Faced with growing competition for academic positions,
men and women trained in the life sciences increasingly
turn to employment in industry, consulting firms and
foundations. While recruiters for these organizations seek
individuals with outstanding technical and clinical
abilities, they also look for those who can communicate
with lay audiences, manage a budget, handle human resources
issues and effectively fit into corporate culture.
Where can life scientists acquire these needed
business skills? Starting now, at Johns Hopkins.
This month, the
School of Professional Studies in Business and
Education's Business of Health program launches its
Leadership and Management in the Life Sciences graduate
certificate program, a unique 12-credit, 40-week offering
that will impart needed business skills to Johns Hopkins
professionals — academics as well as those headed to
the business world. Believed to be the only formal one of
its kind in the country, it is patterned after the Hopkins
Business of Medicine program, which provides clinical
health professionals with skills needed to succeed in an
evolving health care market.
Classes, which begin on Jan. 25, will initially be
limited to Johns Hopkins postdoctoral fellows and research
faculty. There are currently 1,300 postdocs and 700 junior
research faculty at the schools of Medicine and Public
Douglas Hough, chair of the Business of Health
program, said that he was approached in early 2004 by
leadership at the School of Medicine to develop an
educational program that would facilitate the transition of
young scholars into full-time professional positions. Hough
said that the leadership wanted something that could help
prepare these young scientists for the business side of
research, including managing both grants and people.
"They told us that postdocs needed training in
business as only 20 percent will get academic jobs," he
said. "The remaining 80 percent of them will be working in
pharmaceutical companies, research labs, foundations and
other nonacademic settings. Although they have superb
science skills, they don't have the skills of how to work
in a business environment."
The eight-course curriculum will include the Business
Side of the Life Sciences, Managerial Accounting and
Budgeting, Managerial Finance, Business Communications,
Economics, Business Law Issues for the Life Sciences,
Negotiation, and Strategies for Leading and Managing in the
Life Sciences Organization.
"Students will learn, among other things, how to
negotiate a deal and job offer, and also learn about the
legal issues related to the commercialization of science
from people who have been out in the real world and dealt
with these matters," he said.
Classes will meet from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesdays
at the 1830 E. Monument St. Building on the East Baltimore
campus. Full-time Johns Hopkins faculty and practitioner
faculty who are leaders in the life sciences industry will
teach the courses.
The program, Hough said, is an alternative to earning
an M.B.A., which most researchers and postdoctoral fellows
don't have time for.
"First off, these individuals are working extremely
long hours, and secondly, they are likely not going to be
around for four years to be able to enroll in a part-time
M.B.A. program," he said. "Essentially, what we are giving
them is more than a business boot camp but less than a
traditional M.B.A. It's designed for people who already
have too much to do."
The year's first class will be limited to 25 students
and will be offered exclusively to Johns Hopkins personnel,
many of whom are eligible for tuition remission. Hough
anticipates that the program will expand in the future,
with courses being offered at the Montgomery County and
Homewood campuses and opened to non-JHU staff. Future
cohorts will begin in the fall and end in June.
SPSBE is also exploring the feasibility of adding an
M.B.A. in Life Sciences, Hough said, which will differ from
a traditional M.B.A. in that every course will address
For more information on the Leadership and Management
in the Life Sciences program, contact Page Barnes at