Biotechnology Panel (10/23/2013)
There were around 69 in attendance to hear from the panel. The panelists were asked about their current roles, how they felt their college experience helped, and how they went about finding a job. Afterwards, there was a student Q&A. There wasn't enough room to capture the Q&A portion, but samples of some questions and panel responses can be read below.
Research Assistant – Aragen Bioscience
Research Associate – SRI International
Marketing Content Editor – Agilent Technologies
President of BABEC (Bay Area Biotechnology Education Consortium)
Sample of Student Q&A:
What issues are your companies tackling?
"Biotechnology is a very broad term. Some areas our companies are involved with are food and agriculture, making sure there is correct labeling on the foods we eat. There are even companies that do work in neuroscience, studying sleep problems and how to find solutions to them. Also, the development of better prescriptions to help people; the pharmaceutical industry is huge in the bay area. Biotechnology can also be involved with industry products such as creating better cleaning products. Another area is in green energy with a focus on biofeuls".
How important is a masters or PhD?
"To be a manager and move up, it is important to have a graduate degree. "Career Opportunities in Biotechnology and Drug Development" by Toby Freedman is a good book to read for more about this subject matter".
If you are interested in the business side of the industry, how much should you focus on science classes compared to learning more about business?
"Science is the more important part. You can always go back and get an MBA or MBT, or pick up the business as you go along. Employers care more that you connect with the knowledge about biotech, you can learn the business side later. For example, if you go into marketing, you need to be able to understand what you are marketing, so that's why science is actually the most important part. Also, learn how to be a good worker and don't be antisocial. People who are social move up quickly in management because people like them".
Are there positions for biology majors?
"Yes. It's less about your major and more about what you can do. If you're a field biologist, maybe not, but if you're a biology major and you are rich in lab work, then you would be fine".