Are you interested in working as a pharmaceutical project manager? If so, you’ll want a clear understanding of the skills and responsibilities you’ll need as you travel this uniquely rewarding career path. Read on to learn more about how to become a pharmaceutical product manager and what a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Healthcare Administration can contribute to your professional journey.
Understanding the Role of Product Managers in the Pharmaceutical Industry
Before pursuing an MBA in Healthcare Management or Administration with an eye toward a pharmaceutical project management career, it is important to understand what pharmaceutical project managers do.
In short, product managers manage the development and capitalization of a product throughout its lifecycle. In the pharmaceutical industry, this means driving the creation, marketing, and general management of various drugs and medical treatment products.
Responsibilities of a Pharmaceutical Product Manager
Because they are tasked with handling all stages and aspects of product project management, pharmaceutical product managers have a broad range of responsibilities. Here are just a few daily duties of the average pharmaceutical product manager:
Product Strategy Management
Pharmaceutical product managers create and implement product strategies to meet overall company objectives by evaluating market trends, anticipating customer needs, and outpacing competing products.
New Product Development
Collaboration with research and development (R&D) teams is integral to creating and launching new pharmaceutical products, with pharmaceutical product managers contributing to details that range from the product’s initial formulation and design to its final packaging and labeling.
Advertising and Promotion
Pharmaceutical product managers develop strategies to market the products under their management, acting as a driving force behind advertising and promotional campaigns that raise consumer awareness and drive public adoption.
Compliance and Regulatory Affairs
They also oversee efforts to achieve and maintain regulatory compliance and approval for the drugs and medical treatment products they help bring to market.
Key Skills Required for Pharmaceutical Product Management
An MBA in Healthcare Administration prepares you for a pharmaceutical product management job by instilling the skills you will need to succeed in this highly challenging yet incredibly rewarding industry. The following skill areas rank among the most essential, according to healthcare sector employers seeking pharmaceutical product managers today:
Because the pharmaceutical industry is highly specialized, product managers need a solid background in its fundamental topic areas, unique processes, and professional jargon.
Market Research and Analysis
To successfully oversee the development and marketing of pharmaceuticals, product managers must be able to gather and interpret relevant market data in areas that range from sales figure trends to customer satisfaction metrics.
Problem-Solving and Decision-Making
Due to the often fast-paced and high-stakes nature of the pharmaceutical industry, product managers are generally tasked with prompt problem-solving and decision-making on a daily basis.
Communication and Teamwork
While communication is a key ability to develop for nearly any career path, product managers in the pharmaceutical industry must have particularly sharp communication skills to help them effectively work with team members in areas that range from R&D to marketing and sales.
How to Develop Skills and Gain Experience
Now that you have a general idea about the types of skills you must develop to become a successful pharmaceutical product manager, let’s look at the different ways that you can acquire and hone those skills. Of course, a relevant college degree is a great place to start.
While there is no official, industry-wide education requirement to enter the pharmaceutical product management occupation, most employers expect applicants to have a relevant college degree. Particularly ambitious pharmaceutical product managers with designs to rise to the top of their profession will want to consider an MBA in Pharmaceutical Management or a related field.
Industry Trends and News
Because the pharmaceutical industry is rapidly evolving, keeping up to date with the latest developments is absolutely essential. Even changes in seemingly unrelated sectors of the healthcare field are likely to have a ripple effect that impacts pharmaceuticals.
Professional Organizations, Workshops, and Mentorships
Whether you want to brush up on pharmaceutical business fundamentals or get access to key industry resources, you will want to make connections, attend events, and join groups that can further your skills and deepen your experience.
Pursuing an MBA in Healthcare Administration
In fields that range from pharmaceutical product development to pharmaceutical marketing and sales, an MBA in Healthcare Administration can open countless professional doors. Fortunately, there are also countless ways to make earning an MBA simple and convenient in the modern academic environment.
One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to pursue an MBA in Healthcare Administration today is through distance learning. While early “study from home” models paled in comparison to face-to-face instruction, the virtual classroom now offers many advantages over the brick-and-mortar one.
When looking at online healthcare MBA programs, you’ll want to focus on options that meet your own unique learning goals and situational demands. The Gary W. Rollins College of Business at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) allows you to pursue your MBA entirely online or through a flexible mixture of online and in-person classes. The MBA programs at UTC are the only ones in the area with accreditation through AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) International.
Beyond its General MBA program, the UTC Gary W. Rollins College of Business offers specific concentrations in several career areas. Its MBA in Healthcare Administration gives students a firm foundation in business management as well as nine credit hours of electives in areas that include evidence-based healthcare management and improvement, complex healthcare system leadership, healthcare economic policy, and health informatics research methods.
How to Leverage Your MBA to Land a Job in the Pharmaceutical Industry
The sharp professional focus of an MBA in Healthcare Administration will give you a distinct advantage as a project manager with leadership aspirations in the pharmaceutical industry. However, today’s extremely competitive job market demands that you go the extra mile to distinguish yourself from the competition and land the position that you want and deserve. Here are just a few general ways to ensure that your MBA degree leads to employment success:
Build a Strong Resume
Before, during, and after school, there are countless things you can do to make your resume more attractive to prospective employers. Consider doing some volunteer work, completing an internship, and participating in both extracurricular clubs and industry associations.
Utilize School Resources
Many business schools provide an abundance of career services and resources. From job placement assistance to mentoring under successful alumni, take advantage of everything your college or university has to offer. You can even create your own opportunities while in school by fostering productive relationships with faculty and administrators, as well as your fellow students.
A good business school will also provide ample opportunities to build a valuable network of professional connections. By interacting with faculty members and alumni who work in the healthcare business world, you can begin to establish the contacts and colleagues that will prove invaluable as you travel your career path and may lead to your dream job.
Advancement Opportunities for Pharmaceutical Product Managers
From expanding geographically as a regional or global product manager to climbing the corporate ladder to more lucrative leadership positions, there are many opportunities for career growth for pharmaceutical product managers.
With the right combination of academic and professional experience, a pharmaceutical product manager can expand into a broad spectrum of strategic growth, corporate leadership, and top management positions. Beyond the immediate supervisory role of senior product manager, you can ascend to general business development and executive suite positions ranging from Vice President of Product Development to Chief Marketing Officer.
Professional Development Opportunities
From conducting industry research and writing for industry publications to gaining the product development and marketing skills you will need to launch your own business, a career trajectory as a pharmaceutical product manager offers ample opportunities to further yourself professionally. Of course, you will need to be properly educated and remain up to date with the latest relevant news if you are going to navigate the ongoing changes in the pharmaceutical industry and take full advantage of all emerging trends.
For More Information
Unique among its MBA offerings, the MBA in Healthcare Administration at the UTC Gary W. Rollins College of Business offers the education and training you need for a career as a pharmaceutical product manager. Furthermore, it will empower you with the skills you need to drive your industry-specific career far into the future. Start your journey today.