Consulting FAQs

Who are our clients and what kind of work does BCBA provide?

BCBA works with primarily Bay Area clients across a range of company sizes from seed stage to large pharma. Most of our clients are developing therapeutics or technologies within the life sciences industry, but some are in the broader tech space.

Past BCBA projects have spanned pipeline prioritization, market assessment, competitive landscaping, business development, and new product strategy. We utilize a variety of methods to collect and analyze the necessary data, interpret findings, and use our expertise to form actionable recommendations.

Who is eligible to apply to a BCBA project?

As a student organization, recent bachelor degree graduates, graduate students, professional students, and postdoctoral students make up the majority of our applicants. If in doubt, we welcome your application!

What makes a strong candidate? Does my research background need to fit the subject matter of the project? Do I need business experience?

Strong candidates have a clear motivation for applying to the project (e.g., to get hands-on experience in consulting, to learn more about how decisions are made in the drug development process), are interested in working in a team, and are able to communicate clearly. Furthermore, applicants must be able to commit 10-15 hours per week to the project on top of any other academic or extracurricular responsibilities.

For the majority of projects, we do not require a perfect fit between the candidate’s background and the project subject matter (although it is certainly a plus!). Prior business experience is not required. We encourage you to apply even if the project seems out of your typical range of expertise or if you are new to consulting.

Are BCBA projects held in a virtual or in-person format?

It depends. As a result of the pandemic, many of our team and client meetings are held virtually. Decisions to make meetings virtual or in-person are project-dependent and can vary based on where team members are located. Many weekly team meetings are now virtual or hybrid to allow for some team members located outside the Bay Area to participate in our projects. Outside of team meetings, we host 1-2 in-person social events over the course of each project, and major client meetings can be on-site.

What can I expect during the application process?

All applicants for our consulting projects submit their resume (business format preferred), a short interest statement, and a DEI statement. Once you submit application materials, we may reach out to extend a 30-minute interview. The PM for the project holds interviews alongside the VP. Our interviews involve a few questions to get to know your background and motivation for applying, a few behavioral questions, and a short case study.

What is the makeup of BCBA consulting teams? How many applicants will be selected?

Our consulting projects are composed of a VP of Consulting, a Project Manager (PM), and 4-6 Team Members (TMs). The VP has prior experience with BCBA and often has previously been a team member and a PM on BCBA projects. PMs have typically been highly motivated former BCBA team members.

When you send in an application through a BCBA project CFA, you are applying to be a TM. The number of TMs selected for each project varies depending on the quality of applications received, the amount of work required to complete project deliverables, etc.

What are the responsibilities of each person on the team?

TMs are responsible for executing primary and secondary research, iterating on the project approach, and synthesizing key findings for final deliverables. TMs are also expected to participate in presenting deliverables to the client at Midpoint and Final Meetings.

The PM is responsible for developing the strategic approach for the project, supporting the execution of the project by the team, facilitating synthesis of deliverables, and continuously aligning with the client and VP on project objectives and timeline.

What kind of training and/or support can I expect during the project?

We provide “on-the-job” consulting training and support throughout our projects. We have a range of BCBA resources that are shared with the team such as secondary and primary research training decks, slide-making training decks, and example deliverables.

Throughout the project, the VP advises the team in structuring and executing the project, addressing unforeseen challenges, and presenting deliverables. The VP also acts as a professional mentor and can help provide career support to the team.

Finally, each team is assigned an industry mentor who is a professional in the life sciences industry and is not affiliated with the project’s client. The industry mentor provides advice on project strategy and final deliverables, acts as an additional resource for career development, and may join team meetings periodically.

 How are the 10-15 hours of work per week structured?

The majority of the project work will be completed on your own time to fit with your schedule. Project work completed by team members includes tasks such as secondary research, primary research (often interviewing key opinion leaders or conducting surveys), synthesizing research findings, and preparing slides for client meetings.

Each week, teams will formally meet for 2 hours to discuss secondary and primary research findings, overall project progress, upcoming client meetings, etc. Your PM will assign workstreams to team members (these can be individual or small group assignments) that are to be completed throughout the week in advance of the next team meeting. Assignments are expected to take up the remainder of the 10-15 weekly hours.

How often do team members interact with the client?

All BCBA projects have three main touchpoints with the client in the form of Kickoff, Midpoint, and Final Meetings. At the Kickoff meeting, the PM will present the plan for the project approach and timeline, and the client will share more about their company and goals for the project. At Midpoint and Final Meetings, team members will present their findings (either in-progress at the Midpoint or final deliverables at the Final) to the client. These meetings involve in-depth discussions between the entire team and the client to further align on project goals or dig into the final deliverables.