An interview with Manoj Dalmia, Business Development Lead
Manoj is the Business Development Lead, US Clinicians at AMBOSS, and an experienced medical doctor. He explains why he decided to pivot from working in patient care to commercial work, what his role involves, working for AMBOSS in New York, and the joys of working for a remote team.
Can you briefly tell us about your career?
I was born and raised in the US and went to medical school at the University of Michigan. I decided to pursue anaesthesiology as my residency at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, which is affiliated with Harvard Medical School in Boston, and did a pediatric anaesthesiology fellowship at Cincinnati Children’s.
I subsequently worked two years at Kaiser Permanente in Southern California, and 6.5 years at NYU Langone Health, working as both a pediatric and adult anaesthesiologist while I was there, where I taught many residents and fellows throughout the years.
What’s something you do outside of work that most people don’t know about?
Most people who haven’t had a chance to talk to me don’t know I’m really passionate about wine. I’m in a Diploma in Wine program through the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET).
A good buddy of mine is a Master Sommelier, and he knew that I always loved wine and thought it would be a great thing to learn about it in more detail. So I skipped Levels 1 and 2, went straight to 3, passed that, and am now through 4 of 6 units for my Level 4 Diploma.
Describe AMBOSS in 3 words.
I would say point of care. Especially from the B2B institutions perspective in the US, that point of care emphasis is very important when separating us from other clinical decision tools. The idea that doctors can use something that distills medical knowledge in a way where they can quickly access very relevant information is a really powerful separation between AMBOSS and our competition.
How would you describe the AMBOSS product in 30 seconds?
I would say that the AMBOSS product is a data driven medical knowledge and clinical point of care platform used by both medical students and doctors alike. For students, the knowledge library and Qbank are great preparation tools for the USMLE and Shelf exams, while also looking like a superstar on rounds. As a doctor, I think it’s a trustworthy, relevant, and most importantly, extremely efficient point of care clinical decision support tool.
I think of AMBOSS as the Google of medical knowledge, where you’re able to rapidly access clinically relevant and concise information that you need to take care of a patient at the point of care.
Why did you decide to switch from being a doctor and professor to working at AMBOSS?
I’m the only medical person in my family, so I was never pushed into medicine. And I’ve always had a lot of interests in my life — I did a lot of theater, I love to write. Medicine just kind of seemed to make the most sense, but I never viewed it as a particular calling in my life.
So I went through it, did well, and really enjoyed the impact I was making, but I also saw that the impact itself was very limited. It couldn’t scale over time, and was only achieved patient by patient. And as much as people want to think that the world of medicine is very dynamic, it’s not. Medical knowledge grows very quickly, but when it comes to caring for patients, it’s very static and people don’t tend to make a lot of changes. What I found after a few years of practicing was a degree of frustration because I couldn’t fully utilize the art of medicine.
Within a few years, I began to think if this was something I could see myself doing for the next 25 to 30 years. I asked myself: am I really making the kind of impact on patients and patient care that I want?
After the pandemic, I was at a point in my life where I wanted to do something else. I still loved medicine but wanted to do something where I could impact a much wider group of people. I thought if that’s not with patients directly, then focusing on the physicians, residents, and medical students that are taking care of those patients would be really interesting — but I didn’t know how.
So for 15 months I went without having a particular direction. I explored real estate, and learned about wine. Then a friend of mine found the job opportunity at AMBOSS. They said it sounded like the company was looking for someone who likes to talk to people and wants to build something that could help medical students and physicians in the future. So I applied.
And it’s been really great. I love the camaraderie, and the sense of community here at AMBOSS. I love the mixture of a startup feel, but that it has the European culture which is very different from the American startup culture. Everyone has been really supportive and I’m looking forward to what we can accomplish together in the future.
The US culture is very much a live to work versus a work to live situation. There’s a lot of respect for personal time at AMBOSS that you don’t see in general in a company with a US work culture. No one is going to say that your personal time isn’t important here. I think that’s a phenomenal culture to be a part of.
What was your recruitment process like?
I think I was intimidated initially. Going from a clinical world to going into markets, sales, and developing a company strategy for a well-known brand was intimidating. But every step of the way, everyone was so friendly and provided great feedback. I started by speaking with the talent acquisition manager, then spoke to my future manager. To be able to have a good working relationship with your manager was really important, and I felt that right off the bat.
Finally, I got invited to do a sales presentation. I speak my mind (as some people may already realize!), and to be able to be part of a company that welcomes that is so great. I was able to challenge some ideas in the interview, and to realize that the two people I’d be working closely with were open to it made me feel like this was a company that I could definitely work at, and people I could work with. And clearly I did okay because the entire process to hiring was pretty quick!
What does your team do, and what upcoming goals and projects are you working on?
I’m the Business Development Lead for US Clinicians, so I work with the US markets team, with the goal of getting institutions to sign on for AMBOSS licenses. We’re focusing on residents right now for internal medicine, emergency medicine, and family medicine, but we also have a great platform that supports teaching faculty and other physicians as well.
In the US, AMBOSS is seen mostly as only a Qbank tool for medical exam prep. We’re trying to emphasize the clinical knowledge library, and how it can be extremely helpful when taking care of patients while making the lives of residents and teaching faculty easier.
What’s it like to work for AMBOSS in New York?
I’ve lived in New York for over 8 years now, and our office feels extremely homey. Our team is small and continuing to grow, but I see that everyone is on the same page when it comes to the AMBOSS mission and wants to create something that can truly impact the world of medicine. I’m excited about everyone I’m working with and am excited for the office to grow.
One of the things that I really like about AMBOSS is that the teams work cross-functionally. Everyone’s opinion matters; if you’re an engineer, your feedback is valued whether it’s about engineering or not. Because it’s so integrated, you’re able to create an experience for the user that feels more natural rather than compartmentalized.
How do you schedule your day when working across timezones and remotely?
It can be a challenge. My manager is based in Switzerland, so we have a 6 hour time difference. So sometimes, you only have a couple of hours of overlap to get the answers you need. But as I get more used to it, it gets easier, and we all find our way. It’s a small sacrifice to be a part of a team that allows people to live and work all over the world and live their lives, instead of following a rigid schedule.
I absolutely love that I don’t need to have set hours or work locations and can adjust them to best accommodate my life. That’s a blessing I never got to experience when I worked as a physician, and I feel very lucky as a result.