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Entry into pharmaceutical consulting

#1 Entry into pharmaceutical consulting
15/03/2008 19:31


Hi guys and girls,

A little advice if you please....

I'm a 29yr old with a PhD in pharmaceutical sciences, currently working for Pfizer in fairly senior scientific role (6 months now), with 1.5 yrs previous lab based industrial exp. I'm interested in moving into consultancy for the strategy/business side of pharma/biotech. I've got a position with Deloitte lined up (offer accepted, no contract signed yet, being the only grad scheme still accepting at time of application) for the grad TI scheme for a 2008 start, thinking this would give my basic consulting skills over the first few years and I could move after that. However, I'm beginning to get a little worried this might not be the best plan, with movement from the IT aspect may be being difficult etc.

Would spending a few more years in industry be more advisable, with a move directly into a more niche firm be a better option, bearing in mind my current role isn't of a ‘business’ orientation?

Are niche firms more open to my type of background?

Great forum by the way


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#2 RE: Entry into pharmaceutical consulting
24/03/2008 14:53

G to G (#1)

Hi Folks - Any insight/thoughts/comments most welcome.....


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#3 RE: Entry into pharmaceutical consulting
25/03/2008 20:50

Christie to G (#2)

Hi G, why don't you try IMS Health as a consulting firm? If I were you I would avoid IT, and I believe your industry experience is adequate

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#4 RE: Entry into pharmaceutical consulting
31/03/2008 17:55

Serge Lewithin to G (#1)

hi g. i've got twenty years experience at senior level. sure deloite will promise the world, but your best place is pfizer for another three-four years when you'll be speaking to the global guys. take care and good luck


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#5 RE: Entry into pharmaceutical consulting
04/04/2008 16:35

Cheryl to G (#1)

You would be more attractive to a niche firm and likely have the opportunity to advance more quickly. The pharma industry relies heavily on specialist firms, and we in the specialist firms rely heavily on our PhDs...

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#6 RE: Entry into pharmaceutical consulting
21/04/2008 10:27

doc to Christie (#3)

Hi ,

I just wanted to know if you had any more information about boutique firms for pharma/health/bioteh. I'm a doctor of 2 yrs experience at present. i have a B.A, M.D,and an M.B.A and am trying to get into consulting within lifesciences/health. Is it better to apply to specialist firms or go for big four . (My first interview was at Booz-Allen...underprepared for the case interviews)

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#7 RE: Entry into pharmaceutical consulting
25/06/2011 01:22

ronrandy to doc (#6)

Hi G:

I saw your post regarding Pharmaceutical consulting. May I know where you ended up now. I am finishing PhD in pharmaceutical science in 2012 and want to pursue career in management consulting. Please give your feedback on how I should plan and which firms to consider in UK/USA.



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#8 RE: Entry into pharmaceutical consulting
26/07/2011 23:13

frozenswirl to ronrandy (#7)

Hi All,

Thought I'd mention a few more small pharma consulting firms that haven't been explored on this form yet (apart from IMS and SK&P).

1. PriceSpective

2. Double Helix

3. HERON Evidence Development

4. BridgeHead

5. i3

6. RTI health

7. UBC

8. WG Consulting

9. Abaccus

10. Laser Pharma

Pharma consulting is one of the hottest fields to be in with loads of work coming in...progression is fast and since it is a small industry, everyone knows everyone else. Within Pharma consutling, you ideally would want to Pricing and Market Access.

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#9 RE: Entry into pharmaceutical consulting
04/03/2013 01:39

AlphaMatic to frozenswirl (#8)

Hi Everyone -

For those interested in pharmaceutical market access and pricing consulting, the list has changed a bit during the past few years. A number of firms have gone under or been acquired.

Honestly, many of the firms called out in the above posting are actually health economics firms who specialize in cost effectiveness modeling and literature reviews. The true pricing and market access strategy firms include:


IMS (; Acquired by private equity, then consulting unit was spun out)

Pricespective (Acquired by ICON)

CBPartners (

Bridgehead (Acquired by GfK)

Campbell (Acquired by inVentiv)

Among the non-acquired firms above, SKP is great for European experience, while IMS gives you good global experience. CBPartners is great for emerging markets, EU and generally global work. Pricespective is still global, but limits your geographic exposure to your physical location. All great firms - apply broadly and see where you get hits.

Good luck!

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#10 RE: Entry into pharmaceutical consulting
22/07/2013 21:01

m to AlphaMatic (#9)

Hi everyone,

I am 28 years old, I have been working in the last two years in a CRO company.I have been reading about pharmaceutical consulting and I am sure is something that would fun-fill my professional ambitions. However with my experience I don't know if I would be a possible candidate. I study pharmacy and nutrition and dietetics.

Could you advice about what would be the best way in getting my goals?

Many thanks


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#11 RE: Entry into pharmaceutical consulting
16/09/2013 12:07

Meri to m (#10)

Thanks everyone for the useful advice here.

I have a PhD in molecular biology and 4-5 years research experience in academia, and have recently graduated from an MBA.

I'm interested in consulting positions in the life sciences (health, pharma, biotech) but have had very little response from my job applications.

I have applied to both consulting firms (large, and smaller boutiques) and to pharma/biotech companies. Would you advise me to work as a scientist in one of the latter to get some more relevant experience before I can get into consulting/analyst roles? To be honest I was hoping to skip this by taking an MBA.

Any thoughts appreciated.



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#12 RE: Entry into pharmaceutical consulting
16/09/2013 15:33

TheRedMan to Meri (#11)

Hi Meri,

I am from a life science background myself, with some industry experience before entering consulting. I can't tell you which option is better for you as I don't know enough about your situation. However, I would like to share with you the following four thoughts:

Firstly, I would suggest you apply to both, with prioritisation ofcourse. If you can't get an offer to consulting, you have no choice but to work somewhere else (assuming you still want to work).

Secondly, how much value your industry experience adds to your application will depend on what you did in industry and which firm you are applying to.

For example, if you wanted to join SKP, then gaining alot of clinical research experience may not be as helpful as getting a procurement job (since you already have a life science PhD). On the other hand, the LEK LSS position (US only) values technical experience.

Thirdly, having just one or two years of industry exp might not give you enough exposure to help your application. In most cases, people made the move after gaining exp in a relatively senior role in industry (see Sergie's reply to G above).

And finally, considering your broad spectrum of applications, I just wanted to emphasize that it is really important to make sure you know which consulting firm is right for you. Firms like Deloitte, Accenture and PwC do work in healthcare, but they are mostly dealing with IT or accounts related work. SKP is great for pricing related work. Other firms like ATK, LEK, BCG gives a wider spectrum of work. Hence, working for a few years with, say, Deloitte may not give you better chances then a relevant stint in industry when it comes to entering a top tier strategy house. Think carefully before you take up any offer.

Good luck!

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