From the Marines to Merck:
Pursuing Missions that Matter

By Joe Butcher, associate director, Corporate Strategy

Joe ButcherWhen I decided to pursue a career in the military, I wasn’t sure whether it would be for 5 years or 20 years. I was passionate about serving our country and drawn to the Marine Corps’ camaraderie and values of “Honor, Courage, and Commitment”. I’ll be forever grateful for the experiences the Marine Corps provided me and, most importantly, the Marines with whom I served.

Ultimately, I decided to leave the military for business school and a new mission. I believe that the private sector’s resources can and should be used to help solve our world’s most pressing challenges.

It was in my business school ethics class that I first learned about Merck.

The topic? Merck’s role in developing a treatment for river blindness despite no financial incentives to do so. I was impressed with the decision Merck leadership made at that time, and its continued commitment today. And, I was inspired by the company’s commitment to put patients first.

After meeting with Merck’s veteran recruiter who helped me understand how my military service could benefit the company, I was lucky enough to begin my career here through the MBA Finance Rotational Program. I’m now associate director in Corporate Strategy, where I work on our corporate crisis management program while also exploring new ways to use data science and digital technology to help improve how we treat patients.

In my time here, I’ve learned more about Merck’s mission of saving and improving lives and witness daily the passion to succeed in that mission. Every employee aims to conduct themselves with pride, respect and a greater sense of purpose – objectives that align with my military background.

I believe our passion is fueled by our commitment to patients.

Patients are the heart in all that we do. We hear patients’ stories. We listen to patient organizations, communities and caregivers about what matters to them. This helps us shape clinical trials and identify unmet medical needs to guide our R&D efforts. And, it helps to reinforce the company’s commitment to corporate responsibility and enables us to establish programs to tackle some of humanity’s greatest challenges.

It’s easy to see that the work we do matters, and that’s really important for me.

While the transition from the military to the business world has been challenging at times, joining a team with a focused, positive mission and the support of dedicated colleagues has been very familiar.

I have yet to come across a leader at Merck who isn’t passionate about our mission of saving and improving lives and the impact we can have on patients. While the challenge of striking the balance of doing well while doing good will never be easy, it may be the only mission worth pursuing.

Veterans at Merck

We foster a culture of inclusion and belonging where all employees feel welcomed and valued─a culture where we regard every individual as a source of competitive advantage in our larger mission of saving and improving lives.

Veterans have a lot to offer our company. The work ethic, leadership skills, and dedication that we all gain from our time in uniform can be leveraged in different ways across the organization.

At Merck we support veterans through our Global Veterans Employee Business Resource Group (EBRG), a community that provides leadership development and networking forums for its members. We also support active duty service members and veterans in our communities.

Learn more about our commitment to corporate responsibility.

Learn more about From Service to Science.