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2019 Management and Business Principles for Scientists

Business principles affect all organizations. In today’s highly competitive and highly complicated working environments, understanding these principles gives leaders and managers a strategic advantage, enabling them to handle situations more effectively and make decisions more effectively.

In spring semester 2019, the BRET Office of Career Development is offering a module for PhD students and postdoctoral fellows from biomedical sciences and chemistry, Management and Business Principles for Scientists. It is ideal for trainees interested in:

1) independent research careers in industry or academia (running a research lab in academia is often compared to owning a small business).

2) scientific or management careers in academic core facilities or contract research organizations.

3) any career outside the lab which requires business acumen!

The module will run Wednesdays from 8:30-10:30 a.m., January 16-April 17, 2019. The first few weeks of the module is interactive and didactic. In the second part of the module, participants will break into small teams to consult with the director of a VU Core Facility and develop a solution to a business or management challenge faced by the core. This project-based approach will give participants the opportunity to put course principles into practice.

 

About the Module

Business principles affect all organizations. In today’s highly competitive and highly complicated working environments, understanding these principles gives leaders and managers a strategic advantage, enabling them to handle situations more effectively and make decisions more effectively.

This module is a unique distillation of the tools and skills needed to be successful in business, whether your business is leadership of a team of scientists, management of lab, directing a technology startup, applying for grants, or all of the above.  And whether your career will direct you toward research (lab directors, PIs, etc.) or toward a career outside the lab, the topics in this course will introduce you to the tools needed to understand business, evaluate business situations effectively, analyze key business data drawing on both internal and external sources, and make effective business decisions.

Module Objectives:

  • Broaden the training of biomedical sciences trainees to include business principles and tools;
  • Provide participants with tools and understanding of key financial concepts so they can be stronger financial managers and make better financial decisions;
  • Enable participants to understand how management and leadership are essential to success in highly competitive environments;
  • Teach participants to build effective teams, develop effective culture, and produce high levels of individual and team performance;
  • Help participants understand the importance of internal and external marketing and communication;
  • Teach participants to use product and service development to gain strategic advantage;
  • Help participants understand the power of systems and controls in delivering effective operational results;
  • Teach participants to use performance measurement to improve results;
  • Empower participants with problem solving, project management, and decision making tools;
  • Better prepare biomedical sciences trainees for a career inside or outside the lab!

This module emphasizes key concepts and tools. The business world is loaded with theories on how organizations should work and what would make them work better. These theories and concepts are known by many different names, most of which are simply re-named and re-packaged versions of prior theories.  The concepts and tools covered in this module, however, are designed to be kept handy in your “tool kit” and are expected to be used very frequently to address your daily management challenges.

Module dates and times: Wednesdays from 8:30-10:30 a.m., January 16-April 17, 2019, plus a 1/2 day retreat the afternoon of Wednesday, March 13.

Instructor: Joe Rando, Lecturer in Managerial Studies, Vanderbilt University

Module structure: Interactive lectures and small group discussions (first half) followed by a team capstone project (second half)

Cost: No cost to PhD students and postdoctoral fellows in the biomedical sciences or chemistry.

Eligibility: Open to Vanderbilt biomedical sciences and chemistry postdoctoral fellows and PhD students who have passed their qualifying exams before January 2019.

Questions: Please contact Angela Zito (angela.zito@vanderbilt.edu), Program Manager, BRET Office of Career Development

Time Commitment

This module is designed to provide an efficient introduction to practical business concepts and tools. The total time commitment for this module is about 4-5 hours/week, including in-class meetings and out-of-class readings.

For the first half of the module (January 16-February 27), the module will consist of interactive didactic sessions.  Each didactic session will require 1-2 hours of reading to be completed before class.

There will be a 1/2 day, on-campus retreat the afternoon of Wednesday, March 13. There will be speakers as well as time for participants to form groups and meet with the Core Facilities to discuss projects.

For the second part of the module (March 20-April 17), participants will break into small groups and complete a project in consultation with the director of a VU Core Facility. The module will continue to meet Wednesdays from 8:30 – 10:30 a.m. during this time, for short didactic lectures on problem solving and project management, and for teams to work on their project in class. Individual teams may also need to meet outside of class to work on their project or visit their core facility. Each person is required to contribute to the team project and participate in the final presentations.

All participants in this module will receive a Certificate of Completion at the end. By including the Certificate of Completion for this module on your CV, you demonstrate interest in business and management principles and introductory training on the topic. It’s also a great conversation starter with prospective employers!

 

Syllabus

The module will be a mix of interactive didactic sessions (pre-retreat) and small team-based projects with short lectures on project management and problem-solving, (post-retreat). Due to the interactive nature of this course, attendance at all sessions is required. See attendance policy, below.

Date Topic
January 16 Finance 1 (Accounting and Financial Reporting)

Finance 2 (Managerial Finance, Budgeting, and Cash Management)

January 23 People 1 (Organizational Design, Recruiting, Hiring, Training)

 

January 30 People 2 (Leadership, Development, Motivation, and Compensation)
February 6 Marketing 1 – Promotion, Advertising, Social Media, Public Relations

Marketing 2 – Product Development, Product Management, Customer Management

​February 13 Technology – IT, Technology Infrastructure, Data Management
February 20 Operations 1 – Facilities and Operations Management
February 27 Operations 2 – Quality, Efficiency, and Continuous Improvement
BREAK NO CLASS March 6
Wednesday, March 13

 

 

afternoon retreat – 1/2 day social/networking event with guest speakers.

 

Core Directors assigned as team leaders, project problems are presented.

TEAM MEETING

TEAM MEETING  NO DIDACTIC CLASS March 20; teams may meet on their own
March 27 Project Management mini-lecture plus a Project Workshop
April 3 Problem Solving mini-lecture plus a Project Workshop
April 10 Data Driven Decision Making mini-lecture plus a Project Workshop
April 17

time TBD

Final presentations

Groups will present the problem and their proposed solution/strategy.