Clubs with Benefits: Student-Led Activities in the Nations' New No. 1 Biotech Cluster
Besides the obvious reasons to attend Boston University's MBA program, such as our highly ranked healthcare sector management program and the strong alumni network, many students have found beneficial the positive network effects of living and working in Greater Boston. Already the recipient of numerous accolades, the city was recently suggested by a few online sites to be the nation's number one biotech-cluster (a title previously held by San Francisco). With BU's close ties to life science companies ranging from one-week-old startups to fortune 500 pharmaceutical giants, this new title is really no surprise to the many students that have used BU's relationships to further their own career development.
Something I've noticed in my short tenure as the President of Boston University's BioBusiness Organization (BBO) is the extremely high level of experience and knowledge possessed by our club members, and this is not just limited to those students with prior work experience in the sector. For students without previous experience, foundational industry knowledge can almost be picked up through osmosis as life science companies seem to permeate and surround Boston University. And as the BBO is a student-led club for those interested in the biotech, pharma, device, and diagnostic industries, Boston really is the perfect environment in which to study for an MBA. With so many life science connections, speakers for BBO events are never in short supply! For instance, we just had the first of a four-part Lunch with Industy series in which a BU alum/local professional comes to campus for an informal meet-and-greet with students interested in the product-side of healthcare. Our first guest was Justin Bush from Inspiration Pharmaceuticals. Justin is using his recent degree from BU to lead the marketing efforts at a company dedicated to providing real and meaningful improvements to the lives of patients suffering from hemophilia. In a low-key lunch format, students were able to ask Justin questions such as What are the best kinds of roles for a recent MBA grad? and How should an MBA student plan a career among companies both large and small?
The Lunch with Industry series is just a hint of the developments and upcoming events for the BBO. This past summer, Brian Hannah (BBO’s VP of Marketing), in his spare time after interning at Genzyme, completely redeveloped the club's branding and website to better reflect our mission and purpose for existence (check out the new site here: http://smgworld.bu.edu/clubbiobus/).
With a mission to provide value to the students interested in the industry side of healthcare, we're also planning several company treks for the 2012-2013 scholastic year as well as repeating our annual development workshop, the CareerStudio. This year's CareerStudio will again feature speakers such as Lauren Solano from Propel Careers and career coaching by Matt Casey as well as representatives from local biotech's to provide background on the attributes of a well-qualified candidate for post-MBA positions. With BU being such a well-known and well-respected source of MBA talent, finding quality career coaches and industry representatives for our club events has not proven to be a challenge.
So in conclusion, all these points highlight the benefit of pursuing an MBA in the Boston area, and especially at Boston University. The incredible amount of talent within a stone's throw, the sheer number of startups in the area, and the major biotech players in and near Greater Boston confirm the notion of Boston being the nation's number one biotech cluster. But really though, for BU students that have long taken advantage of the Boston area and all that BU has to offer, such new rankings are really not much of a surprise.
David Spotts is a 2nd year HSM/MBA student with experience in engineering and marketing in the life sciences. When he's not studying, working, sleeping, or networking at Cornwall's, he enjoys trying to see if he really can throw a stone and hit a biotech.