At BCG, Seekers go deep into the challenging issues our clients face. Their curiosity empowers our teams to facilitate change and add value to society. John finds clarity in a complex world.
A memorable moment for me was when we stayed up late with the head of clinical operations of a top-10 biopharma to help design his future organization of 600-plus talented individuals. After consuming copious amounts of bad Chinese takeout, we came away with a world-class global organizational structure that is efficient and nimble at running a portfolio of more than 100 clinical trials. Only at BCG could I have gotten this kind of opportunity to help shape how drugs get developed that ultimately could mean more effective treatments reaching patients at a faster pace.
I'm trained as a molecular biophysicist who peered into the nanoscopic world to understand how life worked at the fundamental levels of molecules and cells. BCG provided the perfect platform to apply my training and knowledge to tackle challenges across the life science and health care ecosystem. From charting the path to growth for a family-owned reagents business to improving how seniors get their prescription drugs, from changing the paradigm in cancer diagnostics to designing a world class clinical operations organization, my experience at BCG has allowed me to create impact I had only dreamed of as a scientist.
What has made my experience truly enjoyable, in addition to being impactful, are the relationships that I built with our clients and colleagues. I still keep in touch with a client I supported three years ago whose perspectives forged through a career in biotech venture capital provide me with invaluable insight and inspiration whenever we catch up over a beer or two. Last but not least, I'm constantly amazed at how lucky I'm to be surrounded by curious, talented, and driven BCGers, whose friendships and mentorships have brightened my days and expanded my horizon.
John completed a PhD as a National Science Foundation fellow in engineering and physical biology from Harvard University. He also holds an MA from Harvard University and a BS from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: What I like the most about working at BCG are the diverse range of problems we get to tackle and the great people we get to work with. On one given case, we might be working with senior executives to define the strategic direction of their company. On the next case, we might be working shoulder-to-shoulder with front-line clients to implement operational changes that will help realize a long-term strategic vision. The range of issues we deal with and help resolve is quite broad and makes every day interesting. One constant across all types of case work, however, is the amazing colleagues we get to work with, learn from, and enjoy dinner with. I've personally worked with a former scientist, a doctor, an economist, an investment banker, a nonprofit founder, a political campaign manager, and military officers. You can just imagine the interesting stories shared in the team room and during team dinners.
Q: What did you learn in your first year on the job?
A: Like all new consultants, I learned and practiced the basic consulting tool kit in my first year: how to translate a problem into solvable terms, how to proceed to collect and analyze data for insight, how to package findings through clear communications, and so on. More important, as someone coming into consulting from the academic world, I learned about operating under ambiguity, being comfortable with the 80-20 rule, and putting a stake in the ground quickly to help push toward solutions.
Q: What’s the biggest impact you have had with your work?
A: I helped design the clinical operations organization of a big biopharma company from the bottom up, creating a global organization consisting of more than 600 professionals. Subsequently, we helped rewrite the rules by which this organization conducted clinical trials—making processes on average 15% more efficient. I truly believe our work will one day lead to the creation of better drugs at a faster rate that will benefit patients around the world.