Getting Started with Finance & Venture Capital

Career Paths
Finance and VC
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As a physician or life sciences PhD, you may understand completely the nature and value of good research but be ready to move onto more a more cerebral realm. Financial organizations and those dealing in venture capital are always in need of trained scientists to help them sort through which investment opportunities in biotech, pharma, and other technical realms represent the best chance for high returns. These are well paid positions for those in the sciences who are comfortable with financial numbers and statistics.

If you are interested in this kind of work, you must be a forward thinker, trustworthy, a risk taker and one who is willing to make high impact decisions for your firm. Money for thousands of people could be made or lost on the decisions you make regarding the scientific investments you review.In return, you will become intimately knowledgeable about many companies and be one of the first to learn about new technologies, pharmaceuticals and devices. In the area of Finance, you would work for one of the major investment banks in the United States. Many of these have their own research departments and hire scientists in many specialty areas. You would carry the title of "Research Analyst" or "Market Analyst" and work your way through different levels of hierarchy, depending on your skill level. Alternatively, you may work for any one of the many mutual fund organizations who also need researchers to evaluate the credibility of the scientific, medical and technical corporations in whom they invest. Some of the major investment banks include: JP Morgan Chase They have online opportunities in research positions throughout the world. They say they are looking for PhDs who are entrepreneurial with strong analytical, quantitative and communication skills. Goldman Sachs This corporation offers online applications for worldwide positions. They have a huge company and, as a result, have designed a quiz that you can take to see where you may best fit into their organization based on your background and on the way you prefer to work.

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter They offer global positions. To postgraduates, they offer a Research Associate position that has a training period of 4-6 weeks and a mentorship for those who would like to begin right out of college. As with the other investment banks, there is a great deal of teamwork involved. Citigroup, Inc. The jobs are fewer here but can be directly search off their site. They have a special division for research. Piper Jaffray A large investment bank that routinely offers positions beginning with research associate for those with Bachelor's degrees to Research Analyst for those with advanced degrees. Most but not all of their analysts have an MBA. There are many more large investment banks from which to choose. In addition, corporations like Fidelity, Inc., T. Rowe Price, Vanguard and Schwab are involved with mutual funds but still require research personnel, although the volume of choices in these organizations is lower.Rather than searching through every possible mutual fund organizations, try looking at those posted on Venture Capital Firms are privately owned. They solicit funds and invest in promising new technology and intellectual property.

As with investment banks, they need high-quality researchers to evaluate the various ideas presented to them for their scientific and marketing feasibility. These firms choose the best investments to commercialize and profit from. You, as the researcher, must be entrepreneurial in nature, capable of taking risks and understand the basic science behind an idea or product. Fortunately, as you start out, there are several employment rungs above you who will make the final decisions. One web site listed 67 venture capital firms that only invest in the biological and medical sciences. Of these, there were several that have over $750 million dollars in assets under management or $750 million worth of capital. These include: De Novo Ventures This is a healthcare investment firm that has founded or co-founded 8 corporations and has invested in 35 different companies.

Founded in 2000, this firm focuses on healthcare and medical products. Domain Associates Founded in 1985, this firm focuses exclusively on pharmaceuticals, specialty pharmaceuticals and medical devices. The team there has collectively begun over 160 companies. MPM Capital This firm claims to be the world's largest venture capital investor in the life sciences with active capital of over $2.1 billion.Its focus is on biotechnology, medical devices and pharmaceuticals. Oxford Bioscience Partners This is a broad range life science firm with committed capital of over $800 million. It provides equity financing and management to bioscience and healthcare industries.It has offices in Boston , Westport and Costa Mesa.

They have a position called entrepreneur-in-residence for PhDs who provide them with the science information they need to make their decisions. Between investment banking and venture capital firms, the latter is the hardest to find work in. The firms are small and the income is high. Networking is far more effective than looking for job postings because there are many small firms so your networking will help you find the firms with open positions. Also, these firms tend to look for the resumes of the people they want, so be sure that you have an updated resume on the Bio Career Center Jobs Board and that you have noted your interest in Venture Capital. A career in Finance and Venture Capital can be exciting, varied, remunerative, team oriented as well as deadline oriented, pressured, and demanding.For those who are comfortable with their statistics, mathematics, and strategic skills, and ready to step away from the bench, this is a promising career path.