Have you ever looked at a profession and thought, “Wow that is such a cool job, I wish I could do that!” For me, that was being a scientist; the thought that I could be researching something that no one had before was exhilarating. I wasn’t chasing fame or fortune, but rather my own curiosity. This curiosity drove me to work for 5 years at a start-up pharmaceutical company developing a preventative cure for cavities. And I can guarantee you very few companies were looking into that space…
So fast forward to today; if I love science so much, why am I at business school? It’s for three reasons:
- Business is the foundation of the pharmaceutical industry. The medicines and therapies we have today would not exist without business. Innovation continues because of competition between pharmaceutical companies.
- The thing I loved about science was the problem solving. Business is much the same way. Just like a scientist must run experiments to determine the optimal concentration of a drug, a general manager must run models and test cases to determine an optimal price point to maximize returns.
- After five years working as a scientist, I hit a brick wall in my career. To progress further, I had to pursue a PhD; something I was hesitant to do given the intense time commitment. This was around the same time one of my colleagues had just left to attend business school. After speaking with him, and managers at my firm, I came to the realization of my first two points. Science and business are not mutually exclusive worlds, but rather two sides of the same coin.
In fact, there needs to be more people in pharma who have experience in both science and business. Most problems in health care cannot be viewed solely from a scientific or a business lens, and the more people who can see both perspectives, the better decisions that can be made.
This is not to say the process was easy. I had never taken a business-related course prior coming to Fuqua, so making that mental shift from test tubes to T-tables took some adjustment. But, at the same time, it was exciting because these were all new subjects. I think the coolest part about having a non-traditional background at Fuqua were the opportunities to share my perspective on topics that many of my classmates had never been exposed to.
With first year winding down, I can definitively say coming to Fuqua was the right choice. The world needs more scientific minds in business, and I am excited to join the club, and more importantly, to help others achieve the same while at Fuqua.