For a global biotech leader with an industry reputation as a pathfinder, the goal was to not only stay on top of its game, but to reach beyond its current levels of excellence. With eight biotechnologies on the market, numerous clinical development projects in the works, and sales in more than 90 countries around the world, Geneva-based Serono (now Merck Serono) was ready to move to the next level.
The industry leader chose to collaborate with MIT Sloan and the Thunderbird/Garvin School of Management to develop a custom program that would expand the business knowledge and leadership potential of its high-achieving worldwide management team. In the past, Serono executives had been disappointed in MBA-style programs that didn't challenge its leaders. "We tried an off-the-shelf program, and found it didn't give us what we needed," said Corporate Human Resources Director Serge Panczuk.
After researching numerous leading U.S. and European universities, Serono found that MIT Sloan was one of the only institutions whose faculty had the industry experience to challenge its senior scientists. According to Panczuk, many biotech scientists had difficulty relating to marketing before the program, but coming to MIT Sloan brought about an attitudinal sea change.
Panczuk said, "Being taught by a world-class MIT Sloan marketing professor who is immersed in real scientific research was eye-opening. Here was someone who could communicate with our senior scientists at their level and instruct them in methodologies and techniques they could use to take their work to a new level. For our senior scientists, attending MIT was like a child going to Disneyland."