Master of business administration (MBA) programs train students in finance, accounting, strategy, human resource planning and other aspects of business management. Some universities offer joint degree programs: for example, Pennsylvania State University lets students combine an undergraduate science degree with an MBA. Recruiters covet a science and business background, according to Imperial College London careers manager Monica Piercy in a "Sunday Times" article by Steve Coomber. Possible roles for an MBA with a science background include management, consulting and stock research.
With experience, a science MBA can aspire to mid- and senior-level executive jobs in private- and public-sector companies. Paul G. Abrams, former chief executive officer of Seattle-based biotechnology company NeoRx, says that managers in technology companies should have both business and scientific training because general business knowledge is insufficient, according to an article by Robert Finn in "The Scientist." A combined science and business background helps executives analyze issues, trends and operations more comprehensively. Program and project management, research and development management and clinical trial process management are some of the senior management roles for science MBAs in science- and technology-based organizations.
Consultants advise businesses on day-to-day operational matters and long-term strategic business planning. For example, an MBA with a science background can help a new biotechnology company analyze the potential market for a new drug compound. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, environmental consulting services is one of the largest specialties within scientific and technical consulting services, which offers good consulting opportunities for MBAs with science backgrounds.
Investment banks, mutual funds, hedge funds and specialized research firms hire science MBAs to analyze and provide buy/sell recommendations for pharmaceutical, biotechnology, health care, environmental and other science-related stocks. Science MBAs might be able to spot problem areas or industry trends using scientific expertise that a general financial analysis cannot detect. Analysts who cover biotech stocks, for example, often have postgraduate degrees in the sciences, relevant industry experience and contacts in the scientific community.
A science degree is not a prerequisite for a management role in science, says pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca's venture strategy manager Claire Pullinger in Coomber's article in "The Sunday Times." People with expertise in and knowledge of a particular industry can find mid-level management jobs and complete their MBAs part-time. The intersection of science and business offers the chance to improve people's lives through cutting-edge research and constant innovation, Monica Piercy believes.