How to transition from biology to market/equity research (in life sciences)?

JD9's picture
Rank: Chimp | 12

Hey guys,

I'm hoping I can get some information on what kinds of jobs I could use as a launch point to enter the business (I'm specifically thinking market/equity research or M&A) arena from a biology background. I got my B.S (Biology). in 2016 and I have been working at a state university's medical school doing vaccine R&D for ~8 months. Prior to this, I was a lab tech at a small industry company; I was only there for about 4 months.

The reason that I'm thinking I want to switch to market research is that I really am passionate about the end goal of my work (bringing relief to disadvantaged populations), but the scope of my work is too narrow for my liking. From what I understand, in market/equity research, I would have the opportunity to use my science knowledge to contribute to valuations of biotech/pharma companies and their products to help determine if they would be worth investing in/acquiring (please correct me if I'm wrong). I think it would be really cool to work in M&A in the life science industry.

I applied for a position at another large medical school in my state that has a department called "technology ventures" and they seem to do exactly what I'm interested in pursuing. I just put in my app and contacted the hiring manager directly this past Friday so I'm still waiting on that, but assuming that this doesn't pan out I wanted to see if there were suggestions for other places/job titles that I can look for. I looked at Becton Dickinson, GSK, and Sanofi, but didn't really see anything that fit what I'm looking for. There were some "marketing associate" positions, but they seemed more like sales jobs.

Would sales be a good jumping off point? Or is that a totally different direction than what I described above? I don't know much about the business career paths... Also, I started taking undergrad business courses at my CC this semester to get my feet wet. I'm currently taking Accounting I and Macro-econ.

Anyway, if anyone could point me in the right direction I would really, really appreciate it.


Comments (10)

Feb 21, 2018

If doing a post graduate degree in finance or business isn't an option I would personally start in life science consulting. There are lots of boutiques (in the US and Europe) that focus solely on this space and their priority is hiring people with the science background. They then teach you (or you pick up) the business and finance skills. From that you can pivot to banking/finance but it will most likely still be in the medical science/healthcare space (so either boutiques such as Leerink or the Healthcare groups at BBs, EBs e.t.c).

Two examples of people I know who took this path:

  • Guy who worked at a life science consulting boutique with me. His path: MEDICAL SCIENCE PHD -> LIFE SCIENCE CONSULTING BOUTIQUE -> EQUITY RESEARCH AT CS
  • MD at a reputable European boutique I know. His path: PHD + RESEARCH -> CONSULTING -> MD IN THE CORPORATE FINANCE DIVISION OF THIS BOUTIQUE
Feb 21, 2018

Thank you for the suggestions. I'll definitely look into life science consulting. I was considering an MBA, but at this point I don't know if it will be worth it for me with the experience I have now. I have been told conflicting things about pre-MBA work experience so I'm still weighing my options.

Feb 21, 2018

MBA is a good idea but not at this stage. Get 3-4 years experience (as mentioned, ideally in consulting if you can't get straight into the finance), focus on finance based electives in your MBA then pivot to finance. There's honestly no rush. Finance will still love the healthcare/life science sector 5 years from now

Feb 21, 2018

I honestly wasn't expecting to receive this type of response so I'll just say thanks and have a nice day

Feb 23, 2018

One healthcare-specific bank I know has a specific ER internship for candidates completing an advanced life sciences degree...looks like they convert full time as well from what I've seen.

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Mar 10, 2018

Which bank is this if you don't mind me asking?

Feb 23, 2018


Mar 13, 2018

Hey - I'm currently doing my PhD in Psychiatry and working as an ER associate. You'd be surprised how courses like Health Technology Assessment can really bridge the finance/medicine gap. Send me a msg if you want to chat more.

Mar 13, 2018

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee