Manager, Global Forecasting
Class of 2005
A California native, Michael Bragin was no stranger to biotechnology. He had worked and attended school in what many consider to be the "birthplace of biotech" - San Francisco. He also gained significant business experience in biotech while at CIBC World Markets' Healthcare Investment Banking Division in Menlo Park, Calif., where he helped chalk up more than $1.25 billion dollars in transactions relating to the life sciences.
So when he set his sights on a graduate degree in biotech, you'd think he might have selected one of the Golden State's prestigious university programs in the field.
Think again. Bragin chose the Master of Science in Biotechnology Program at UW-Madison, hands down.
"What sets the UW program apart from others is the all-encompassing approach to business, science, law and ethics," Bragin says. "My goal was to go beyond looking at the financials of a company, but I didn't know anything about the scienceâ€”a distinct disadvantage in the biotech marketplace of today."
"I wanted to have a lot of feathers in my hat by improving my knowledge of technology, science and business."
Not only did he strengthen his theoretical understanding of scientific principles, but he also found that he immediately could apply what he learned in practical settings, along with a new appreciation for bench lab scientists and for the process of commercializing products.
"The direct applications to the biotech world expanded my universe. We had a pilot lab where we escorted a product from preclinical to commercialization, and we also did a presentation and target product profile. It was a fertile ground for learning."
Since graduating from the program, Bragin has met or exceeded many of his professional goals. His first career move post-graduation found him developing and executing licensing and acquisition strategies for Boston Healthcare. Following that, he spent nearly three years as an independent consultant, providing expertise in strategic planning and market and technology assessment. Today, Bragin manages a global forecasting team and processes for Stiefel, the global dermatology center of excellence for GlaxoSmithKline.
"Business, science, and finance, it all came together for me because of the graduate program at UW-Madison," he says. "Besides better understanding the confluence of factors that make up the biotech industry, I gained something else. It's harder to quantify, but it's a real-world benefit. That's the confidence factor. It's an absolutely crucial factor if you're a biotechnology consultant in the ever changing world of science and business."