Allison Hoynes-O'Connor

Our featured alum in this quarter is Allie Hoynes-O'Connor, PhD! We are so thrilled to catch up with her, learning what she has been up to after moving on from BALSA. During her time in BALSA, Allie made some significant impacts, including the shaping up the consultant training in the recent two years. 

In her own words:
Please describe your experience with the BALSA Group.
I joined BALSA in 2014, and acted as the Director of Professional Development from 2015-2016, then as vice president in 2016.

What do you do now? What does a typical day on the job look like?
I am currently a Life Sciences Specialist at L.E.K. consulting in New York. L.E.K. is a strategic consulting firm that specializes in the life sciences. In a typical day, I get to the office at around 8:30 AM, and each day is a little bit different. I may be conducting interviews with physicians, patients, KOLs, payers, or other stakeholders, synthesizing interview feedback into recommendations for the client, developing revenue forecasts for new drugs, meeting with team members to resolve challenges and build a consensus on our recommendations, or meeting with clients to discuss results and recommendations. I usually head home between 6:00 and 9:00 PM, but occasionally I will have to work late (past midnight).

How did your experience in BALSA impact your career?
BALSA gave me an opportunity to understand what consulting was, and taught me how to approach problems from a business perspective. Scientists and business people often approach problems very differently, and both methods can be powerful when used in the right context. BALSA taught me how the science and business approaches can effectively complement one another.

Any advice you would like to share with current and prospective BALSA members?
Take on a leadership role within BALSA. Being on the executive board is excellent experience. You will learn a lot about how to understand and meet client needs and maintain long-term business relationships. On the project side, advising or managing a project is also extremely valuable experience. Effectively guiding a team of people to a successful outcome on a short timeline can be challenging, but the experience will be meaningful in any number of careers. These are unique leadership opportunities, and distinct from the opportunities that are generally available to graduate students or postdocs. Take advantage of them!