February 18, 2014

A first year reflection on the BioBusiness case competition!

I had barely finished my first semester and was starting my second module, when I learned of an opportunity to participate in a case competition through the BU BioBusiness Club – the MBA program’s club that helps students interested in the life sciences industry. The case competition was held at Rugters, NJ and was being organized by Rutgers Business School and had invited judges from top pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer, Bayer, BMS etc. 
Upon hearing of the decision that our team (Vatsal Oza, Daniel Saragnese, Josh Pearlstein, Colby Cook and me – all first year MBA students) had been selected to participate, we were then provided a week to prepare for the case – a 26 page word document about the product launch strategy for a HER2+ metastatic breast cancer drug on behalf of global pharmaceutical company in a competitive market. Thanks to the case – our team ended up learning a great deal about important healthcare concepts such as the Five Star Rating System and Patient Centered Medical Homes (PCMH) to name a few. During that week, we were initially overwhelmed with the sheer volume of information but then applied our learnings of Finance, Marketing and Economics to build a clear strategy that demonstrated our product’s value-add and was supported by scenario and sensitivity analyses.

The night before the competition, we left for NJ and arrived bright and early at 8 AM on campus to work on our presentation and do a final dry-run. Our presentation slot was at 10:20 AM, and we were done by 11:00 AM. We spent the remaining part of the day at Pharma Day, a series of information sessions and networking events held by visiting pharma companies incl. sponsors of the event. The results were finally announced at 5:00 PM, and while our team did not place a podium finish – our team was congratulated for our unique and innovative approach by all the judges we interacted with at the Cocktails Reception that subsequently followed.

On the whole, while participating in a case competition can turn out to be extremely hectic and tiring, it was also a unique chance to put yourself in a real-life business situation and be questioned by industry experts on your ideas to a particular problem – another invaluable opportunity in the life of an MBA!

Chiraag is currently enrolled in the Health Sector Management MBA at Boston University where he is actively involved in the MBA Marketing Club, BioBusiness Organization (BBO) and also serves as an MBA Admissions Ambassador. Before coming to BU, he was a management consultant at KPMG in the areas of business transformation and operational improvement across multiple industries including pharmaceuticals, medical devices and public hospitals. Moving forward, he hopes to work in Commercial/ Planning roles in the healthcare industry or service these functions as a healthcare consultant.

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