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What are my options with a Ph.D and MBA ?

 
#1 What are my options with a Ph.D and MBA ?
17/11/2004 18:32

Danni

dear all,

i have a Ph.D in life science and three years work experience as a scientist. I would like to give my carreer a new direction and move from research into market research/ business development/consulting for pharmaceutical companies or universities. Is the best way for me to do this by getting an MBA? Will it count against me that I have no business experience? Also, what do people think about the MBA courses offered at Imperial College, Southhampton and Kingston (all in the UK)? Thank you very much!

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#2 Re: What are my options with a Ph.D and MBA ?
17/11/2004 22:04

Ioan Cleaton-Jones

Danni,

Perhaps I can give you some pointers there. I was a medical doctor, then did the MBA (at Southampton, since you're asking) and worked with many Life Science PhD MBA grads. Does the MBA help to move from Science to business? Without doubt in my experience. BUT, an MBA is like a box of tools - only as good as the user of the tools! You can go far with it, or go nowhere with it, depending on your approach. So, to answer your questions:

1. Imperial College and Southampton I found to be well thought of in Life Sciences, and my Southampton MBA has served me well, giving a good return on my investment. I'm not familiar with the Kingston one, so won't comment. Research your MBA well - branding counts - Southampton is good, but LBS is better. An old undergrad classmate went there and he is really hot property now. The LBS fees are killers though, which is why I didn't go there.

VERY IMPORTANT: Know why you are doing your MBA BEFORE you do it. Have at least a simple career plan for what you want to do with your combined skills on graduating. Some options are below. Finally - start looking for a job four to six months before finishing, using your university's resources - many firms have recruiting seasons and I missed some by starting too late.

What can you do with a PhD MBA?:

Management in a life sciences company - they won't make you CEO on day one, but you can probably get to manage a project or strategic business unit to kick off your management careeer away from the bench.

Management consulting: industry specialist in health or life sciences or strategy consulting, even IT. For the latter two, drop your price - go in cheap to learn if you want a change of direction. Many big software names will train people with a scientific/business training - Oracle, Microsoft, JDE, SAP etc. The big name consultancies may take you if you are prepared to start junior and cheap and learn - you can progress fast if you deliver, and you won't stay cheap for too long.

Venture capital/ investment analyst - some financial businesses investing in science find this skills duet useful - hard to get your foot in the door though.

DON'T do an MBA thinking it will give you a new direction - it won't. DO do one knowing the direction you will give it - then you'll make a strong career with it.

You will find within three years of graduating it will be what you did WITH your MBA afterwards, on your CV, that counts, not your MBA itself anymore - experience is highly prized in industry.

Finally, if you manage your career right, you will make money, work with some great people and travel the world. In five years, I have lived in London, Johannesburg and now am starting off in Toronto. My work has taken me to fascinating and sometimes wild places in Europe, the Mid East, Africa and North America.

It's worth doing, but it's up to you to be creative with the tools you acquire.

Good luck and, above all, have fun.

Ioan

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#3 Re: What are my options with a Ph.D and MBA ?
18/11/2004 15:14

Danni

Dear Ioan,

Thank you very much for your informative and encouraging post. As far as business school and reputation goes, LBS is the best in the UK but its too expensive for me! I think I will stick to Imperial or Southampton. Did you have to sit the GMAT for gaining admission to Southampton? I know Imperial requires the GMAT. I really want to thank you again for your post, it has given my a very realistic view about what my options will be after an MBA! Thank you and good luck with your carreer!

Danni

It really

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#4 Re: What are my options with a Ph.D and MBA ?
20/11/2004 04:09

Ioan

Danni, Southampton's policy at the time (1998) was to use the GMAT if they were unsure of a student's undergrad record - possibly not familiar with a particular Uni or course or for mature students who may have had a lot of experience, but did not have a conventional undergrad training. To answer you directly, no I did not have to write the GMAT because they were sufficiently happy with my undergrad studies. Their policies may have changed since then, so check. When I wanted to go and study there, I rang up the school of management, found out the name of the director of the MBA course (Prof Charlie Wilkinson, I think he is still there), made an appointment and went to meet him to discuss requirements to get in, then applied. Good Luck. Ioan.

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#5 Re: What are my options with a Ph.D and MBA ?
21/11/2004 03:59

Danni@yahoo.com

Dear Ioan,

Thank you so much for your advice! You have really helped me get some focus and know what my options are after an MBA. Do you work in consulting or for a pharmaceutical company? Do you miss seeing patients? I am 110@ sure that I will not miss doing lab work and am really looking forward to enrolling in an MBA program!

Best wishes and good luck for your future!

Danni

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#6 To Ioan
29/11/2004 13:59

ukmedic

Ioan, I am a medic looking into MBAs currently.

Can I just ask your opinion as to the best time after qualifying to start an MBA, ie is it better to have completed a rotation, or GP training, as opposed to leaving early?

I also have some pharmaceutical research experience for a major pharma company. Was just wondering if you came across any pharmaceutical physicians during your MBA? If so, were they full time or part time, and were there any obvious benefits of either that you saw for that particular group?

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#7 Re: To ukmedic
29/11/2004 19:53

sue

I am in a similar position like you but I have qualified in Germany. I am thinking about doing an MBA in the UK.

Which universities are you looking at?

Have you already taken the GMAT?

I am going to take the GMAT in Feb. 2005 and am looking at MBA programs in London and the South of England.

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#8 Re: To ukmedic
30/11/2004 15:58

Sue

I wouldn't be starting for another two or three years as I want to get a higher medical qualification and some more pharma experience before beginning. Haven't done the GMAT yet.

Would be looking at INSEAD, LBS, IMD, IESE. Maybe one or two other UK schools, depending on feedback I get as to their prestige etc.

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