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

Sunday, July 30, 2006

...More Job advice. (TW Andrews)

More questions about Career path to Bus Dev. Here another person sets the stage. Excerpted it basically summed up is :
  • Has BA in math
  • Worked 5 years as at a bioinformatics company, although it's a start up so has expanded duties.
  • Started as programmer but moved more to pre sales side over the last while.
questions are
  • Can they do it?
  • Should they get another degree?
  • Should they do it?
Where "it" is defined as the jump to business development.

If you have read my posts about travel, and are OK with that, then that is a start. You likely travel quite a bit in the role you are in, so that should be under control.

If you REALLY are driven by talking to people, then this is good. The programmer background is good, as is the fact that you got out of it and in to the field. If that was driven by you wanting it as opposed to the company needing it, then BusDev would be a good fit for you. If you really wished you were back being a programmer, then do not under any circumstances try to make the jump.

What I would worry about, and I had to make decisions where I wrestled with this myself, would be the bioinformatics lable. In the big picture of things, the bioinformatic marketplace isn't that big. I don't know the total market size, but it isn't as big as reagents or any of the other steps that are in research. You, by having the math background + the computer background = stuck in that area. I wouldn't be able to look at you, as you have described yourself, and see you in anything but a bioinformatics company. You don't present yourself as having the eductation or experience to leap out of that. Granted - I don't have a complete resume and have to work with what you wrote in a brief comment.

Against the previous paragraph I would put - So what. The bioinformatics marketplace is big enough and there are many companies within it to go work at. There are, however, a limited number of busdev positions at them and a pretty limited numer of companies.

You are more likely to be able to move in to marketing at one of those firms. That would be, based on little to no information, my suggestion to you. From there, you will be on the inside and able to make the jump. Once there, start talking to those folks. Stay close to them and, after knowing them for awhile, ask if there are openings etc...

Alternativly, get to know these folks at trade shows. They are there somewhere - so just work to meet them.

On the MBA or other degree front. For you - getting a further degree in the bioinformatics just further locks you in to that area. I think it would be a waste of your time. You have programmer chops - not degree chops. That counts. The MBA might help get you up the ladder, but you have to get in the door first. I would advocate for MBA later while working (you didn't need a social life anyway did you?).

Just my $0.02 - with limited knowledge. If you want to tell me more, I will refine my statements a bit more.

1 comment:

TW Andrews said...

So to provide a bit more information, I feel like business development as you've described it suits me very well. The decision to leave programming was my own. I'd made plans to pursue a non-programming career, and when I was offered the position I'm currently in, it seemed to be a perfect fit.

And it has been, I've recieved lots of positive attention for my work, particularly the assignments which are beyond what I understand the typical FAS role to be.

Regarding the bioinformatics label, how much do you think that limits me? My company isn't strictly a bioinformatics company and I feel as if I could be successful in any life-sciences software company. The product I work on supports high-throughput screening, and I know a lot more about lead identification/development than I do about the more bio-intensive target related side of drug-discovery.

As for an initial move into marketing, what would that look like? That's one of the reasons that I'm looking to leave my current company--we have no effective corporate marketing, and without it, we'll never grow more than incrementally. Which means that I'd be a lot less confident about a marketing position. It could be that I'd be well suited to it, but I don't have a good sense of what it would be like.

Your advice on the MBA is exactly what I wanted to hear--how important is it where I get the degree vs. simply just having it?

Anyway, I really appreciate your responding to me.