Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) introduced the Postdoctoral Professional Masters (PPM) as a groundbreaking professional masters program for post-doctoral students with backgrounds in science and engineering.
Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) introduced the Postdoctoral Professional Masters (PPM) as a groundbreaking professional masters program for post-doctoral students with backgrounds in science and engineering. This accredited masters degree helps PhD scientists and engineers acquire the business and management skills needed to pursue senior management positions within the life sciences industry or embark on entrepreneurial ventures that are intended to commercialize technologies developed in laboratories.
The program curriculum focuses on the unique business environment within the life sciences. Courses combine traditional training in issues such as competitive strategy and marketing with specialized topics such as the role of regulation and medical reimbursement in determining the viability of life science market opportunities.
The program also includes courses in accounting, finance, and organizational behavior that will help scientists and engineers understand how bioscience companies are managed. These skills are often essential in enabling effective teamwork between the technical and business employees of life science companies.
Program students interested in launching their own business have the opportunity to enroll in specialized courses in entrepreneurship. These offerings include courses focused on building and managing entrepreneurial organizations, as well as an applied course in which teams of students develop business plans for emerging life science companies. Postdoctoral students in this program participate in KGI's capstone Team Masters Project on teams of 3-5 students working on industry-sponsored projects in addition to the coursework of the nine-month program.
KGI's strong corporate network provides graduates with a unique bridge from academia to the life sciences industry. This networking begins upon enrollment in the PPM program as the students benefit from round-table discussion sessions that allow students to meet industry leaders as well as alumni working in the applied life sciences today.
Post-doctoral students interested in pursuing upper level management positions, or starting their own company in the life sciences industry.
Those with PhD degrees in the sciences or engineering or MDs are eligible to apply.
A 9 month or two semester program, with January or September start dates
The PPM academic program has three elements:
1. Required management courses. These courses will help students develop MBA level skills in management areas of key importance to the bioscience industry. They will also help familiarize students with industry dynamics across different segments of the bioscience industry. This component of the PPM is identical to the Certificate in Bioscience Management.
2. Elective courses. These courses facilitate the development of advanced knowledge aligned with each student’s career interests. Many PPM students choose to take advanced business courses in the areas of international business, entrepreneurship, and/or operations management, frequently coupled with one or more courses in clinical-regulatory affairs. Other students opt to take a series of advanced technical and clinical-regulatory courses pertaining to a segment or functional area of the bioscience industry in which they are interested in working, such as medical diagnostics, drug discovery and development, or bioprocessing. At KGI these are commonly referred to as “focus track courses” or "major courses."
3. Team Masters Project (TMP). The TMP project is a contract research project sponsored by a bioscience company. TMP projects are comprised of 4-5 students, a faculty advisor, and a corporate liaison from the sponsoring company. TMP teams will be provided office space, a budget, and any other resources needed to complete the project. A wide variety of TMP projects are sponsored each academic year. Some projects are primarily business oriented (e.g. consisting of market research, business development, or related business goals) while others are more technical and can be laboratory based. Most TMP projects last the entire academic year (e.g. two semesters) and include a variety of project goals and milestones.
Due to the scope of work involved, the TMP course (comprising one sponsored company project) counts as 2 course credits each semester.
4. Learning Outcomes:
Students can communicate effectively in an industry environment composed of scientists, engineers, and business professionals.
Students can contribute productively on an interdisciplinary team tackling complex problems.
Students have the core business analysis and management knowledge needed for the bioscience industry and can assume leadership roles in realizing the goals of technical and business projects.
Students understand the business, research and development, regulatory, production, and marketing functions of the bioscience industry.
Students understand the translation of basic science and engineering discoveries into products and processes, which benefit society.
Students adhere to ethical principles in research, development and business issues inherent in the bioscience industries.
Professional Development Opportunities
In addition to the curricular professional development education, KGI also offers numerous co-curricular activities oriented towards professional development throughout the year. These experiences can help students polish their professional skills in the areas of written and oral communication, interviewing, and working within teams. Experts from industry will frequently be on campus to give talks, participate in roundtables, or meet with students during networking events. Many (perhaps most) KGI students ultimately find their job through contacts made through co-curricular activities or industry-sponsored academic programs such as the TMP. Students have the opportunity to utilize an e-portfolio system to compile and document their professional activities to facilitate communications with prospective employers.
PPM Specific Co-Curricular Events
During the academic year KGI organizes three co-curricular programs designed specifically to meet the needs of PPM students:
1. Roundtable Speaker Series. Distinguished individuals from the bioscience industry will meet with PPM students, typically over lunch, to discuss their careers, industry experiences, and in engage in discussion with PPM students.
2. Company visits. PPM students, as a group, will travel to bioscience companies or related organizations in Southern California. This will allow students to become familiar with important companies in the region, tour labs and other facilities, and make contacts with executives from these firms.
3. Mentor program.
More experienced industry professionals can be invaluable sources of career advice as well as industry contacts. KGI has a broad network of industry contacts, with over 50 bioscience related companies represented on KGI’s Corporate Advisory Council and Board of Trustees. All interested PPM students will be given the opportunity to work with KGI’s Office of Career Services to find a mentor.
Institute-Wide Co-Curricular Events
PPM students are also welcome to participate in all other co-curricular events. A partial list of the types of co-curricular events planned for the academic year include:
1. “Focus Fridays” - Students enrolled in the two-year MBS program typically enroll in a series of elective courses surrounding a career-oriented “major” during their second year. KGI offers five majors: The Business of Bioscience, Bioprocessing, Devices & Diagnostics, Pharmaceutical Discovery and Development, and Clinical and Regulatory Affairs. This year KGI is organizing a Friday industry event around each of these major themes. Focus Fridays will include speakers, roundtable panels, and networking events in which managers and scientists from companies representing the given focus track area will be invited to campus. More importantly, this is an opportunity for all students to get a better understanding of a focus area, even if they don’t plan to take advanced courses within it.
2. Professional Skills Workshops – KGI students will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of workshops, some focusing on very practical areas such as interviewing and resume preparation for industry jobs, and some very complex, such as intellectual property law. Most professional skills workshops will be held on Friday afternoons.