I worked at CIBA Vision full-time (More than 10 years)
The benefits are great. Being owned by a large pharma company can be a real plus from that perspective.
I worked with some great people.
Pre-Alcon, managers had a lot of independence. There was freedom and support to drive to results.
Pharma companies breed bureaucracy, and Novartis is no exception.
Pushing Ciba into Alcon did not go well. Even though Ciba Vision had a lot more insight into how Novartis worked, Alcon didn't care.
Work life balance was not the best.
Very quarterly results driven. Have a bad quarter (or worse, a bad year), and layoffs were virtually automatic, no matter workload or contribution.
Advice to Management
For Novartis, consider spinning Alcon off.
For Alcon, remember that Texas is not the center of the universe.
I applied online. The process took 4 days. I interviewed at CIBA Vision (Duluth, GA).
Submit resume -> manager reviewed -> scheduled phone interview -> onsite interview -> get offer. Negotiate the offer with HR but get declined, very tough to handle on the offer parts. decline offer in the end.