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From Doctor To Investor: How My MBA Kickstarted An Exciting Career In Life Sciences Venture Capital

Aiming to make an impact in his career, certified medical doctor Philip Brainin combined his healthcare expertise with an MBA to launch a career in life sciences venture capital

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Fri Oct 6 2023

BusinessBecause
A keen interest in learning and a desire to help others have defined Philip Brainin’s career so far. Today he is an analyst with a specialist life sciences venture capital fund, but his journey began when he graduated as a medical doctor in Copenhagen in 2017.

While most of his peers became medical practitioners, Philip chose to undertake a PhD, which saw him travel to the US to spend a research period with Harvard Medical School.

After earning his doctorate, he spent a year working in a clinic before again opting for a more research-led path. “I wasn’t sure that was the right thing for me. I actually preferred being behind a screen,” he says.

Philip traveled to Brazil, where he worked with local healthcare startups to investigate links between Malaria and heart disease. The impactful work he witnessed showed him the value that businesses could bring in improving patients’ lives.

“That was what ignited my interest in the business world and looking into things beyond the hospital and academic setting. That was my first step into looking into MBA opportunities.”


Enrolling in the CBS MBA

When deciding where to study his MBA, Philip was attracted to the opportunity to study within a rich healthcare ecosystem at Copenhagen Business School (CBS). Denmark’s capital is a major European hub for pharmaceutical startups, while healthcare and life sciences are among the most popular industries for CBS MBA graduates.

CBS boasted small class sizes and a highly diverse classroom—the current MBA cohort features students from around 20 nationalities. Speaking with alumni and students on the program, Philip learned of the school’s intimate learning environment.

“You have people with very different cultural backgrounds, so you still maintain a global outlook despite it being a small class,” he says. “You also have easy access to faculty and that means you can very quickly get feedback and good insights.”

A specialist entrepreneurship track would also allow Philip to build on what he’d learned while working with startups in Brazil. Combined with a generalist business curriculum covering areas ranging from human resources to accounting to strategy, the CBS MBA offered him a platform for future success.


Enhancing his career prospects 

Reflecting on his time in the CBS MBA, Philip feels one of the most impactful experiences was the Leadership Discovery Process (LDP), which takes place throughout the year.

The LDP gives students the chance to take part in tailored workshops and gain mentorship from external consultants, before completing a multi-day leadership simulation exercise.

“It’s a place where you combine theoretical knowledge with your previous experiences,” Philip explains. “You're in this sandbox environment where you're continuously being surveyed by professional consultants.”

This practical simulator exercise, paired with various in-class discussions and projects, meant Philip spent much of his MBA working closely with his fellow classmates. He says this helped develop his interpersonal and communication skills, while he also learned from their diverse perspectives.

“It was such a unique mix of people with different cultural and working experiences. That made our classroom discussions the perfect forum for exchanging perspectives and opinions,” he says.

Through various initiatives provided by the CBS career services—including personalized mentorship and visits to nearby companies—Philip had the chance to build his network within the wider Copenhagen ecosystem while also gaining an insight into a variety of different career paths.

This proved helpful when he began considering his career options post-MBA: “It enabled me in a very confident way to take that leap and branch into a new career path with all the support I could have ever wanted.”


Launching a career in venture capital 

Philip’s first introduction to venture capital came through the CBS MBA career service. Connecting him with professionals working in the sector, he was able to learn more about the daily life of a venture capitalist. These connections also provided a route into the competitive sector.

Deciding to pursue a career in the industry, Philip encountered Sound Bioventures, a VC firm that invests in private clinical stage biotechnology companies, while searching for opportunities.

While still studying his MBA, Philip successfully applied for an analyst role which he entered after leaving CBS.

A year since joining the firm, Philip’s role requires him to search for researchers with strong medical ideas that could have a large impact on patient care. Those with strong potential then receive funding from Sound Bioventures.

The job requires him to utilize his financial expertise to evaluate opportunities, while also relying on his well-rounded business acumen and previous academic and clinical experience.

“These researchers typically need people with experience in starting companies and driving growth development. And that is where I come in as an investor,” he explains. “It requires me to see the entire journey from having an idea and a concept and transferring that into the clinic where medical doctors will use it.”

With his venture capital journey now well underway, Philip is satisfied the MBA helped him achieve what he set out to do when enrolling in the program.

“I’m in a more challenging job, and it allows me to keep exploring things that I don’t know while also allowing me to help patients. The MBA has been extremely important for making this leap from going from hospital into business.”

Student Reviews

Copenhagen Business School (CBS)

Student

Verified

29/09/2019

CBS: efficient international network

CBS has always been ranked among the best universities in Europe and this means that it has become a sign of professionalism and success. The academic level is great thanks to the good teachers and the atmosphere is proactive and challenging. Lots of events are planned every week and this helps you to find your own way. CBS is not only a business school, it is a great and efficient international network.

Stella

Verified

24/04/2019

Good academic career

I did my Bachelors at CBS and their academic excellence and career opportunities led me to pursue my Masters in Accounting, Strategy and Control. I was very lucky to go on an exchange in Singapore for one semester it boosted me to get a career in a global firm. I like that it is super modern and has all the facilities for the business student in 2019. Especially, I liked the library and Bitlab where I spent most of my time studying. However, note that it is very demanding and studying here is no joke. Everything is very competitive and you are among the most excellent business students in the country. The interaction with international students helped me to see different perspectives in business and culturally and I was lucky to make friends from any part of the world. CBS is like a brand in Denmark. Every serious business company prioritizes us over any other Danish university and also it is free for European citizens. Overall, I have a very satisfying experience at CBS and I'm looking to continue my academical career even further.

Student

Verified

13/04/2019

CBS is one of the best!

All I have to say regarding my experience at CBS is that it is AMAZING. Having been tutored by world-class academic staff, I can definitely support that I am receiving the best of quality regarding my studies in Digital Marketing. Staff is very friendly and easy to approach. In addition, the facilities we enjoy are top class and meet any demands. Keep in mind that, EU citizens do not pay any fees. Student life might be non-existent here, but the location of the University in The very center of Copenhagen has a huge variety of choices to offer to students regarding their entertainment. Accommodation might be a problem, but early research of the market can be very useful. In addition, the University promotes diversity. In CBS University you can meet people from the whole world which is quite interesting. I definitely suggest CBS for any student who he's interested in pursuing a career in marketing or business.

Stefani

Verified

12/04/2019

The ideal business school

I have been enrolled in this university for 2 semesters. What I took from this experience is that there is nothing better out there for those looking for professional growth while being guided by some of the top-notch professors in Scandinavia. They have a really strong focus in technology and digital transformation and they are up to date to guarantee you land a job in the modern fast-evolving world. They also embrace diversity which means many students come from any part of the world and it takes the entire learning experience to another level. You simply learn from every other student cause everyone has different experiences and background which makes you open your mind and see the world from a different angle. In Denmark, even businesses prioritize people who graduate from CBS as it's commonly perceived as the most prestigious university for business graduates.

José Pedro

Verified

22/09/2019

A Place of Personal Growth

In CBS you can expect an environment of proactive thinking and growth. The university staff is always open to help and to debate. The teaching methods balance theoretical knowledge and practical skills enabling the student with capacity and confidence to enter the job market successfully. The existence of students from all over the world stimulates discussion and promotion of different cultures, ideas and perspectives. I highly recommend this university for students in business-related areas.

Cathy

Verified

5/02/2019

Environment

The environment here is really great. Despite the well organized buildings and libraries, there are also places for students to just stay and relax also even study in the corners of each campus. The professors are mostly really nice and try to interact with students a lot. So, to sum up, the environment is really nice for studying here.

Philip

Verified

15/04/2018

Quality education

Quality education where it emphazises the importance of academic. No finger to put on this aspect of the school. However, sometimes the administration and IT can be lacking a bit, but in general a really good choice for education!

Student

Verified

27/09/2017

Best Time!

Classes are challenging and conducted in a professional manner. CBS offers a wide range of possibilities to develop outside of the classes! Libraries and other facilities on the campus are very well adjusted to the student needs.

Student

Verified

22/09/2017

A heavily theory-based curriculum combined with an ever-stimulating environment

I am currently a Master student at CBS, but I have also completed a Bachelor's Degree in this university. I am quite satisfied with my studies and the teaching level. However, when compared to other business schools, it becomes apparent that most courses at CBS strive to find a good balance between theoretical insight and real-life examples. Compared to my exchange university, the projects that I have found myself writing at CBS have a far less practical application and also leave little room for creativity. If the teaching is heavily theoretical, on the bright side, the university arranges a number of events throughout the year to encourage students to apply their knowledge, in the form of career fairs, case competitions, and other events organized by student associations. In my experience, teachers are very easily approachable and happy to answer your questions. A foreign student like me will find a more international environment at Master level, since the number of international (or at least non-Scandinavian) students enrolled in the Bachelor programs is quite low. However, all communication (both oral and written) from teachers and the university offices is always in English. Administrative offices, student guidance services, the career center, and the international office are definitely worth a mention. All of the requests that I have had throughout the years have always been met with kindness, promptness and efficiency.

Student

Verified

29/09/2019

CBS: efficient international network

CBS has always been ranked among the best universities in Europe and this means that it has become a sign of professionalism and success. The academic level is great thanks to the good teachers and the atmosphere is proactive and challenging. Lots of events are planned every week and this helps you to find your own way. CBS is not only a business school, it is a great and efficient international network.

Stella

Verified

24/04/2019

Good academic career

I did my Bachelors at CBS and their academic excellence and career opportunities led me to pursue my Masters in Accounting, Strategy and Control. I was very lucky to go on an exchange in Singapore for one semester it boosted me to get a career in a global firm. I like that it is super modern and has all the facilities for the business student in 2019. Especially, I liked the library and Bitlab where I spent most of my time studying. However, note that it is very demanding and studying here is no joke. Everything is very competitive and you are among the most excellent business students in the country. The interaction with international students helped me to see different perspectives in business and culturally and I was lucky to make friends from any part of the world. CBS is like a brand in Denmark. Every serious business company prioritizes us over any other Danish university and also it is free for European citizens. Overall, I have a very satisfying experience at CBS and I'm looking to continue my academical career even further.

Student

Verified

13/04/2019

CBS is one of the best!

All I have to say regarding my experience at CBS is that it is AMAZING. Having been tutored by world-class academic staff, I can definitely support that I am receiving the best of quality regarding my studies in Digital Marketing. Staff is very friendly and easy to approach. In addition, the facilities we enjoy are top class and meet any demands. Keep in mind that, EU citizens do not pay any fees. Student life might be non-existent here, but the location of the University in The very center of Copenhagen has a huge variety of choices to offer to students regarding their entertainment. Accommodation might be a problem, but early research of the market can be very useful. In addition, the University promotes diversity. In CBS University you can meet people from the whole world which is quite interesting. I definitely suggest CBS for any student who he's interested in pursuing a career in marketing or business.

Stefani

Verified

12/04/2019

The ideal business school

I have been enrolled in this university for 2 semesters. What I took from this experience is that there is nothing better out there for those looking for professional growth while being guided by some of the top-notch professors in Scandinavia. They have a really strong focus in technology and digital transformation and they are up to date to guarantee you land a job in the modern fast-evolving world. They also embrace diversity which means many students come from any part of the world and it takes the entire learning experience to another level. You simply learn from every other student cause everyone has different experiences and background which makes you open your mind and see the world from a different angle. In Denmark, even businesses prioritize people who graduate from CBS as it's commonly perceived as the most prestigious university for business graduates.

José Pedro

Verified

22/09/2019

A Place of Personal Growth

In CBS you can expect an environment of proactive thinking and growth. The university staff is always open to help and to debate. The teaching methods balance theoretical knowledge and practical skills enabling the student with capacity and confidence to enter the job market successfully. The existence of students from all over the world stimulates discussion and promotion of different cultures, ideas and perspectives. I highly recommend this university for students in business-related areas.

Cathy

Verified

5/02/2019

Environment

The environment here is really great. Despite the well organized buildings and libraries, there are also places for students to just stay and relax also even study in the corners of each campus. The professors are mostly really nice and try to interact with students a lot. So, to sum up, the environment is really nice for studying here.

Philip

Verified

15/04/2018

Quality education

Quality education where it emphazises the importance of academic. No finger to put on this aspect of the school. However, sometimes the administration and IT can be lacking a bit, but in general a really good choice for education!

Student

Verified

27/09/2017

Best Time!

Classes are challenging and conducted in a professional manner. CBS offers a wide range of possibilities to develop outside of the classes! Libraries and other facilities on the campus are very well adjusted to the student needs.

Student

Verified

22/09/2017

A heavily theory-based curriculum combined with an ever-stimulating environment

I am currently a Master student at CBS, but I have also completed a Bachelor's Degree in this university. I am quite satisfied with my studies and the teaching level. However, when compared to other business schools, it becomes apparent that most courses at CBS strive to find a good balance between theoretical insight and real-life examples. Compared to my exchange university, the projects that I have found myself writing at CBS have a far less practical application and also leave little room for creativity. If the teaching is heavily theoretical, on the bright side, the university arranges a number of events throughout the year to encourage students to apply their knowledge, in the form of career fairs, case competitions, and other events organized by student associations. In my experience, teachers are very easily approachable and happy to answer your questions. A foreign student like me will find a more international environment at Master level, since the number of international (or at least non-Scandinavian) students enrolled in the Bachelor programs is quite low. However, all communication (both oral and written) from teachers and the university offices is always in English. Administrative offices, student guidance services, the career center, and the international office are definitely worth a mention. All of the requests that I have had throughout the years have always been met with kindness, promptness and efficiency.