AMA: Healthcare/Biotech/Pharma Consultant with Biomedical Background

Dear Friends,

I've seen quite a few posts about the healthcare/biopharma industry and what people think about it or if it's worth exploring as a sector to cover. I figured I would do a quick AMA for anyone interested in exploring the sector further.

Quick bio:

  • Biomedical degree from a European medical target
  • MiM at a UK target
  • Worked in pharmaceutical boutique MCs
  • Currently at a Tier 2 in the pharma team

Although I'm in MC, a few general points on the industry or nature of the job could apply to those in IB, PE or other fields so ask ahead.

Comments (8)

Jul 30, 2018

What is your typical pharma client profile, Early/late stage? Generic/complex-generic/brand?

Jul 30, 2018

Generally late stage and branded. To be more specific, at one of my past boutiques we did CDD for the MM companies and MM PE firms so in that case it was a healthy mix of branded and mix generics (simple and complex). Currently at the T2 we mainly work with Big Pharma for late stage products.

Jul 30, 2018

On the big pharma side, what is your value add (not meant to be condescending)? Are you helping with product rollout/communicating with McKess, AMB, Cardinal for distribution/hiring pharma girls?

Jul 30, 2018

No worries, I never take those questions as condescending - we get asked this a lot. It's a mix - it can be product rollout and marketing/communications or it can be CDD for market research, portfolio fit in M&As and assessing viable targets for acquisitions (both whole companies and assets). We also do valuation work and war games when competitors enter the market or patent cliffs approach

Jul 30, 2018

What made you move from a pharma boutique to a Tier 2 firm? Based on your post it seems like you are working in the same field. Would love to hear your thought process on what drove you to make this move and what major differences you see in a boutique vs tier 2 (pay progression, career progression, exit opps, etc.).

Learn More

2,037 questions across 209 consulting firms. 11 Cases developed by a McKinsey Associate, 10+ hours of video. The WSO Consulting Interview Prep Course has everything you’ll ever need to ace your consulting case interviews. Learn more.

Jul 31, 2018

Thanks for the question. So there were multiple reasons and one of them being reputation and money. This wasn't the key reason but still to factor in seeing as I'm an Associate and those things still matter quite a bit for my career. Exit opps are also something I looked into; I saw quite a few people from my firm pivot to MBB and only 1-2 from the boutiques I was at. I don't want to jump ship anytime soon but it's nice knowing that option is out there.

The main reason as to do with the nature of the work I was doing. Boutiques become highly specialised and one did almost all CDD whilst the other did almost all Competitive Intelligence. Both really cool fields with interesting projects but it can become a bit boring if that is all you do. Also, the nature of the clients was more interesting. I worked for small, medium and Big Pharma at all firms but with the boutiques we would be contacted by a high-to-medium manager in Big Pharma rather than someone in the c-suite. This affects the amount of influence you can have on a project and the scope of it. At one of the boutiques, a client asked us to do CI for a new product they wanted to out-license and after doing so we had to fight for them to let us do the licensing target scoping because they thought we wouldn't manage - once the firm's capabilities are known it's harder to show what other individuals can do. We took on the scoping part of the project in a team of 3 and knocked it out the park. Happy ending in the end but some clients may say flat out no and you end up getting less varied work.

Jul 30, 2018

You have any colleagues with a traditional non-science background?

Jul 31, 2018