Subscribe

Forum

Your thoughts: would an MBA after MD be useful in Biotech?

Welcome to the newly redesigned Science Careers Forum. Please bookmark this site now for future reference. If you've previously posted to the forum, your current username and password will remain the same in the new system. If you've never posted or are new to the forum, you will need to create a new account.

The new forum is designed with some features to improve the user experience. Upgrades include:
- easy-to-read, threaded discussions
- ability to follow discussions and receive notifications of updates
- private messaging to other SC Forum members
- fully searchable database of posts
- ability to quote in your response
- basic HTML formatting available

Moderator: Dave Jensen
Advisors:   Ana, PG, Rich Lemert, Dick Woodward, Dave Walker
Meet the Moderator/Advisors

Your thoughts: would an MBA after MD be useful in Biotech?

Postby AM9873 » Sat Apr 12, 2008 8:33 am

A friend of mine completing his M.D. had recently considered completing a 1 year health science directed MBA from Richard Ivey (Canada). He has an. M.Sc already completed.

He had asked whether having the MBA was an advantage in the Biotech industry. My understanding was that the MBA may provide credentials amongst his peers if he were to pursue any senior management position in a hospital. It could possibly be an advantage as a board director for a Biotech company, but the research experience would be more important.

I had told him that senior management positions (including CEO) are normally filled with individuals with numerous years of experience in either the company or industry. This includes experience with respect to regulatory issues, management of personnel, management of budgets, etc.

What are your thoughts: Would having an MBA after an MD make a physician more competitive for senior management positions (i.e CEO) for small/medium sized Biotech companies?
AM9873
 
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:31 pm

Your thoughts: would an MBA after MD be useful in Biotech?

Postby Derek McPhee » Sat Apr 12, 2008 9:23 am

Until he has a track record of successfully managing things at the lower levels no number of degrees are going to get him into the boardroom.
User avatar
Derek McPhee
Advisor
 
Posts: 1576
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:28 pm

Your thoughts: would an MBA after MD be useful in Biotech?

Postby Dave Jensen » Sat Apr 12, 2008 11:23 am

Sounds to me like someone who doesn\'t have any idea how the biotech industry works . . . This is the kind of candidate who you interview and they say their goal is to be in \"executive management\" of a company, but they haven\'t yet had a job. This is an industry where you start at the bottom. And if you pile too many degrees on in the beginning, it\'s going to make it difficult to get that entry level job, and then where would you be? It\'s best to go into the industry, start like everyone else did at the bottom, rise up the ranks (it happens quickly in biotech) and then add an MBA when you have some experience. The MBA is worth more, you get into better schools, and you are then at an age and experience bracket where the MBA would indeed help you move up the ranks.

Dave
"One of the most powerful networking practices is to provide immediate value to a new connection. This means the moment you identify a way to help someone, take action." - Lewis Howes
Dave Jensen
Site Moderator
 
Posts: 7854
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:28 pm

Your thoughts: would an MBA after MD be useful in Biotech?

Postby Nathan » Sat Apr 12, 2008 5:07 pm

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to add to Dave\'s point which is quite reasonable. Many people who I know struggle to find a job in biotech and feel their only solution is to add more degrees, especially practical degrees such as a MBA. Also, they can\'t find a job in biotech because they are located in a non-biotech hub and can\'t network effectively. Thus, they either add more degrees or just blast away on their computer applying to as many ads as possible then get discouraged. At least with a MBA or MD degree, you can find a job in a non-biotech hub. With the proliferation job seekers in biotech with advanced degrees, it diminishes the importance of experience. In my experience with biotech, practical advanced degree(s) are valued more then a distant second is specific related industry experience. Often this experience can\'t be gained unless you are in the industry.

Dave, you are a post-doc at Washington University in St Louis and want to start a family. Don\'t have any industry contacts. You have been looking for an industry job for a year and nothing pans out. Which is more important the MBA or post-doc experience for getting a job that will support a family? There are some who have been a post-doc longer than it takes to get a MBA or JD when they could have just gone back to school and got that job in their local job market. It might be harder to find a biotech job than to get a MBA and find a MBA professional position that would support a family. MBA programs do a far better job at helping their graduates find a job than a post-doc or graduate program.....probably because you are paying for your training.

Lack of networking options do to being located in a non-biotech hub and an estoric skill set are the key reasons people can\'t find jobs in biotech. A MBA, clinical degree (MD, PharmD, or Nursing), or JD solves many of these problems for academic candidates in non-biotech hubs. Plus, it stills leaves biotech options open.
Nathan
 
Posts: 946
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:30 pm

Your thoughts: would an MBA after MD be useful in Biotech?

Postby Dave Jensen » Sat Apr 12, 2008 6:07 pm

Nathan, are you saying that MBAs are more valued in Biotech than is specific industry experience? I would argue that point rather vigorously. Companies WANT to hire experience -- it moves them faster to their goal, and with a plethora of job seekers, they\'ve learned to wait until they have that applicant with the experience, as opposed to training him or her. (That needs to change -- different subject for a different thread).

If I were a postdoc in a non-biotech region, I would consider moving to a biotech region. Hard times call for tough decisions. Long distance job applying is hard and getting harder, as evidenced by threads on this forum.

Too many regions THINK they are biotech hubs, and if I had a goal of a job in a biotech company and was choosing a postdoc I would not get suckered into that trap (by taking a postdoc in some academic lab in a non-biotech region - that is, unless it is a very famous lab with a PI who is very well known to industry).

I was just back in my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, for a family gathering. I read something there about the wonderful local biotech future they will have in that region. I don\'t know if that\'s really feasible. . . I wish them well, but it appears to me that the US biotech-centric zones are already out there, and that new ones will have a very hard time gathering enough steam.

Dave
"One of the most powerful networking practices is to provide immediate value to a new connection. This means the moment you identify a way to help someone, take action." - Lewis Howes
Dave Jensen
Site Moderator
 
Posts: 7854
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:28 pm

Your thoughts: would an MBA after MD be useful in Biotech?

Postby Matt W. » Sat Apr 12, 2008 7:10 pm

I am curious, what if anything would an MD with out residency, board certification but with an MBA bring to any biotech company? Beyond that of anyone else with an MBA with no exp.

You don\'t have professional clinical experience, you can\'t practice medicine, you know a minimal amount of text book medicine. Basically you just have the words MD after your name. Flip side is if you do go through the normal training, at some point do something in your medical career that is applicable to the industry, then get hired at a biotech company that is involved in that, then get an MBA it might be possible after a number of years to get where your talking about of course at this point I wouldn\'t even posture the persons age.

Again, I am just curious in what role MD\'s have in biotech?

Matt W.
Matt W.
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:30 pm

MBA more important than non-industry research experience

Postby Nathan » Sat Apr 12, 2008 9:26 pm

Dave,

INDUSTRY experience is important if you can get your foot in the door. AM\'s friend didn\'t have this experience. The juice may not be worth the squeeze depending on where you live. You can\'t get that needed experience with only an academic background without significant networking challenges that a newly minted MBA graduate wouldn\'t face regardless of where he lives.

Thus, I am saying that a MBA is more valuable to a job applicant than academic research experience unless you have significant INDUSTRY experience. The same would apply for more practical degrees (eg clinical degrees, JD, or MBA). This is especially true if you are in a non-biotech metro area because most local employers don\'t have the knowledge or experience to appreciate your training plus you are overspecialized for the local job market. It depends on who you are selling your background to and transferable skills don\'t work when a hiring manager doesn\'t have any experience with your background. For example, a high technology consultant at McKinsey Dallas with a MBA looking to fill an associate pharma consultant will most likely not hire a PhD or MS holder w/o a MBA. Most job candidates in training find jobs in the local job market not through a remote employer in response to an ad.

Some candidates establish roots in the non-biotech community and don\'t want to leave for an underpaid academic job in an unknown town just to increase their chances of getting a biotech job.
Try getting a non-academic job in Dallas, Texas with academic research experience....it is like selling beachfront property in West Texas. Local employers here understand a MBA but not a PhD or Masters in the life sciences. They will and have said to me \"get a MBA or JD.\" If it was a horse race between a PhD grad at UT Southwestern Medical Center and a Southern Methodist University MBA grad, the SMU MBA grad would find a 100K job in Texas to suppport a family far quicker than the PhD holder. I would even argue that this would be true in a biotech hub like the RTP area because I have seen post-docs quickly get jobs after getting a MBA from Duke after years of post-doc experience. The research experience was not important in getting a decent job to support a family but the MBA or JD was key. In these cases, the degree and the type of degree was more important than the experience.

Agreed, \"wannabe\" biotech areas are training citizens at local universities for jobs that don\'t exist based on Chamber of Commerce hype. It is like a slick used car salesman saying the check is in the mail. Yeah right!

AM, unless your friend has a specific job in mind which requires a MBA, I would use the MD degree to make a living. Maybe if your friend is bored and rich, I might bag the medical profession for a MBA in hopes of getting a biotech job. If interested, tell your friend to apply for a local MSL position and then get into an executive weekend MBA program at the local university.
Nathan
 
Posts: 946
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:30 pm

MBA more important than non-industry research experience

Postby Eric » Sat Apr 12, 2008 10:23 pm

AM,

As other posters have explained, piling on more degrees is not helpful and may impede entry at the bottom...and entry at the bottom is what will apply. No one is going to let you come into management unless you have real experience and success managing, and you only get that experience by working your way up. I do think an MBA is worth doing if you are in a combined type of program (e.g. a PhD/MBA) program because these programs usually involve an intense 1 year MBA fast-track tailored towards science industry. As far as I know, there are no combined MD/MBA programs.

Dave,

You said:

\"If I were a postdoc in a non-biotech region, I would consider moving to a biotech region. Hard times call for tough decisions. Long distance job applying is hard and getting harder, as evidenced by threads on this forum.\"

As someone who has managed to survive (and maybe thrive) in a distinctly non-hub region, I agree wholeheartedly that the job market is much smaller in the non-hubs, and a whole lot of cities out there are biotech wannabe\'s who will never be able to create a real hub. Having said that, I do not agree with Dave that people who wants to enter industry should just pack up and march off to SF or Boston. There are a lot of advantages to working in non-hubs in addition to the obvious and much-discussed shortcomings. Let me list a few:

1) While non-hub scientists complain about a shortage of companies, non-hub companies legitimately complain about a lack of applicants...let alone qualified applicants. That amounts to a local market advantage for the non-hub job seeker.

2) While salaries are going to be lower in non-hubs, the ratio of non-hub salary to non-hub cost-of-living is usually much better than in pricy urban coastal hubs. 70K/year will get you much farther in Cleveland than 100K/year in San Francisco.

3) Most like me who choose to remain in non-hubs do so because of strong personal and/or family ties to a region of the country. No amount of salary or name recognition in San Francisco will ever be able to compensate me for being able to drive to my parents\' for a Sunday evening dinner.

4) The idea that you cannot make it in a non-hub is obviously not true. I am \"making it\" just fine and have been doing so for years. Furthermore, there are thousands of companies in non-hubs, and they would not survive without employees.

5) In a non-hub, it is much easier to become known on a first-name basis by people in local companies. If you are good, then it is surprisingly easy to know what\'s up with every company. You know who is in good shape financially, who is planning to expand or move, who to talk to when looking for another position. For example, my first company shut down all R&D about 6 weeks ago, effectively ending my position. I had several phone interviews within one week, two site visit interviews the next week, an offer and a round of negotiations that took an additional week and a half. Now I am with another local company that is a good fit for me at a very good salary. If I did not have a strong local network, that swift transition would not be possible. Non-hub cities are like small towns. Everybody knows everybody. As long as you use that to your advantage, you can survive and thrive in the non-hub world.

6) Though not every city can be an industry hub, industry has been and will continue to expand into non-hub regions of the country. This trend ensures that there will be more opportunities for non-hub people in the future.

7) Finally, when does \"following the herd\" work in life? There are a lot of smart, hard-working postdocs out there chasing a tenure-track position just because everyone else does, and most of them fail because there simply aren\'t enough tenure-track slots to go around. Less would fail if they were more open to considering different career avenues. By the same logic, if more scientists who want industry careers would open themselves to opportunities in non-hub regions, then more people would have the chance to find what works for them.

The one point Dave made is very true regarding long-distance job hunting. When you are trying to land jobs far away, you don\'t have the networks you need, and you are competing with local applicants who do have those networks. Furthermore, it is expensive to fly somebody in for interviews and set them up in a hotel room. With a local applicant, the company can just have you drop in at moment\'s notice. Still, I think moving to a so-called hub with no job in hand is pretty risky. How do you know you will even like living there? And even when you get there, you still have to build a network. And what about money to survive on until you land your hub job? I would still suggest networking as best you can long-distance to get interviews, even if that path takes more time.


Eric
 
Posts: 978
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:30 pm

Your thoughts: would an MBA after MD be useful in Biotech?

Postby Dave Jensen » Sat Apr 12, 2008 11:54 pm

Eric, good points. There are plenty of employers in non-hub areas -- you just have to look a bit harder, or be more flexible. Some of my biggest lifetime clients have been in St. Louis, and Madison Wisconsin. There are lots of good reasons to be in the midwest, for example (and quality of life is indeed one of them).

But you will note that my comments read \"If I were a postdoc in a non-hub area, blah blah\". That\'s different than saying everyone, like you Eric, should pack up and leave to move to CA or Boston. That\'s what I WOULD DO. Some people are risk takers. I\'m one of those. Some people do not want to take a risk and staying in the non-hub area is more comfortable. But for many it becomes its own risk scenario, which is why those regions can\'t support all the life sciences graduates coming out of their schools.

Nathan, there are many in industry, a lot of them hiring managers, who would say that the piling on of degrees on top of each other with no work experience is NOT a recipe for a successful job search.

Dave
"One of the most powerful networking practices is to provide immediate value to a new connection. This means the moment you identify a way to help someone, take action." - Lewis Howes
Dave Jensen
Site Moderator
 
Posts: 7854
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:28 pm

Your thoughts: would an MBA after MD be useful in Biotech?

Postby Eric » Mon Apr 14, 2008 3:45 pm

\"Some people are risk takers. I\'m one of those. Some people do not want to take a risk and staying in the non-hub area is more comfortable. But for many it becomes its own risk scenario, which is why those regions can\'t support all the life sciences graduates coming out of their schools.\"

Your points are well-taken Dave, and I di not intend to upset you. From my position, I see first-hand the risks and liabilities of working in non-hubs, but I was just trying to let readers know that there are risks with hubs too that aren\'t related to the jobs per se. In the hubs, your earning and job security factors are eroded by exorbitant costs of living factors, highly-urbanized living environments, etc. I have read so many posts just telling people to move to the hubs if they want an industry job with no discussion of the pros and cons of that strategy. I am just trying to offer an alternative viewpoint. That is all.
Eric
 
Posts: 978
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:30 pm

Next

Return to Science Careers Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 13 guests