MBA students apply data-driven decision-making to drive biosciences innovation

Submitted by Anna Rzewnicki on Monday Jul 21, 2014.

Students in the Jenkins MBA program’s biosciences management concentration have put their classroom knowledge to work on 18 practica projects during 2013 and the first half of 2014, working in collaboration with leading biosciences companies in Research Triangle Park, N.C.

"Many of the projects involved using data-driven analytics to help companies identify potential partners for research and development," said Richard Kouri, professor of practice and director of the Biosciences Management Initiative in Poole College. 

"The students came to their projects with a range of backgrounds, including biosciences, biomanufacturing, supply chain and IT. A majority of the students were in the college’s Jenkins MBA program; others were in NC State’s Master of Biomanufacturing program.

One of the projects completed in the past year focused on developing a general purpose process for big data analytics, which could be used to follow funding streams and the people in them. This builds on other work Poole College has done over the past few years in the application of big data analytics to innovation in biosciences.

Other projects focused on market adjacency, size of markets, how to price products effectively in an FDA-regulated environment, best practices abuse-deterrent for pain medications, market analysis for kidney disease diagnostics among nephrologists, and an economic analysis of fish aquaculture.

During May of both years, practicum students also traveled to Ireland, where they worked with master’s students in biotechnology management at University College Dublin, assisting startups with projects in areas including obesity, hypertension, artificial skin, cosmeceuticals, biomanufacturing and electronic medical records. 

Key for effective use of big data is identifying the terms to be used in the massive data searches, says Michael Kowolenko, teaching assistant professor in Poole College and CIMS Industrial Fellow. That process was perfected over the past few years by faculty and student teams in the biosciences concentration and Center for Innovation Management Studies, as well as the college’s Jenkins Master of Global Innovation Management program.

This work has led to creation of a new data-driven analytics graduate course, offered for the first time in spring 2013 and taught by Kowolenko. He discusses the topic in this video clip on Poole College's Executive Programs website.


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