In our first episode, we talk about

  • Who is writing and talking here,
  • If this podcast fits your needs and will help you,
  • How the podcast will boost your career,
  • And, what our approach to podcasting is.

Who is writing and talking here?

We’re Alexander Schacht and Benjamin Piske. We create and edit the content, in addition to managing our work lives, home lives and being continuous learners. We invite you to come and learn along with us to work more effectively, lead courageously, and solve problems innovatively.

Alexander Schacht

I have studied mathematics and received my PhD in biostatistics on non-parametric statistics from the University of Göttingen in Germany. I authored more than 70 scientific manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals and regularly speak at international conferences – both statistical ones like PSI and medical ones like EADV. During my career at university and within the pharma industry, I have collected more than 20 years of experience.

My career focused mostly on phase III and IV (RCT, observational studies, HTA submission, commercialization work) with some regulatory work as well as some experience in the early phases of clinical development.

I’m interested in a broad range of methodological areas but specifically on making better decisions based on data. As such, I was the chair of the EFSPI/SPI SIG on benefit-risk for some time. PSI provided my with many more opportunities, which I’m happy to work on.

At work, I supervise of a small but mighty team of statisticians in a large pharma company. The virtual work environment requires me to adjust my communication style and focus on my ability to deliver results effectively.

I’m a happy husband and father of 3 wonderful kids, who I love to spend time with. In the rest of my time, I love running and listening to podcasts.

Benjamin Piske

I got interested in statistics during my studies of mathematics at the university of Göttingen when I attended courses of statistics at the department of medical statistics. Focusing on non-parametric statistics, I completed my MSc in 2003 and continued to work at the department until starting with a global CRO in April 2004. I started as biostatistician in the phase IIIb/IV environment and worked on interventional and non-interventional late phase trials, commercialization work, publication / presentation support, registries and investigator driven trials in several therapeutic areas – mainly oncology, hematology and neurology – using a broad range of statistical methods. During the later stages of my career I also worked on phase II and phase III trials as well as submissions.

In 2008 I took over line management responsibility for a primarily remote team, and since then developed more and more into a senior position. I’m primarily working office based in our office in Berlin, Germany.

Besides the challenging job and the not less challenging family responsibilities with having 4 children, I love to travel, occasionally play squash, but more frequently record podcast episodes with Alexander 🙂

Learn more about us in our first episode of the podcast and check out our LinkedIn profiles:

Is this podcast for you?

The Effective Statistician helps statisticians (or maybe data scientist) both at a junior and experienced level. We’ll cover topics relevant for those with and without administrative leadership positions. Our examples arise from the health sector mainly, but we assume, that statisticians or data scientists outside of this industry will surely benefit as well.

How will this podcast boost your career?

Learning and following up on the topics in our podcast will help you to become more effective at work through:

  • learning about ongoing methodological discussions
  • Applying better statistical methods
  • building competency
  • becoming a leader (with or without an administrative title)
  • Influencing without authority
  • Building your brand
  • Getting the right things done effectively
  • Collaborating effectively within and across companies/organizations

We will not cover advanced programming skills and news, just for sharing them. While we will talk about upcoming events, we will always focus on the content to make the podcast episodes as valuable as possible.

Our approach to podcasting

We’re aiming high by producing our show weekly, with possible exceptions being vacation periods. We target our episodes at a length of about 20 to 30 minutes, but ultimately, the content will drive the duration.

We want to balance our show with co-hosting episodes during which we discuss topics between the 2 of us with interview sessions. Possible, we might have single speaker episodes in the future as well as we are experimenting how to best deliver value to the listeners.

If you have any suggestion for relevant topics, proposals for interesting interview guests, or other comments on the show, please contact us at or


How will our podcast boost your career as a statistician?

This. is the weekly podcast for statisticians in the health sector designed to improve your leadership skills, widen your business acumen and enhance your efficiency. In today’s episode 0 we will talk about how our podcast will boost your career as a statistician. This podcast is sponsored by PSI.

a global member organization dedicated to leading and promoting best practice and industry initiatives for statisticians. Learn more about upcoming events at

Welcome to the Effective Statisticians, the podcast for statisticians who want to have a bigger impact. This podcast is sponsored by PSI. I’m Alexander Schacht and together with me is my co-host Benjamin Piske. Hi, Benjamin. Hi, Alex. In our first episode, so our episode zero, we will speak today about this podcast itself. It’s so to say a meter episode.

and we’ll cover who we are, who is our target audience, what we will cover in this episode, in the upcoming episodes, so what you will get from this podcast, and also how the format will be. But let’s start with an introduction. So I’m Alexander Schacht, and I have 14 years of experience with different sponsors.

Beforehand, I worked at the academic setting and throughout my industry experience, I have worked on phase three and phase four studies mostly. I worked on RCTs, of course, as well as on observational studies. I worked on regulatory submissions as well as on HTA submissions. And most of my time, I focused on commercialization efforts.

I worked in different therapeutic areas, including HIV, autoimmune, and neuroscience. And I have a pretty wide variety in different methodological areas. Since a couple of years, I’m a group leader. I’m working a virtual team here in Europe with people sitting in various European countries.

So where does this come from? I am involved with PSI since a couple of years. I first started as a member of the Benefit Risk Special Interest Group. Recently, I was asked to join the scientific committee. And through the work with that committee, I got more and more involved in communications. And based on a couple of discussions

Nigel and Nick, we basically started this podcast. So this is where this is coming from. My private life, of course, also plays a role in our setting here. And so I am a husband, I’m a father of three kids. And when I’m not working, I really love running and listening to podcasts.

So I think I will drive a lot here in this podcast, but I’m really looking forward with the chats with Benjamin around various topics for the first season of this podcast. And so do I. Actually, Alexander and I met how many years ago? 18 years maybe when we were at the University at Göttingen. So where Alexander…

and I first met at the medical statistics or the part of medical statistics. So this is how long we know each other. I went a slightly different way actually. I went to a CRO after university 14 years ago and I started in a late phase group over here in Berlin actually. This is…

So I was involved a lot in phase 3B, four studies, observational, interventional studies as well, registries, computational work, publication support, presentation support, investigator-driven trials. So more from the later phases, but this is now more getting into earlier phases as well. So I was involved in submissions and…

and other earlier phases. I touched a lot of therapeutic areas in the time, primarily it is oncology and hematology, neurology, but others as well. I started to work as a manager nine years ago, heading a group approach.

not space in our office, like visually managing this group as well. And I do work primarily office based here in Berlin, as I said, and my private life is more, I’m husband as well, and father of four kids. So there is a life next to work. And now we have a new life, the podcast life together with Alexander. I’m really looking forward to this and to work together with Alexander on this one.

Sorry, one more story to say is actually that this idea between us started last year at the PSI meeting in Berlin. Yes, I remember that we had a really, really nice discussion over some beers. We were discussing various topics, how such a podcast could look like. And now, one and a half years later…

We have everything set up and we can actually get it started. It took us a while. Yeah, sometimes the good things need to have some further thoughts. Well, actually starting this podcast required a little bit of preparation. Okay, so who is this intended to help this podcast? If you are a statistician, this is…

the right podcast for you. We will cover more advanced topics, but also stuff that is more for junior statisticians. We will cover both leadership topics. We will also cover more leadership topics, so to say, without a title. So if you want to influence your peers, if you want to influence cross-functionally,

these kinds of leadership topics we will cover. We are both working in the health sector, so we will mostly speak about these kinds of circumstances, but I’m pretty sure statisticians or probably more modern term data scientists outside of the health sector will benefit as well from the discussions we will have.

I think statisticians, I mean, this is we as Alexander said, we are statisticians, but I think this is, we are not talking like methodology, we are not, you know, driving or diving into really deep methodological sections ourselves. So we will aim or our experience and what we share is something that

will be understood from statisticians but also from any people related to statistics or have a heart for statistics and understand statistical topics and names or words about statistics that we will use. Yeah, so we will really capitalize on the audio part. So of course you can’t see any slides with long formulas or things like this.

So there will be no Greek letters in this podcast. But of course, we will talk about these methodological things from a more high-level perspective, from a conceptual perspective, not so much from a mathematical, formula, programming perspective. So that basically…

directly leads us into the content of this podcast. So what will you actually get from this podcast? Now, I came up with this idea to call this podcast the Effective Statistician. And that is basically based on a book that I very, very much like, The Effective Executives, by Peter Drucker.

I want to say it’s effective in that sense. It’s not kind of how to get more done in less time to squeeze more into your day. It’s more about how you can have an impact as a statistician. And so we’ll speak about all these kinds of things that can help you with having a bigger impact. These can be things around leadership styles, this can be things about…

methodological aspects, these can be things about the business, overall knowledge, the overall knowledge around the healthcare sector. And maybe also kind of how to get things done in an effective way. But that is just a part of this overall effectiveness of sister decision. So…

It’s really about the impact of the statistician.

I think, I mean, we do interact as a statistician, we do interact with lots of people, with lots of different persons that we are working with, that talk to us, that we talk to. This is the interaction, the knowledge of who to speak and how to speak and how to communicate.

And this is something that will be part of, like a natural part of this, the whole discussion about an effective statistician. Yeah, exactly. Communication is really the key. So if you are a stellar statistician from a methodological side, but you can’t get your message across, if you can’t sell it, if you can’t tell a story about it.

will really be difficult to have an impact with these methodological advancements. Of course, all these things need to come together to be really effective, I think. If one of these four points is leadership, this is being really good on the methodological side, this is to know in which environment you’re working and to actually do this in

effective, efficient way. If all these four things come together, I think that’s, then you can be a really impactful statistician. So sometimes it helps to speak about also the stuff that we will not cover to make it really clear what we will cover. So I’ve done a lot of programming throughout my career, but that has…

decreased dramatically over the recent years, especially since I became a group leader. I wouldn’t call myself a very experienced programmer, so we’ll probably not speak so much about programming skills. No, I agree. Same here. I did a lot of programming, but I think it’s quite a long time ago, so we better talk about these. Yes.

So the other topics that we’ll not speak so much about is this is not a news podcast. So we’ll not make lots of announcements, okay, this paper is out and that conference is coming and these things are happening at the moment. But we want to speak more about these kind of ongoing discussions from a content perspective.

So what you get out of maybe a new initiative, what you get out of a new guideline, what you get out of a landmark publication, these kind of things. But not so much from a news perspective, but much more from a so-called evergreen content. So even if you listen to this maybe three years

that event occurred, that you still get something from it.

I think what you did not mention is we actually said we talk about it, but actually I hope that we do have people also invited that are talking about these topics because I think this is something we did not mention yet. We are not co-hosting the show forever. I hope it’s really that we try to get people involved, get people invited and interview them. Let them talk about topics in different ways.

If this is a most recent topic, if this is an ongoing discussion, if this is a more or less old topic, that will be a little bit of a surprise what we will find, who we will find to interview and discuss with that person. And also, this is actually going back to what we will cover, is let us know what we will cover because I think the feedback from people, from listeners are most relevant for a podcast and therefore…

We do appreciate any ideas of what would be an interesting topic that we could speak about, that we could touch or maybe even invite people to discuss. This is really like a living podcast, we hope, with feedback and with interesting topics to come that we have not even thought about. Exactly. It’s a podcast for you. It’s not…

for Benjamin and myself, it’s for you. If you send us questions, if you send us suggestions that you would like to learn more about, if you would like to actually speak with people or listen from people, that you would like to be here on the show, that has done something very nice, that are impactful statisticians.

and where we can learn from, then just tell us. So yeah, as Benjamin said, we will not have all episodes as co-hosting. We will have interviews with other people and there are already some interviews lined up, not recorded yet, but I’m really looking forward to this as well. And maybe there will be sometimes also some, you know,

summer breaks or something like this come up and maybe then Benjamin is somewhere else or I’m somewhere else and we can’t record something in time, then maybe we’ll also have some single episodes, but I think that will be more the exception than the rule.

Otherwise, we hope to get an episode every week out, duration like 20 minutes, maybe 25. So, not too long for computing and running a while. So, that’s enough for this one. Just for everyone. Exactly. So, from the length, good to listen to it in the gym or at all the other…

instances where you can easily listen to a podcast. Okay, with that, I think we are coming already to the end of this episode. Please stay tuned for the next episodes and we’ll speak to you again.

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I want to help the community of statisticians, data scientists, programmers and other quantitative scientists to be more influential, innovative, and effective. I believe that as a community we can help our research, our regulatory and payer systems, and ultimately physicians and patients take better decisions based on better evidence.

I work to achieve a future in which everyone can access the right evidence in the right format at the right time to make sound decisions.

When my kids are sick, I want to have good evidence to discuss with the physician about the different therapy choices.

When my mother is sick, I want her to understand the evidence and being able to understand it.

When I get sick, I want to find evidence that I can trust and that helps me to have meaningful discussions with my healthcare professionals.

I want to live in a world, where the media reports correctly about medical evidence and in which society distinguishes between fake evidence and real evidence.

Let’s work together to achieve this.