A Look into Life Science Consulting

Jane Baur (MBP '25) wants to pursue a career in life science consulting after graduating from Northwestern Engineering's Master of Biotechnology Program (MBP). She's even more excited about that path thanks to a recent alumni event she helped organize.

Baur, industry and alumni relations chair for the Association of Biotechnology Students (ABS), partnered with ABS president Hannah Cook (MBP '25) to host a virtual networking session with Siddhant Prabhu (MBP '18), a life science consultant who is data products lead at Novo Nordisk.

In February, Prabhu joined Novo Nordisk — a global pharmaceutical company headquartered in Denmark — following five years as a consultant at Deloitte.

"Many of the students in our cohort are interested in going into consulting," Cook said. "Siddhant's insights sparked a meaningful discussion that challenged assumptions regarding the field of consulting and encouraged attendees to explore new ideas or approaches."

Baur was one of those students encouraged by the conversation.

"His experience in life science consulting offers a unique perspective to the biotechnology industry that I was eager to explore," she said. "Understanding how biotechnology and data science intersect is crucial in today's rapidly changing industry. Hearing about Siddhant's experiences first hand was very informative for both my cohort and myself."

Baur appreciated Prabhu's points about effective leadership and listening to team members to understand their strengths and motivations. She also was excited to hear Prabhu's suggestion to observe and learn from other leaders in order to cultivate skills that can contribute to her own success.

It's advice she hopes to implement immediately. 

"One of the most significant lessons I'll apply throughout my time in MBP is the importance of seizing every learning opportunity available within the program," she said. "By actively engaging in MBP's diverse range of learning experiences, I aim to cultivate a comprehensive skill set and knowledge base that will enhance my marketability within the industry upon graduation."

One of the skills Cook looks forward to emulating in her own career is Prabhu's risk-taking. During the conversation, Prabhu pointed out several times where his own success resulted from his willingness to try something new, like artificial intelligence (AI).

The potential to integrate AI-driven data science into the biotechnology industry fascinated Cook.

"His talk highlighted the potential for data-driven strategies to revolutionize patient care and pharmaceutical innovation, which was both inspiring and unexpected," Cook said. "His insights into the intersection of biotechnology and data science were not only informative, but also deeply thought provoking. They challenged my preconceptions and opened my eyes to new possibilities for leveraging data in healthcare."

Cook and Baur collaborated with Michelle Mittleman, assistant director for alumni and industry engagement from the Office of Professional Education, to organize the event. Both students said interacting with Prabhu and other alumni throughout the year is a crucial component of the MBP experience.

"These interactions provide students with invaluable networking and mentorship opportunities, allowing them to connect with individuals who have firsthand experience in the biotechnology sector and gain insights into industry trends and best practices," Cook said. "Hearing about professionals' experiences, challenges, and successes helps students contextualize their academic learning and better understand the practical implications of their studies."

Baur agreed. 

"Such events serve as platforms for students to gain insights into various facets of the biotechnology industry and explore the diverse career pathways available after graduating from MBP," she said. "Ultimately, facilitating these connections enriches students' educational experiences and equips them with valuable industry knowledge and connections for their future endeavors."

McCormick News Article