I have been lurking here for a while and am finally posting.
I am currently a second-year consultant at a boutique life-science consulting firm and would like to know:
1. Is it possible to transfer to a larger, perhaps more well-known firm?
2. If yes, should I? What kind of exit opps would there be if I could transfer? My current vague goal is corp strat / biz dev at a mid-size biotech firm.
I am a Ph.D. in mol bio. A long story short, I ended up in biotech equity research at a boutique shop in NYC after graduation. I worked there for a year assisting an Analyst cover mostly small cap, pre-revenue biotech names. I liked my daily tasks, which was research, science, analyses, and building logical arguments etc, but I did not see myself moving up in the ER/ hedge fund career path or going to investor relations at a biotech or pharma company down the road. In addition, I was not really learning about business beyond what I could by studying for Series exams, doing comp analyses, and creating DCF models meaning tweaking pre-made models.
I then went to get an MBA to actually learn about finance, marketing and other business areas that I had never got a formal education on. I interned at a well-known pharma company as an MBA student and decided that working in the industry was not for me either UNLESS I could work in biz dev at a not-too-small but still biotech-y and innovative firm with a plenty of licensing deals and occasional acquisitions (think Celgene / BMS / Gilead, etc. instead of Pfizer) where I could combine my biomedical background with a diverse set of business skills that I intended to eventually get. Having come from ER where I looked at the entire company as well as external forces that impacted biotech firms, the notion of being confined to a specific area such as "immunology marketing" or "pricing strategy" did not exactly resonate with me. I wanted more corp strategy type of work, but MBB was not in the path with my MBA school.
That leads me to the current consultant job at the boutique life-science consulting firm with about 200 people. In this capacity, I am handling a wide variety of projects ranging from portfolio strategy, scoping for potential licensing deals, to more marketing related projects such as pricing and market access. I like consulting because:
- I just love thinking about how to actually solve problems, thinking of all potential scenarios that could unfold, evaluating strengths and weaknesses of available options, and in the end, justifying our recommendations with data and logic.
- I am also happy about the fact that finance is sometimes a tool for that goal, but making money off of pairs trade is never the end goal.
- I get to learn about development landscape across therapeutics areas, unlike in ER where you focus on one therapeutic area or technology verticle and continuously cover a set of companies within that particular area or verticle.
With that said, what should I do next if my ultimate goal is corp strat/biz dev etc at a biotech company? Should I stay longer or transfer to a larger firm? If transferring is a viable option for people like me, can you comment on whether I would be able to work only on life science projects even at a larger firm that deals with multiple industries? At this point, the healthcare sector (providers, payers, life sciences, med device, med tech, healthcare IT) is as far as I am willing to stretch in terms of industry focus.