Changing Pharma Industry Offers Opportunities for MBAs

Healthcare Day at IESE’s Barcelona Campus

22/04/2013

Pharma Industry

The pharmaceutical industry still offers important opportunities for MBA graduates who want to make a difference in the everyday lives of people, concurred participants in a panel organized by IESE’s MBA Healthcare Club on April 19.

During the panel discussion, which formed part of Healthcare Day, invited speakers shared with IESE MBA students how their career paths have evolved, why they chose to work in pharma and skills that companies are looking for today.

As business models shift, firms are looking for professionals who have the capacity to learn, be flexible and "drive change," said Javier Girbau, director account management at Merck. Mar Guinot, senior manager of business planning & analysis at Amgen, said that as the industry transforms, new models and ways of thinking will be needed at many companies.

Sergio Serra, country manager at Tilliots Pharma Spain, said that there will be a growing number of alliances in the sector, as large "classic" companies partner with smaller biotech firms to provide new healthcare solutions. Among key trends that are set to impact the sector are: a focus on prevention, personalized medicine and home care, he said.

Pricing, however, will continue to be a central issue in the industry worldwide, said Jordi Fernandez, marketing director at Roche Diagnostics. Natalia Borniquel, director of portfolio management at GlaxoSmithKline, said that fast-growing emerging markets are becoming lead markets, moving ahead of the U.S. and Europe. In this context, the goal of firms will be to bring down costs as they improve products.

Despite challenges faced in the industry, participants described the sense of satisfaction they feel from working in an industry that focuses on innovation and seeks to improve people’s lives.

It is particularly gratifying to work in the sector today, said Borniquel, because it is not clear how business models are going to shift. "It’s exciting to be part of the change."