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Getting into Biotech without Biotech related degree

I am a Psychology major graduating in Spring of 2022 and heavily considering getting my MBA after graduation. I discovered recently that I would like to work in business for a medical research/ biotech company in hopes of starting my own one day. But I am not sure if getting in this industry is possible, because of my current degree and no prior experience in this field.
#biotech #molecular-biology #mba #medical #medicine #nanotechnology #college #research #business #medical-research #career #masters #career-choice


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Phil’s Answer

Anthony,

It's certainly possible to work in the Biotech/Med Research industry without a science background - I actually interned at a Biotech company after the first year of my MBA program without a degree in engineering/biology. I think a more pertinent question is actually what you'd like to do within the industry itself. Based on your comments, HR/Comms/Sales could all be great starting points. You're going to have a long career, so building skills in any of those areas will help you in the long term.

As others have mentioned, take a look through LinkedIn at companies you may be interested in. See what job openings they have and see if perhaps you have connections that work there. If you're able to connect with an individual already at the company, it could lead to a valuable conversation about what it's like to actually work there and could give you a head start on potential job openings. Regarding the MBA, programs should keep a detailed list of where their students and alumni intern and work currently. I'd be sure to take a look through that list and see if the program has some connections at the companies you're interested in - often, these connections can open up the opportunities you're looking for.

Good luck!

Phil

Thank you Phil! Yes, I'm trying to get into the more business development, innovation, and management side of the industry to drive these new scientific innovations forward. I believe since I am a psychology major HR and those other departments are a good way to start. I also have applied to 6 positions for biotech companies both in General Business and HR, but haven't heard back. Unfortunately I only know of the companies, but no individuals who work for them. For the students and alumni I see many of the CEOs and C-suites of these companies mostly have an MS in Biology or some other field in science. I do hope I am able to find more opportunities through Linkedin and connect with actual people who work for the company. Thank you! Anthony S.

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Suzanne’s Answer

Hi Anthony,

I worked as a research nurse for over 30 years. There are many opportunities on both the scientific and business ends of biotech. Fair warning: if you are going into the field for money, don't. You must truly have a passion for the science, even from the business standpoint.

Here is some info from the NIH:

https://www.training.nih.gov/assets/handout_8_4_10.pdf

Best,
Sue, RN

Thank you for the response. Yes, money isn't my first priority and I am amazed at medical innovations and I am more interested in the business end and entrepreneurship side of the business in order for me to one day hopefully start my own. Thank you for the resources the business development one really interested me. The big question that I have is do I need a degree in biology or any type of scientific or mathematical field for the business side of it or to get into this field more easily. Anthony S.

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Amanda’s Answer

Hi Anthony,

Congrats on figuring out a career goal for yourself -- many people don't determine this until years after they graduate college. It's never too late to change your plan, as long as you've got drive and passion!

Many biotech start-up entrepreneurs are willing to connect with students such as yourself and share their experiences, advice, etc. I'd recommend searching on LinkedIn or checking with your MBA program to see if you can connect with some biotech entrepreneurs and perhaps find a mentor. San Francisco is a booming place for biotech start-ups, so you will likely not have trouble finding some local opportunities. There are many articles and other online resources to explore as well.

Keep your eye out for jobs in biotech/research start-up companies as well, whether or not you end up pursuing your MBA. There are many positions for which you may not need a biology or engineering background, and you can get your foot in the door to start learning about the business. Keep in mind that there are plenty of biotech CEO's who have a business background rather than a science/engineering background!

Best of luck to you!

Thank you Amanda! I have been keeping an eye out on biotech companies in the Bay Area. I'll try to seek out others in the biotech business with similarities as me on Linkedin and maybe ask them about how they got there. It's been my dream to start a research start-up so its only reasonable to work in the industry for a while. While I don't know any students with this on campus it's hard to find similarities. I've also been asking many M.B.A. programs about incorporating entrepreneurship and biotech as concentrations and if their campus offers those and some of them do. I'll do my best to keep looking around! Anthony S.

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Atul’s Answer

Anthony,
You have to be realistic. You are studying Psychology and want to pursue a Biotech-related degree, i.e. Biomedical Engineering or similar.
This is an engineering degree and what you are studying is not relevant.
MBA does not cut it unless you want to get a degree in what you are pursuing and want to become a Sales Rep in this industry.
Truth hurts but sometimes it is better not to sugarcoat the facts.
Have you taken any courses in Chemistry or Math or Physics? These subjects are essential if you want to pursue this field.
One more option you can explore - explore the company that you may want to work in LinkedIn and see who works there and what type of degree they have which will be listed along with their title.
Good luck.

Thank you so much for your input Atul! I've taken math classes such as in statistics and such but unfortunately I didn't realize my interest in the biomedical field until recently so I haven't taken any biology or chemistry classes. If I had realized this sooner in my college career I would've taken those classes in my GE and possibly re-explore different majors, right now it feels like its too late to change my major since I am pretty deep into it and in my 3rd year. I have been exploring Linkedin and those companies and applying for HR and Communications positions due to my background in Psychology to get a better feel of the field and business. Anthony S.

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