get to sample a lot of different departments I'll have a much better idea where I see myself long term.

How useful is it to have a Masters?

A Masters wasn't essential for the programme but for me personally I found it very beneficial. A component of my masters I really liked was that it included an internship. While internships aren't essential for a lot of jobs it gave me a lot of relevant experience that I've been able to draw on in the work I do now. The other benefit was the chance to do more classes beyond my Engineering. The role takes in a lot of communication and business, and as well as my regular Engineering classes I got to take classes on different business subjects like Finance and Management.

What advice would you give a first year student?

The best advice I could give early on in college is to get involved with all aspects of college. When you apply for jobs it's expected that you have the technical knowledge and it's the skills beyond that which they really look for. In my interview for the programme, a lot of the questions were really focussed on the stuff I had done with societies in college because there were times when I had shown leadership or had to communicate effectively. Any opportunity that you can take to work on communication really puts you above the rest. I even took a class on Technical Communication in my final semester and I probably use what I learned in that class more than any other class I took.