Reflecting on my master’s in Biotechnology and Enterprise

At The University of Manchester we look to create innovative courses that provide our students with the best opportunity to forge a career in their desired fields. One course in particular that is slightly different to most is the MSc in Biotechnology and Enterprise. The course aims to show students how to turn scientific discoveries into commercial products using a combination of research skills and business. Henry Biggs was part of the 2019/20 cohort for this course and upon completing the programme we caught up with him to discuss why he chose such a niche postgraduate degree and how he found it…


The decision to study Biotechnology and Enterprise at Manchester

I have always been interested in the latest science innovations among plant biology, microbiology, virology and disease, and so the topics covered in various modules of this degree made it an easy decision – I couldn’t find a degree that matched my interests as much as this one.

Also, expanding this knowledge into commercialisation and learning how science is translated to the market seemed invaluable to me in searching for a future job, equipping me with skills that would most definitely expand my employability into business, consultancy, and even law.

I completed my undergraduate degree in Manchester in Biotechnology, where I had already completed some business elements as part of my undergraduate degree which I enjoyed and therefore decided to pursue it further in this master’s degree.

I wanted to live in a big city where there was a lot to to do and opportunities to meet new people, try new activities, try new food, and visit new places. Manchester was ideal for this and also affordable –  London was just too expensive for me. Manchester has a huge student population and the city really caters towards it, meaning an affordable and student friendly place.


How I found the course

The course content is very varied, which is just what I wanted. You study core science (and often, the latest innovations, with even guest lecturers coming in from nearby pharmaceutical companies), and also complete your research project on a topic of your choice. The teaching is extremely interactive including lectures, seminars and workshops, which differ per module or project you are working on.

Additionally, you study intellectual property law related to life science and drug discoveries as well as working on the (theoretical) commercial release of a new therapy that you have designed. This is an amazing real world experience to talk about in any job interview.

I have extremely enjoyed my master’s degree and it has helped me to define and choose a future career path after I finish. I would thoroughly recommend this course to any aspiring life scientists that want to explore a future career within life sciences but away from the laboratory as it really explores many aspects.


Highlights and challenges

The highlight of the course has been my research project, where getting to know my supervisor and lab group, partaking in regular lab meetings, and learning all the techniques required for me to complete my project has been invaluable and most importantly, extremely interesting and enjoyable.

The most challenging aspect has been adapting to online working during the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly during the final few weeks of my enterprise group project. However, many available online platforms such as Zoom have been outstanding in transitioning to working remotely.

Plans for after graduation

I am hoping to work in medical communications after graduating, either as a medical writer or an account executive. Here, I wish to still stay on the subjects I am passionate about, and work on the latest discoveries and research, but away from research in a more business centred role.

A quick message to anyone considering the course – If you are interested in a varied course that evolves around life sciences but covers content such as intellectual property law and science commercialisation, then this masters is for you.

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