Business development focuses on implementing a strategic business plan through equity financing; acquisition or divestiture of technologies, products and companies, and establishment of strategic partnerships where appropriate.I enjoyed reading about Jennifer, a director of corporate development who started out as a Ph.D. computational chemist and slowly moved into the business side of the company:
Jennifer ended up approaching Amphora's management with a proposal. They wanted to extend her part-time contract, and she agreed, on the conditions that they let her volunteer time in their business-development department, thus allowing her to learn the ropes and make the lateral move. The plan got off to a slow start because the company is headquartered in Research Triangle Park, NC, and she worked in the satellite office in California but her responsibilities grew, and she eventually joined the company full-time as the executive director of corporate development.
Jennifer sums up her job, saying, "I facilitate the progression of partnering and licensing discussions from beginning to end, with the goal of bringing revenue into the company. My scientific skills continue to serve me well every day. For one thing, I have a good relationship with the scientists in the company and can act as a liaison between them and our business people. I'm also able to provide more technical evaluation of external opportunities that come our way."It strikes me, reading this chapter, that business development is probably one of the stronger careers for mid-career chemists to consider. It also strikes me that these positions require many of the 'soft skills' that are somewhat less emphasized in the science world.
The take home message for those who want to consider business development? "The most important personality trait needed is the ability to form relationships -- this is crucial. People want to work with people they like and trust, and the bigger the deal, the more important this becomes."
*As always, CJ's copy of the book helpfully provided by the author, Dr. Lisa Balbes.