Solvay Brussels School’s brand-new Advanced Master in Biotech & MedTech Ventures: join the next generation of life sciences leaders
Life sciences research is thriving in Europe! The continuous creation of spin-off ventures, which develop the latest cutting-edge science into market-ready products, drives the demand for a constant influx of young and ambitious entrepreneurs. With this new Advanced Master programme, Solvay is training the next generation of young executives, capable of leading such early-stage companies and building them into the Biotech & MedTech powerhouses of the future. Today, we speak with Philip Vergauwen, the programme’s Academic Director, about what exactly you will learn in this exciting new programme and how it will kick-start your career.
Who can enrol for this new Advanced Master?
The programme is open to all last-year or recently graduated students with a Master’s degree or a PhD, or even young professionals looking to advance their careers. The most important thing is that you have an entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for the life sciences! If that is the case, then this 1-year programme will fit you perfectly.
What will participants learn?
The goal of the programme is to prepare you for a C-level executive position in a Biotech or MedTech start-up, with the broad set of responsibilities this entails. It, therefore, covers a combination of business-oriented and industry-specific topics.
You will learn what it takes to bring new drugs or medical devices to the market. This all starts with being capable of building a solid innovation strategy that is driven by the need of the patients and healthcare systems. You will learn how to manage drug- and medical device discovery, make the right choices when expanding the product pipeline and protect your innovations properly. Naturally, all other aspects of product development are covered as well, for example how to set up manufacturing or obtain regulatory approval. This development process takes a lot of time and money. The programme will cover how to successfully organise funding rounds to meet a company’s evolving financial needs throughout the different development phases.
You will also develop the essential business skills needed to lead a company, like the ability to perform a market analysis and monitor the latest trends, create a marketing strategy and business plan, and set the right price for a product. You will also learn how to build and manage a team, when to outsource certain tasks, and how to find the right partners to work with.
Having a strong analytical mind and in-depth technical and business expertise is important, but not sufficient to become a successful manager. The need for well-developed people skills is often underestimated, but nevertheless essential to building strong personal relationships with your team, investors, clients, and other business contacts that will help your company flourish. That is why the programme strives to go beyond the analytical and puts additional focus on the development of soft skills and learning to communicate effectively.
What makes this programme so unique?
While similar programmes typically have an academic focus, with the practical perspective limited to a few guest lectures presenting case studies, this Advanced Master's is thoroughly rooted in practice. No less than three in four classes are taught by industry leaders, enabling you to tap into the wealth of expertise present in the global life sciences ecosystem.
The programme consists of five intensive 10-day modules that are taught on campus, each followed by a period of home study in which you will deepen your knowledge on the topics that were covered, working together closely with your classmates. These modules follow the different phases of the life cycle of a Biotech and MedTech start-up, introducing the goals and challenges of each phase. The industry experts teaching the courses will prepare you for the specific managerial challenges encountered throughout the life cycle of a Biotech or MedTech start-up, based on real-world examples illustrating the lessons learned throughout their careers. Via practical use cases, you will get the opportunity to tackle practical problems yourself. At the end of the programme, you will apply your newly acquired skills in a real-life setting with an internship and a capstone project. The extensive hands-on experience that you acquire this way, ensures you will be ready to hit the ground running upon graduation.
Why do you think participants should choose this programme at Solvay Brussels School over similar programmes at other schools?
In addition to the fact that our programme is uniquely rooted in practice, it is also the only programme with a specific focus on the management of early-stage Biotech and MedTech companies. Life sciences-oriented programmes at other business schools tend to have a broader scope instead of zooming in on entrepreneurship and building hands-on experience in running a company.
The school’s location is also a major advantage in that sense. In Brussels, we are in a central position between the different life sciences clusters in Flanders and Wallonia. And of course, Belgium itself is one of the leading European life sciences hotspots. The fact that we receive such extensive support from partners from the local ecosystem and can tap into the wealth of expertise that is present here, is something you won’t find anywhere else.
What are the job opportunities after graduation?
With this Advanced Master's, we will create the next generations of executives for the vibrant and flourishing life sciences field. As a graduate, you will be in a prime position for an impactful career, taking on a leadership role in the Belgian or European life sciences sector. You will be able to transition seamlessly into a C-level management position in an early-stage Biotech and MedTech company. Finding a job won’t be a problem, as there’s a great unmet need for talented individuals who master the key competencies to lead such companies to success.