Careers on the business side

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Careers on the business side

Postby ESC » Wed Dec 07, 2016 11:43 am

I am an equity/junk bond analyst following the healthcare/pharmaceutical/biotech industry seeking advice on making a career transition to the business side of the industry. I have an BS in Business, MBA in Finance and have completed the CFA designation (Chartered Financial Analyst). I have completed enough undergraduate credits in science to gain admission to three MS program (biochemistry, cell biology, microbiology) but have been told that I would need to take some additional general education credits to obtain a BS (oddly, most schools seem to be pushing me toward a MS and away from a BS). Questions:

* Would a formal degree in science improve my candidacy on the business side? If so, does it matter if it's a BS or an MS? I am interested in positions in business development or marketing, but, realistically, my best shot is probably in investor relations, strategy or corporate finance.

* Does it look odd on your resume to have completed an MS without an underlying BS? It would seem like you are not getting credit for half the work you have done given that you have to complete the underlying undergraduate science core to gain admission a MS program.

Any advice, comments and/or insights are appreciated. Thank you all for all the great comments on the board.
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Re: Careers on the business side

Postby Dick Woodward » Wed Dec 07, 2016 5:07 pm

It is always important to have some acquaintance with what your company does. Probably least important in investor relations - mostly dealing with financial analysts (like you, so you know what they need) looking at the big picture. For business development or marketing, the depth of knowledge is more important. In marketing, you have to know what is important to the customer. For BD, you will be talking to a lot of PhD and other science types, and will need some credibility.

Regarding the degree - go for the MS. The schools say that you qualify, and frankly, 2 BS degrees seems a little weird. It rather says that you did not know what you wanted to be when you grew up. For marketing and BD, it will definitely improve your credibility; investor relations, less so. (Here's a test for you - of all of the investor relations people that you have spoken to as an analyst, how many were doing more than repeating scientific buzzwords?)

I would think that someone with your credentials, with the added MS in science, would be an excellent choice as an investor relations person, and could do well in BD as well. Marketing might be a bit more of a stretch, since that involves some additional skills, and you would likely have to start at the bottom.

Hope that this is helpful - best of luck to you!

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Dick Woodward
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Re: Careers on the business side

Postby ESC » Sat Dec 10, 2016 3:19 pm

Dick-thanks for your reply-much appreciated. I wondered about getting a second BS since I have completed so many undergraduate classes for prereqs, but I guess that is a given when you complete a MS. The important thing is that I have the expertise necessary to excel in those positions and the credentials to help demonstrate that.
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