Cynthia Li


What was your role in BALSA?

I previously served as the Director of Human Resources. I was also the Advisor for the Office of Technology Management.  Prior to my leadership role, I worked on two projects as a consultant and one project as a PM.

Where are you now?

Currently, I am a consultant with PharmaACE. My primary responsibilities is supporting global business analytics function for pharmaceutical clients including forecasting, secondary data analytics, and primary market research.

What is the difference between working in BALSA versus a professional consulting firm?

At a company you are typically working at a much larger scale. In my case, I actually directly manage relationships between vendors (other consulting firms who provide data or directly conduct primary market research) and clients' business need. Thus the ability to coordinate and communicate constantly is much more important.

Why did you join BALSA?

I was curious to see what was outside of academia. My lab atmosphere was fairly adverse towards industry so I felt like I didn't have much opportunities to explore other options. Joining BALSA helped me gain experience beyond my research.

What did you learn in BALSA that was transferable to the real world and how did it help you get to where you are today?

Joining BALSA really gave me a jump start to my current job. The skills I gained in BALSA really helped me acclimate to my position quickly. One excellent example is creating slides for business audience, which is an everyday component now.

What would you do differently?

I would take more opportunities to recruit clients for BALSA. This would have been a very important and useful skillset to have. As the role consultant evolves, it naturally involves more management of consultants and client relationship and ultimately client engagement.

What advice would you give your BALSA consultants?

Most BALSA members are really talented and have many skill sets readily transferable to commercial/ business.