Alumni Focus: Marc Doble (MBS ’02)
After completing his undergraduate studies in chemistry (pre-Med concentration) at Holy Cross, Marc Doble (MBS ’02) came to the conclusion that Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) was the perfect choice for his graduate education.
Doble first learned about KGI from a professor at Holy Cross who recommended he look into the first-of-its-kind Master of Bioscience (MBS) degree program that teaches students both the business and science sides of the applied life sciences industry. Doble was quickly impressed and applied for admission in 2000, becoming a member of KGI’s first class of MBS students.
“The curriculum was completely different from anything else in academia. All the classes were closely integrated, the labs occurring in parallel with the business and ethics classes and so on. My experience was so unlike that of my friends who went to business school,” says Doble. “Even schools that offer a biotech track really just have a unit or a single professor dedicated to that track. KGI gave me a different kind of education. I had a close relationship with my professors. I learned about entrepreneurship from industry pioneers who have started dozens of biotech companies. They used case examples from their own experience of things that work and things that don’t work.”
Doble was delighted he did not choose other routes taken by his fellow undergrads, such as attending med school, getting a PhD or going for an MBA. None of these choices was a good fit for him. He knew he didn’t want to practice medicine or be a bench scientist, and MBA programs seemed completely disconnected from the reality of the biotechnology industry.
“MBA programs focus on case examples from companies like GE and Chrysler, but the biotech industry is nothing like bricks and mortar manufacturing,” says Doble. “The economics, research and development are totally different with biotechnology, and then you have the added element of FDA regulation.”
After graduating from KGI, Doble and his wife, Jean Falzone Doble (MBS ’02), both went to work for Amgen. Marc soon left to take a position at CombinatoRx, a small start-up company in Cambridge. Before long, he was promoted to senior manager of new products.
“KGI gave me a great preparation to work in a start up environment. In a start up, because it’s so small, you need to know about a wide range of areas: drug development, FDA regulations, licensing and marketing,” says Doble. “In my entrepreneurship class at KGI, I had learned about seed capital and how biotech IPOs work. That meant when the company was ready to go public, I had an understanding of the whole process and was able to help write their SEC documents.”
Doble subsequently left CombinatoRx and returned to Amgen as a senior manager in strategic resource planning. For those considering attending KGI, he says, “If you want to be in the biotech industry, there is no other place that can give you the kind of exposure to the people, the ideas and the processes that make the industry work.”