Charlie Badham came to Manchester to study on the MSc Biotechnology and Enterprise course. He now works for live biotherapeutics company 4D Pharma. Here, he talks to us about the course and how it has helped him with his career aspirations.
What made you choose your master’s degree in Biotechnology and Enterprise?
I was interested in a career in science, but away from the lab. This course provided an excellent combination of commercial understanding, as well as scientific content relevant to the biotech industry.
I also did my undergraduate degree at Manchester, so I was aware of the cutting-edge research going on, and the facilities available to me for my master’s research project.
What did you enjoy most about your master’s?
The small class size meant we became a close group, and could freely ask questions and have discussions during lectures.
How do you think your master’s enhanced your employability?
‘Commercial awareness’ is an increasingly common buzzword in application processes. The master’s was a very clear demonstration of my ability in this area, in addition to the specific scientific content which may be more or less relevant depending on a given company’s particular area.
The combination of independent and group work is also attractive to some employers (though some more than others).
Can you tell us about your current position at 4D Pharma and how you got into it?
I started my current position at 4D Pharma as a three-month internship, circulated to me by one of our course leaders. The internship acted as an extended trial period and I was offered a permanent position.
My role as a commercial analyst is largely desk-based secondary research. It is very varied (a benefit of working for a smaller company) and encompasses market analyses, competitor intelligence research and business development activities, including attending conferences, intellectual property research, communications, and working internally with our Finance, IP and Clinical Operations teams.
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
4D is a relatively young company and is evolving significantly, even in my one and a half years here. I have enjoyed being part of this process, and the diversity and level of responsibility of the work I do.
I look forward to continuing here at 4D as the company grows and develops. That said, things can be hard to predict in biotech.
Any advice for current master’s students?
Try to plan ahead to avoid nasty surprises, late nights and lost weekends, as workload might not be evenly distributed throughout the year. Good communication with your team makes everything easier.
And make sure you have a life outside your studies (the research project can become particularly all-consuming as deadlines approach).
Learn more about the MSc Biotechnology and Enterprise course.