Jealemy admits to being a scientist at heart. She spent a career in the field of bionanotechnology, the interface of nanotechnology — tech at the molecular scale — with biological systems. But she wants full exposure to the business world.
After developing technologies, she wants to learn how to commercialize them. Jealemy believes the spinning-out of academic research into start-up companies can be accelerated.
She is confident that an MBA will help her to develop business acumen and will open doors to exciting opportunities in the business development field, both in the public and private sectors.
Why do you want to begin an MBA now, and what are you looking to gain from it?
After an academic career working on bionanotechnology I realized that many interesting and potentially applicable technologies were getting lost in the sea of scientific publications.
There are many reasons for this, but in my eyes one of them is the missing link between academics, [who are] mostly focused on publishing, and business people, who want to commercialize as soon as possible.
I want to broaden my spectrum and have full exposure to business. This is what I hope to gain from an MBA: by understanding how commercial value is defined, scientists can help push potentially disruptive technologies out of academia and directly into start-ups.
I am fascinated by the idea of helping do this much faster, cheaper and more efficiently.
How will obtaining an MBA impact your career?
I figured that, if I want to be part of the innovation movement, I need a strong science background and superb soft skills. This is when the MBA comes into place: for me, it is the chance to learn how to talk business in the proper environment, improve my soft skills, and further develop my business acumen.
I hope my MBA opens up doors in business development that are closed for somebody like me with limited business and industry experience.
Which business schools are you planning to apply to, and what are the most important factors for you when choosing a school?
When choosing potential business schools, I mostly looked at ranking, the core values or philosophy of the school, the length of the program, and job placement percentage.
The most important thing for me was to find the biggest overlap possible between what I want from the schools in terms of knowledge and network exposure, and what the schools have to offer. I concentrated on one-year programs with a strong entrepreneurial character.
I am planning to apply to top-20 schools. I have shortlisted three programs in Europe that I feel are the perfect fit for me. I already applied for my top choice and I am currently waiting for an answer.
What has been the biggest challenge in the application process?
Writing essays has been particularly difficult for me because I am used to scientific writing. Making sure that each essay provides a clear and concise picture of what I am looking for, what I have to offer, and where I want to go [has been a challenge].
I had to write for a broader audience [than I am used], meaning fewer, non-technical words and a different text structure. My first drafts were probably way out of context and too technical. As I went on with the writing process, I started to feel more comfortable with this new structure and, eventually, the essays came to life.
How did you prepare (or will start preparing) for the GMAT or GRE?
I took the GMAT because I felt it was the most convenient test. I did not follow any courses. In the beginning I spent some time researching study strategies (mostly GMAT Club), and books.
Once I had chosen the right books and websites to work with, I started literally from scratch until I felt comfortable with all [the] subjects. Then I focused on timing because I felt I was lacking stamina. Finally, I spent the last two weeks doing prep tests and preparing for the big day.
How do you plan to fund your MBA?
I plan to use any form of private equity (laughs), coming from friends, family and banks. Of course, grant money will be much appreciated.
What are your future career plans?
After finishing my MBA I want to work in the private sector in order to gain more experience in commercialization, and product and business development. In the long-term, I hope to participate in the public sector as well, for example in the European Commission.