I have been receiving quite a few questions on the ins and outs of the Master’s in Bioentrepreneurship (MBE) Programme at Karolinska Institutet. So, I decided to gather the most frequent enquiries and divide them into topics of what the MBE programme entails. Let’s dive into what you might expect (or not) from the bioentrepreneurship journey!
What it is ✅
Hands-on experience 🌐
As you may already know, the MBE programme offers two practical placements and a thesis opportunity at a company of your interest (but many students look at the thesis as a third practical placement). This means that you essentially get three chances to identify your strengths and preferences for building your future career. The placements provide unique opportunities to experience different professional settings almost back-to-back. These opportunities range in the size and specialisation of the companies, from med-tech start-ups to large pharmaceutical corporations. You also have the chance to expand your horizons internationally for the second practical placement and the thesis. This enables you to not only experience different work cultures, but also compare the business dynamics in different countries. Being open-minded and curious is crucial for getting the most from these opportunities.
A hub for networking 🤝
One of my favourite things about the MBE programme is the range of networking opportunities it offers. From student-led events such as CHaSE to international dinners at various companies, there are a plethora of ways to expand your connections and mingle with industry professionals. It is also a great way to expand your comfort zone and practice to become a great conversation leader in different settings. Asking for the contacts of people you find interesting and sending them a follow-up message on LinkedIn or email after the event is a must to lock valuable connections. Another way to expand your network is joining student organizations such as Synapse and taking part in organizing events, reaching out to various companies, and mingling with other students from different programmes and universities. It is important to stay active and involved in order to make the most of your MBE experience.
A base for business 📚
When people ask what exactly I’m studying, I like to describe it as an MBA degree tailored to the Life Sciences industry. The programme is designed to provide students with a solid foundation of business knowledge required for management positions at life science companies. Some of the more “number-based” courses in the first semester are outsourced to the Royal Institute of Technology, and there are a range of business electives to choose from during the second semester in areas such as negotiations, finance, execution and ideation alongside your first practical placement. The second year is more focused on the second practical placement and the thesis, and is also a time to seek more international experiences and exchange opportunities for the last semester. As someone who loves traveling and experiencing different environments, I believe in always keeping your options open!
What its not 🚫
An entrepreneurship guide 💡
Yes, the word “entrepreneurship” is in the degree. However, in contrast to what many people think, the MBE Programme is not entirely designed for students to become future entrepreneurs, but rather, “intrapreneurs”. An intrapreneur is someone who takes on the mindset and behaviors of an entrepreneur, working to develop and implement new ideas, projects, or initiatives within the confines of an organization. On the other hand, Karolinska Institutet always welcomes new ideas, and KI Innovations is a great place to go for support if you seek to explore entrepreneurial ventures. Overall, Stockholm is an exciting place to be if you have a spark for start-ups and an interest in various innovations.
A science-heavy degree 🧑🔬
I get quite a bit of questions on how science-heavy the courses at the MBE programme are. The short answer is – they’re not. You are expected to have sufficient scientific knowledge before entering the programme in order to have an understanding of how the processes behind life science companies work. That is why one of the admission requirements is to have a science-based prior degree such as biomedicine, physiology, chemistry, etc. However, the courses themselves are not focused on teaching you those skills, but rather, commercialising them and expanding your mindset beyond the lab.
A guaranteed ticket for a job 💼
While there are plenty of opportunities to gain hands-on experience while interning at different companies and networking with industry leaders, no course can guarantee that you will graduate with a job offer in hand. This depends on your personal skills, ambition, dedication, and persistence. Some students secure a position in the beginning of second year for the upcoming spring, and some start their working careers months after they graduate. It’s normal to receive tons of rejections before getting one acceptance. It’s also normal to get recruited on the spot at a career fair. Everyone has their own timeline.
Overall, the bioentrepreneurship journey is mostly what you make it to be. So don’t limit yourself, get out there, and expand your horizons! There are resources to address any of your curiosities, the important thing is to make use of them.
My name is Fausta. I am originally from Lithuania, but spent most of my life in Canada, so the Swedish winters do not scare me! I’m the blogger for the Master’s Programme in Bioentrepreneurship here at Karolinska Institutet. I am also a camping enthusiast and a huge fan of exploring new hidden cafés to visit in Stockholm. I am excited to share my experiences and adventures in Sweden and hopefully provide some useful tips and tricks!