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Alberto Purwada, PhD: Why I became a Healthcare Consultant

April 15, 2019

Culture Blog

Written by: Emily Lewis

Life after university is often difficult to imagine. Do you pursue a career based on the subject area you have been studying? Or do you explore other avenues of interest? For me, it was the latter. Having graduated with a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Cornell University, I decided to go straight into the world of work as a Healthcare Consultant.

There were a number of big questions I had at the time: what would the transition look like from academic to consulting? Would I be able to change my mindset quickly. From working on long-term projects on a solitary basis, to collaborating with various team members on short-term engagements? How could I gain the business acumen to succeed in consulting?

However, I was soon assured by CBPartners entry requirements, and a statement that I can say is a true reflection of the firm, ‘there is not a perfect profile, it’s diversity that makes us great together.’

In 2017, I joined CBPartners as an Analyst. From the day I started, there was a clear path towards career advances. A development plan that showcased the key skills that are expected and would be required to succeed at each position, as well as guidance on how to reach further goals through CBPartners’ mentorship programme. This helped me understand a clear path to the Senior Analyst level, a promotion I achieved in 2018.

The biggest appeals for healthcare consulting were driven by the desire to solve exciting business problems, and to understand what it takes for novel therapies to reach patients. I wanted to learn about various disease spaces and therapeutic areas, and work with incredibly smart and diverse project teams.

Typical engagements as a consultant last for three months, before moving on to a new project. This keeps things exciting and enables you to constantly keep learning; the range of work means you’re never really focused on the same therapeutic area. This exposure helps to build up an incredible bank of knowledge from the day you begin work as a consultant, as well as refining your communication skills and enhancing your ever-growing professional network.

I often see consultants as an extension of the healthcare industry. We are well trained generalists who provide the fundamental base for the launch of some of the world’s most innovative therapies. Pharmaceutical drug discovery is risky business, many good ideas do not make it out of the pre-clinical stage. Perhaps one of the greatest aspects of consulting is that it allows us to circumvent some of the early stages of development and exposes us to, what I think are the best parts, late stage development and the launch process of a therapeutic product.

My top three reasons for becoming a healthcare consultant:

  • Significant ability to quickly learn about cutting edge innovation in healthcare – the industry sharpens your communication and analytical skills, helping create frameworks to solve difficult business challenges
  • Ability to study individual therapeutic areas in a short period of time creating a diverse bank of project work and business strategy expertise
  • Merit based career progression facilitated by significant opportunity and a clear mentorship structure

The challenges that I’ve faced as a healthcare consultant:

  • As the profession is highly flexible, it requires significant adaptability to meet evolving project needs and stakeholder perspectives
  • The work is fast paced and therefore you need to be a fast learner and hit the ground
  • running even when you are new to a certain disease space or therapeutic area
  • Consulting provides little room for error; attention to detail is paramount

So, why did I choose CBPartners?

CBPartners is a tight-knit firm that maximizes the opportunity to help employees learn and develop their careers. Given its boutique size, it provides graduates with unparalleled exposure to the multifaceted biopharmaceutical process. Through the four key verticals: Value, Access, and Pricing, Commercial Planning, Portfolio Optimization, and Government Policy Advisory, we work with some of the most interesting clients in the industry.

Over my past two years with the firm, CBPartners has helped launch some of the most impactful therapies across oncology, cell therapy, immunology, inflammatory, and the rare disease space – this is something I can proudly say I have been part of.