What we’ve found is that students who have majored in biology, chemistry or bioengineering do in fact quickly contribute to scientific experiments and biomedical research. But we also ask them to assist us with the construction of support systems, grant proposals, marketing campaigns, standard operating procedures, and market research, especially competitive information.

Sounds like we are giving them management related tasks, doesn’t it?

The answer is yes. Scientists generally want to focus only on research or development of new products, but we have given our interns and scientists a broader understanding of the importance of developing plans, working together as a team and feeling a sense of accomplishment when the company makes or exceeds its goals –– in essence, the science and art of management.

The converse is also important. If you are a graduate student in a business school such as Krannert, it is vitally important to understand what is involved and what it takes to have measurable success in research and development. Though we business school graduates are driven by accountability, operational efficiencies, finance, and management of the companies we work for, it is definitely enlightening to have daily interactions with scientists in our organizations and work with them to solve a problem or develop a strategy and plan for a new product or technology platform.

We have expanded the comfort zones of our team members by assigning the scientists as team leaders for a project, and having the B-school members of the team assist with certain research. The individuals on our team thus broaden their appreciation and understanding of what is required to become a successful organization, and we generally attain our goals and project assignments while adding to our knowledge base.

Yes, STEM programs can indeed benefit by including hands-on, management education. And Purdue University is in a unique position to lead this advancement through its numerous research centers in Discovery Park, its business and industry partners across the state, and its emphasis on interdisciplinary, experiential learning.

About IVDiagnostics

IVDiagnostics develops, tests and markets more effective diagnostic tools for addressing rare circulating tumor cells and blood-borne diseases. By collaborating with several academic and commercial partners, the company has accelerated its research and development and recently expanded its operations with an office in the Purdue Research Park of Northwest Indiana.

The company was co-founded by Krannert alumni Frank Szczepanski (BSIM ’72, MSM ’73) and his brother, Tom Szczepanski (BSM ’80), along with Dr. Wei He, who earned a PhD in chemistry at Purdue.

IVDiagnostics has been recognized in the Congressional Record, and has received awards from the Northwest Indiana Society of Innovators (Chanute Prize), Northwest Indiana Small Business Development Center (Revolutionary Technology award) and the World Future Society (Top 15 Beta Futurist award). For more information, visit the company’s website at www.ivdiagnostics.com.

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