Experienced Scientist - Entry Level Consulting

arntxee's picture
Rank: Senior Chimp | banana points 17

Hey Guys,

I have been searching various websites, forums for the information but haven't been able to find anything. I am a Scientist with over 10 years of experience in various biotech/pharma companies. I have extensive experience including development of pre-clinical and clinical drugs/diagnostic agents.

Question is what is expected entry-level title if I were to apply for consulting positions. Moreover what would be expected range for salary.

I have one interview scheduled next week for consultant position but I have no idea about what to say if I am asked about expected salary. Thank you very much for help.

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Comments (13)

Oct 1, 2014

I'll try to take a stab at it though I'm sure there are other people on this forum who would be able to better assist you. I had a good friend who used to work at DE Shaw Research in their Chemistry & Biology group. While at DE Shaw, he made 125,000 in his first year as an entry-level research scientist.

After a couple years, he took up a position at a firm called Leerink Swann that involved pharma/biotech consulting and I think he was getting something in the 175,000 to 200,000 range.

Of course, my friend is a bit of an outlier by virtue of starting at DE Shaw Research, but still, I think it's fair to put 125,000 as the absolute minimum/baseline amount of compensation (don't accept anything below this). Since you have over 10 years experience, you could probably command more, 150,000 to 175,000 on the conservative end, and maybe 200,000 to 225,000 on the more aggressive end.

Good luck with the interview.

    • 1
Oct 1, 2014

Thank you very much for detailed reply.

I just wanted to add that I do not have PhD. I have masters degree in molecular biology. I am sure this will change your estimates little. Currently I make close to 100K.

Oct 1, 2014

No, that changes it a lot. If you don't have a PhD, you're not a research scientist. It also puts you in a different candidate pool for recruiting.

Oct 1, 2014

Well my title is Scientist, I work with PhDs side by side doing same work. And I work for one of the large pharma companies. I am sure I will get less than PhDs but some range will be helpful when walking in for interview. Thanks

Oct 1, 2014

In the US, the PhD is essentially the minimum qualification to be a research scientist. Full stop. Whether that's right or fair is irrelevant for the purposes of this discussion, it simply is.

You don't do "the same work" as the PhDs you work alongside, any more than a nurse does "the same work" that a doctor does. It may look superficially the same some of the time, but you do not have the same level of education.

This is not a value judgement: someone who has a PhD is not necessarily smarter than you, and they're not necessarily more qualified than you. But they have a PhD and you do not. This is an important difference, ESPECIALLY when you move away from doing actual lab work to the realm of consulting. A PhD has significant signaling value, and you do not have one.

If you are looking at MBB firms, and are looking to be hired as a generalist, you're competing for an undergrad slot. You will probably get a year of tenure credit due to your age and experience, but frankly your experience isn't that relevant for management consulting. Salary range would be 80-100k plus bonuses.

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Oct 1, 2014

I think this isn't as cut and dry as you're saying. I know at least two people with masters degrees AND significant professional experience who got interviewed at the advanced professional degree/MBA level at MBBs. That said, it seems to be case by case and getting an interview in the first place may be difficult. It may depend on where your undergraduate and masters were completed and the value that MBB puts in your specific experience.

Oct 1, 2014
bioscientist:

I think this isn't as cut and dry as you're saying. I know at least two people with masters degrees AND significant professional experience who got interviewed at the advanced professional degree/MBA level at MBBs.

And I know of at least 3 people who dropped out of college and ended up CEOs of multibillion dollar companies. So what?

That said, it seems to be case by case and getting an interview in the first place may be difficult.

I went to entry level training (the advanced degree pre-consulting course) with a woman who had a master's degree and came in at the post-MBA level. She's now at Tuck doing an MBA.

A master's degree that's not an MBA is almost always considered the equivalent of a bachelor's in MBB recruiting. There are exceptions, but there are exceptions to everything.

Oct 1, 2014

Ok thanks

Oct 1, 2014

Thanks for detailed replies. I guess I can take whatever i make now and then try to prove myself once I start working. I don't see reason to take big salary cut as I am not sure how are growth opportunities once I go to consulting.

Oct 1, 2014
arntxee:

Thanks for detailed replies. I guess I can take whatever i make now and then try to prove myself once I start working. I don't see reason to take big salary cut as I am not sure how are growth opportunities once I go to consulting.

Let me ask a different question: why do you want to go into consulting, and why do it after 10 years in industry?

Oct 1, 2014

It's good question. I been working at same company for over 5 years and growth has been slow. Not many promotions around and pay raises have been minimal. So I was thinking about changing a company so that I can get higher position and salary.

I can get job easily in field I am working on but then again, once I start new job, story will be same. Not many growth opportunities and raises in all pharma companies have been minimal.

That's when I started thinking about other careers I can start and consulting came to mind. Money is definitely better than working for pharma companies and it may provide better growth opportunities. I like challenges and I think I can handle pressure and tight timelines. So that's why I decided to try consulting. It may be hard to get in but applied to couple of positions online and got one response.

I have experience in process development, pre-clinical and clinical development, manufacturing, process transfer etc. I think these skills are somewhat relevant to industry so we will see how this turns out.

Thanks for encouraging comments I received from other members. Gives me some confidence.

Oct 1, 2014

As a data point, a guy I started with had 5 years industry experience and a masters and started at the post-MBA level (135-140k) with no difference in career track vs other post MBA entrants. Other data points, two PhDs with 3+yrs industry experience (part of it in manager role) post PhD also started at the exact same level.

Moral of the story - it'll be case by case. You'll have to make the case for why your skills/background fit better in the post-MBA role.