Some Alternate Career Suggestions

Posted in Career Advice, Uncategorized

Since 2001, 300,000 pharma employees have lost their jobs, primarily in R&D and sales. That’s according to Clifford Mintz, the founder of BioInsights, which develops and offers bioscience education and training. While the losses have been steep, they’re balanced by emerging, in-demand careers in the industry.

The industry’s struggles are well-known: Many companies are facing loss of exclusivity on their biggest sellers but have little in the pipeline to pick up the slack. Productivity is dropping as the cost of bringing a new drug to market soars. Government and payors want more effective drugs for less money. The list goes on.

Developers are looking to new markets and new technologies to address these issues. But how do these trends play out for the pharma job seeker? Many people, particularly Ph.D.s, may have to consider getting additional training if they want to land their dream job. “Companies used to be willing to just hire smart people. But with the economic downturn and global competition, companies can no longer afford to invest in people who have promise. They need to see proven skills,” Mintz explained. With the right blend of skills and experience, however, there still some pharma jobs that are in demand.

Clinical Research and Regulatory Affairs

“Clinical research is the lifeblood of the industry,” Mintz said. As developers expand in emerging markets, there’s a particular demand for people to manage and organize overseas clinical trials. “There’s a huge need for clinical research professionals worldwide,” he said, noting that most Phase I and II trials are conducted outside of theU.S.

Another one of the industry’s perennial needs is regulatory affairs professionals. “Regulatory affairs experience is a skill that all companies large and small would die to get their hands on,” explained Mintz. The increasingly complex and uncertain world of FDA regulation–particularly when it comes to new technology and science–means that companies are always on the prowl for individuals with solid regulatory knowledge and ability to interact with the FDA. You can read more about the demand for clinical research and regulatory affairs jobs here.


The pharma industry’s interest in biologics remains strong–just look at Sanofi’s buyout of Genzyme, or Roche’s purchase of Genentech. They’re lured by disease-altering biologics that are less likely to face generic competition than traditional drugs. As a result, there’s been increased demand for professionals who can navigate the complex world of biomanufacturing. Those with a background in upstream and downstream processes, large-scale protein purification, fermentation technology and bioengineering can make the transition to biomanufacturing.

Healthcare Information Technology

The rise of bioinformatics and genomics coupled with the push for electronic medical records has created jobs in healthcare information technology. Health informatics–the intersection of healthcare and IT–is ideal for people with expertise in genomics, bioinformatics or software that understand how to work with and manipulate large data sets and databases. The Obama administration has made EHRs a priority, and there’s a need for software engineers and biologists who are comfortable working with medical information.

Medical Devices

“The medical devices industry has been experiencing explosive growth for the past decade,” Mintz said. Regulatory hurdles in the medical device industry are much lower than they are for biologics or small molecules, making the industry a more stable alternative to biotech and pharma. The demand for devices, which address problems that can’t be treated with medicine, will continue to grow as the population ages. Job seekers with strong backgrounds in bioinformatics, genomics, engineering and translational medicine are best suited to this field.

Medical Communications

Medical communications–which includes medical writing, editing, graphic design and science journalism–continues to boom. The demand for these jobs has risen because companies need a slew of communication materials to send to patients, physicians, researchers, investigators and the general public about their products and business.

Patent Law and Technology Transfer

Recent changes toU.S.patent laws have increased the demand for patent agents and patent attorneys in the life sciences field. Pharma’s growing reliance on basic research from learning institutions means that there’s a need for technology transfer experts. These experts manage the patent estate and intellectual property of universities and colleges that may engage in licensing deals with the industry. A law degree is a must to compete in this field.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!

Combining Business and Biology to Increase Career Options

Posted in Career Advice

If you received your bachelors degree in biology or a related field, there is a good chance that you are having difficulty finding a job. The lack of an advanced degree in the life sciences can  hurt your chances of securing a job mainly because most life sciences jobs demand more education and experience Choosing to pursue a business degree can be a step in the right direction to advance your career.

Receiving an advanced degree from traditional or online MBA programs can vastly improve the likelihood of  securing the career (or salary ) that you always wanted. UOP and other campus-based universities have great mba programs designed to give you the education needed to be successful. More importantly  most of these programs allow you to take classes on your own time. No need to fight campus traffic or beg your current employer to work around your class schedule. With online classes, you can complete your coursework where and when you want.

Many persons a background in biology and an MBA are able to secure positions as business analysts, managers, and market analysts for biotechnology companies. Increasingly, they also becoming integral parts of new product development teams that are looking for new medicines and treatments.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, biotechnology will only increase in need and thousands of jobs will continue to be added each year. To that end, some of the world’s largest life sciences companies including Bristol-Myers Squibb and the Bayer Corporation are already seeking MBA students with biological backgrounds.

So if you are looking for a boost in your career, consider getting a MBA or related business degree. While a MBA may not seem like the first choice of a most undergraduate biology student,s it can actually provide the skills and tools needed to succeed in some of the most competitive biological markets today.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!


Bioscientists and the MBA Degree

Posted in BioBusiness

I am frequently asked by graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who are having trouble finding a research and development job, whether or not it makes sense to go to business school to get an Masters of Business Administration) MBA degree to enhance their business acumen. While I don’t think it would hurt (especially if you are interested in business), I also don’t think most scientists benefit from enrolling traditional MBA degree programs. With this in mind, some forward-looking academic institutions have launched joint PhD-MBA programs which allow students enrolled in these programs to graduate with PhD and MBA degrees at the end of their graduate training.

The joint programs typically take less time than it would to earn each of the degrees individually and mainly cater to scientists who have decided to eschew academic science careers in favor of life sciences management jobs. While these programs are relatively new and continue to evolve, growing numbers of would-be scientists who are also interested in business are taking advantage of them.

One of these students, Kristy Houck graduated with a PhD in pharmacology and a MBA from the Pennsylvania State College of Medicine joint program almost two years ago. “I loved science, but knew that I didn’t want to perform bench work for the rest of my life. This opened a world of career opportunities for me” said Houck. “Previous graduates of the program have quickly risen to management level positions because they are recognized as business-savvy scientists” she added.

Other academic institutions are closely watching these programs to determine whether or not graduates of the joint PhD-MBA programs have better employment outcomes as compared with person who go through traditional PhD and MBA graduate programs. I listed the institutions that currently offer the joint program in the table below. Check it out!

Academic institutions that offer joint PhD/MBA program in the life sciences


Name of Institution                                                   Website


Pennsylvania State University (Dept. of Pharmacology)

San Diego State University

University of Connecticut

University of Florida

Vanderbilt University

Wake Forest University

Until next time….

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!


Looking to Improve Your Business Acumen?–A New Mini-MBA for Biotech

Posted in BioJobBuzz

I am frequently asked by life sciences PhDs whether an MBA would improve their chances of finding a job in industry. And, my response is always “maybe— because it depends. I don’t think that getting a traditional MBA really gives you that much of an edge especially if you are an established PhD looking for career advancement or change.  However, if you are a graduate student or postdoc who has already decided that academia is not for you, then getting a certificate or M.S. through an established graduate program in biotechnology (Georgetown University’s M.S. in biotechnology or The New York Center for Biotechnology’s  Fundamentals of Bioscience Program) may increase the likelihood of winning a job in industry. This is because hiring managers recognize that in addition to a job candidate’s technical competency, they possess an understanding of the business aspects of the industry—something that is vital for scientists to be successful in the biotech biz.

Recognizing this, Rutgers University recently created a program that they call ‘a mini-MBA for the biopharmaceutical industry’. In contrast with traditional MBA or M.S. programs, the mini-MBA is a 12 week long, degree-granting program that was designed to familiarize students with the nuances and intricacies of the business aspects of the biopharmaceutical program. The good news is that they are actively recruiting students to fill the slots available in their inaugural class. The bad news is that it costs $4,995 to enroll. That said, it may be worth the time to check it out because—in the end—the investment may be worth it!

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!