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Life sciences boutiques London

 
#1 Life sciences boutiques London
22/08/2005 16:55

san776

I am a PhD in Biotechnology, I was wondering which Life Sciences consulting boutiques have offices in London. I know LEK and CapGemini have both strong health care practices and Putnam Associates do almost exclusively Biotech, any other suggestions?

Also do you think working for a boutique is that different from working for a "generalist" (strategy or full-service) as long as everyday working life is concerned?

Thanks a lot

B

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#2 Re: Life sciences boutiques London
25/08/2005 17:27

DL

McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group, ZS Associates, IMS consulting all have health care/life sciences practices or - in the case of the last two - are pharma/life sciences specialists.

Having worked in both a full-service and a boutique environment, I can assure you it's considerably different. However, the differences are more driven by the firm's culture and size than the type of work per se. I personally prefer the somewhat looser/less formal and longer-term approach of boutique firms, but others may enjoy the greater structure and direction/support offered by larger companies. Also - ask yourself why you want to get into consulting: is it a step towards a career in industry, is it to perform a transition from an R&D role to a "general management" role, is it a career in itself? This may help orienting your choices towards one type of firm or another.

Good luck!

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#3 Re: Life sciences boutiques London
25/08/2005 20:22

san776

DL thanks a lot. I would like to use consulting as a step to get into Management positions in the industry (Pharma or else). I have enough experience in R&D I just want to expand my knowledge of the business side. Could you give me some more information about the diffrences 'tween boutique and full-service? Is it the pressure? Is it the hours? Are the projects any different?

Thanks a lot

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#4 Re: Life sciences boutiques London
26/08/2005 13:15

DL

Pressure and hours I would say are not very different. Possibly more even in a large, full-service environment (longer projects) and spikier in a smaller/strategy firm, but on average it is what it is. The "feeling" or culture of companies will be very different - even from one full-service firm to another - and I think that's probably your best guideline as to whether you are going to enjoy the experience.

Full-service firms are definitely more structured and methodology-rich (or methodology obsessed, depending on your PoV), although some strategy houses are also framework and methodology rich (but there is a qualitative difference - one is a framework for delivering a given solution, the other is a way to devise a solution in the first place).

Type of project depends on what the firm collectively actually knows, but if you want connections to R&D to leverage your experience (not necessarily to work in R&D, but to add more value to the client and your pay packet!), much work in full-service firms tends to be IT/systems-oriented.

For "outplacement" options a few years down the line, the first rank strategy firms are difficult to beat, but then they are correspondingly difficult to enter in the first place.

A specialised firm may allow you to use your existing knowledge (I assume you are not going to join as a partner and start up a new practice area!) and to pick up an understanding of how other functions or industries work, and these are generally well-connected firms that can help you finding an industry position, albeit usually at lower levels than strategy firms.

Beware of going too small or too obscure if you want to switch rather than stay and grow the firm. It may well turn out to be a cul-de-sac with little option but to backtrack.

HTH

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#5 Re: Life sciences boutiques London
26/08/2005 14:04

San776

DL thanks for your help! That was brilliant! I am certainly not starting as a Partner :) .....more likely a junior associate since I don't have business exp but just R&D. My idea was to try the usual suspects (McK, BCG, Bain) plus firms like LEK, PA, Putnam, IMS that are known to be strong in Health care/Pharma. I know is going to be tough so I didn't want to add the burden of doubts about doing the right thing.

Thanks again you helped me a lot

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#6 Re: Life sciences boutiques London
26/08/2005 15:01

DL

Two additions to your list: Monitor, ZS Associates.

Good luck!

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#7 Re: Life sciences boutiques London
26/08/2005 16:51

san776

Thanks DL , I didn't know ZS Associates, do you know something more about them? Well, I guess I could start a thread on them....

Thank you for being so helpful

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