Emory’s Biotechnology Consulting Club Transforms Lab Innovations into Market Successes

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Many innovators struggle to bring their discoveries to a wider audience. Emory’s Biotechnology Consulting Club (EBCC) steps in to overcome this hurdle by creating a space “where business and science meet.”

Making connections inside Emory and out

Emory’s Office of Technology Transfer (OTT) and Biolocity connect start-up enterprises with student-led EBCC teams for semester-long consulting projects. It’s mutually beneficial: Start-up companies increase their chances of getting funding by collaborating with students to perform market analyses, identify competitors, and facilitate overall company growth. Students get to improve their skills and knowledge through contact with experts across various disciplines.

Emory Biotech Consulting Club logoSince EBCC was founded in 2019, it has worked with 37 Emory start-ups who have developed novel therapeutics, medical devices, and software systems. The students on these projects are able to work on technologies outside of their specific field of study. And as they bring these innovations to the marketplace, they continue to expand their skills and acquire new knowledge.

At first, President Sarah Blumenthal, MS, noted that there were “limited opportunities for STEM students to learn more about consulting.” So, EBCC recruits many of its members from the Graduate Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences (GDBBS) and Laney Graduate School (LGS). However, EBCC also values interdisciplinary collaboration. They welcome medical, law, business, undergraduate, and post-doctoral students to join. These teams work with biotech clients to overcome roadblocks between the lab and the market.

Offering training and opportunities for life beyond graduation

The club also introduces students to consulting careers through a series of monthly seminars. Generally, consultants offer advice and information to their clients to improve business performance. But opportunities in consulting are limitless: In a single semester, speakers can cover topics ranging from patent law to venture capital. Additionally, the club helps students prepare for interviews with resume workshops and mock interviews. EBCC inspires entrepreneurial spirit across Emory and builds meaningful connections with Atlanta-based startups. These connections benefit EBCC participants at all levels.

The EBCC alumni network is expansive. Many past students now work at prestigious consulting firms such as McKinsey and Bain. Some alumni even return to host seminars and provide feedback to consulting teams. Blumenthal commented that “consulting firms are hiring specifically for the expertise and skills gained from the process of getting a PhD.” EBCC aspires to show these students how they can “leverage their academic training for positions in a variety of industries including healthcare, life sciences, biotechnology, and more.”

Through EBCC, students can connect with new businesses to bring scientific innovation to the market. EBCC strengthens ties between Emory and the local economy by supporting both students and entrepreneurs. Each semester brings new opportunities for students to work with start-ups to identify and overcome challenges associated with launching a new business.

– Masin Kearney