The first year on Bioentrepreneurship has finished. That means I have finished eight courses, fifteen assignments, four exams and six group projects.
Over the year, I have tried to share the in and outs of what it is like to be a Bioentrepreneurship student at Karolinska Institutet. And in this post I have collated everything I have written plus past reflections from my fellow Digital Ambassadors.
Everything you need to know about Bioentrepreneurship Year One 🙂
Entrepreneurship in the Life Science
This course is an introduction to the concepts of innovation and entrepreneurship. I didn’t think this first course was very time or hard work intensive, rather it gives you space to start thinking about these new concepts. The key learning point is that unlike in our previous scientific education, there is not always one right answer 🙂 You can read the official description here.
The first assignment is a poster describing what Bioentrepreneurship means to us. You can read my post here about why that involved lots of Arts & Crafts.
The second assignment involves Design thinking. This involved interviewing members of the public to find out their needs and design a business idea to solve that need. It’s not as easy as it sounds! Typically your brain wants to jump to a solution immediately but design thinking helps you to dig deeper to solve the real need.
This was our first course at KTH Royal Institutet of Technology. The course focuses on key concepts we might need to know about managing the financial or managerial issues in a technology based company.
KI and KTH have very different learning styles. Whilst the classes at KI are small and more intimate, KTH is an engineering school and the lessons are more what I was used to at home. Think large lecture halls with lots of students and the teacher at the front with a blackboard. You can read the syllabus here.
The course is an introduction to industrial management, economics, organisational structure and finance ect. For me, it was a challenge but really valuable. I had never seen a financial statement before, let alone know how to analyse and interpret one! After this course, I feel much more confident ‘talking the talk’ of the business world.
Yi gives her review of the course here.
Project management is kind of a strange course. The entire course is one assignment with minimal contact time (three lectures in the seven week course).
We had to write a report on a life science company of our choice (my group picked GSK) whilst applying a formal project management methodology to the group work. An assignment within an assignment if you will!
Our group used the SCRUM methodology over the ‘classic’ project management methodology.
We had to break the report down into doable ‘tasks’ that we would put onto the SCRUM taskboard. These included things like ‘interview GSK employee’, ‘background research on business model’, ‘proof reading of introduction’ ect. ect. This course really fitted with KI’s Mantra of ‘learning by doing.’
After the assignment we were able to compare how easy it was to write the report using the two methodologies between groups and discuss other methods we might use in the future.
Yi gives her review of the course here.
Behavioural Management Control
This is the second course at KTH. The main theme of this course is to understand how management control can be used to influence behaviour of employees. Or human behaviour in general. You can read the syllabus here.
We had really interesting assignment where we conducted interviews with employees to see what ‘behavioural control’ method their company used. My group looked at practises in place in Unilever vs the indian start up Dunzo. It is surprising how many more things people need to motivate them in addition to financial reward!
The Bioentrepreneurship programme has a lot of case work. Each course, at KTH and KI involves seeking out companies to interview employees, read their annual reports and complete assignments on.
Product Development in the Biomedical Industry
This course was the highlight of the year for me. I believe the information that I learnt will be invaluable whatever career path I find myself on. You can read how it has helped MBE alumni Adeeb or Nicole since leaving University.
It’s the longest course which runs from October through February. However, it’s the course where we learn the most about operations in the life science industry and all the foibles that go with it! We cover aspects of intellectual property (IP), quality systems, product safety and efficacy as well as reimbursement. This course is naturally linked closely to the medtech and pharmaceutical industry and luckily our syllabus reflects this with lots of guest lectures from industry and study visits to life science companies. Spiros tells us about his classmates visit to Maquet and his experience when visiting Med Tech company Elekta. The links to industry are an important part of the MBE course, which you can track back to its inception.
The main assignment during this course is to design our own product. We have to take on the role as the innovative bioentrepreneur who has discovered an unmet need in a clinical setting. After we have learnt the Bio design process, we are expected to apply as part of an interdisciplinary team to solve an unmet need.
SSES Elective course
Bioentrepreneurship students get to choose one of their courses to take as an elective. They are all evening classes and you can choose a course that run alongside Product Development before Easter. Or as stand alone course after Easter. The most popular classes are Negotiation, Growth and Finance- for start ups. The classes are quite cool as you get to meet students from all of SSES’s partner universities. And get to work with them due to the obligatory group work 🙂
Yi gives her reflection of the course Growth-managing your firm here.
Again this course is very much ‘learning by doing.’ We designed a marketing plan for a
life science product. This involved thinking about market segmentation, positioning and targeting. We were chosen for this group work based on a personality test.
For me, the most interesting thing was really understand a market. We learnt about what happens when you don’t do this properly using Pzifer’s Exubera as a case study.
Practical Placement One
Practical Placement One is (as the name implies) the first placement we do during the programme. Master’s of Bioentrepreneurship students have three placements during the programme. You should read Dina’s post about how the other placements are structured.
My placement was at Sweden Bio- the trade organisation for the Swedish life science industry. You can read my reflection here. Or you should read Andrew’s reflection here and here and here. Practical Placement One is short but you learn a lot. In my case, it was great to learn more about Swedish life science specifically. I got to attend lots of networking events and make some great contacts. I’m also going to attend the Nordic Life Science Days conference in September with SwedenBio.
Hope you enjoyed this year review. Thank you to all my fellow Digital Ambassadors whose posts I have linked through to in this blog!
As always feel free to get in touch if you have any questions x
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