Random Ramblings about stuff I see going on in biotech, internet and the stuff I read.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

What to do with your Ph.D. - More on Business Development

In my previous post I spelled out a bunch of choices of what to do with a Ph.D. Here I will delve more fully in to my job, i.e. Business Development. So, here is a "job description" and the plus's and minuses.

Randomness (i.e. you have no idea who/what you will be talking to/about tomarrow)
Deeply involved in company direction

Pressure because of deep involvement in company direction...

The job of Business Development is to go out and drive the whole company forward.

That sentence implies a lot. Specifically, you have to have defined "Forward", thus you end up deeply involved with the company strategy and the long term goals. You also have to know all of the short term goals. You need to know, and be involved with, the product direction. "Drive" means many things, but the main thing is to go get technology/academic partners/other company partners/information that help move you "forward".

What that all breaks down to is that you have to know where the company is headed and you have to help get there. You WON'T be part of "sales strategy". i.e. setting prices. You won't be involved in the details of product development. You won't be involved with deciding about advertising. You will be involved with:

"Do we build an instrument, buy that company that makes an instrument, or leave this whole area alone"

"Will they sue us if we do this or should we take a license?"

You will be involved with licensing technology both in to your company and out of your company. This means you will be involved with understanding the strategic reasons for doing those things. Understading that you can buy something, what the cost to buy it is, and how much it would cost (in both time, money to develop, and lost sales for being late) to make your own.

You have to be involved with the strategic understanding of how the peices fit together. If we don't do X, then Y is really off on it's own (where Y is another product). You have to work closely with marketing on this, as they are also doing this. When they need something, they may know what they need or they may need help finding the right thing, but in any case you are part of getting whatever it is in to the company so that a product can come out the other end. My personal goal is to get things off my desk. Either it should die, so we stop worrying about it and instead think of something else -OR- the deal should be done so we get product out the door and money in the door.

You have to, in this job, worry about money. It is NOT about the science. It IS about the money. It is ALL about the money. I do more science now than before, becuase I have to 'know' a bazillion different fields, but my analysis is not about cool (although I do think about cool... and discuss that here...) it is about whether we can make money with that technology or not!

Most of this Blog is about Bus Dev, so I won't ramble on any longer....

Update : I ramble on about how I got in to Bus Dev here.


Suhit Anantula said...


That is a good explanation of what "business development" is all about.

I am not a tech guy, however I understand tech stuff and believe in tech.

I am presently doing my MBA and I am picking up electives which should help me in working on the business side of tech.

Like business model innovation, commercialization opportunities etc.

I will be following your blog..


immunophile said...

So how did you get started in business development? I am defending my Ph.D thesis in Immunology next week. It is difficult getting an industry job as well as other jobs with no real work experience.

So, for business development, where does a newly-minted PhD start??

yes said...


I decided to answer your question as a post.... so look here.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Have to admit I don't know how to really jump in to business development in the life sciences area straight out of your MBA. All the folks I know who are MBA's had strong science backgrounds and went back in to companies where they had worked as undergrads or as interns while getting their MBA's - or had worked as lab techs for a few years before getting their MBA's. Pretty much a game of "who you know". Realize that isn't too much help. Sorry about that.


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Finite Group said...

Great post! with good information