All About Consulting

Post date: Sep 21, 2012 10:26:59 PM

Q & A with Lidia Sobkow, Technology Commercialization Associate at Center for Biotechnology

Q: Can you tell us, what is a consultant?

A: “For me a consultant is a person knowledgeable in certain areas, that people come to for advice and helping them to put the problem into perspective, find a good solution(s)."

Q: What is required from a consultant?

A: “It is the knowledge, experience, personality and reliability of a consultant that makes them a good adviser.

Since I am a bio start-up consultant, we would focus on the best strategies for new ideas, for example: help the company figure out their positions in today’s market, we why we solve particular problem better than the competition, how we will protect company’s assets (e.g. IP). One of the biggest problems we have to tackle is how to secure funding and how to reach next milestone. You have to convince investors that you are serious about your business; that you have the capacity to run with business and make it successful.

For more advanced pharma/biotech companies, there are multiple issues that you will be asked to help solve. Generally, similar advice concerning lowering costs, faster FDA approvals on products, lowering costs of research at companies, optimizing operations, perhaps by collaborating more with academia and recognizing emerging markets.

When you work at a start-up you have to wear multiple hats. Good consultant will help you pick the right hat for the occasion and will help you find a good hatter or milliner so you can get the hat tailored to your specific needs.”

Q: What are some exciting movements happening today in consulting?

A: “I don't really follow trends, at least not on purpose. I read a lot and try to be up to date with current events. I do what I like and where I think I can add value and help someone. Otherwise it makes no sense. I like the concept of extracting information from seemingly unrelated data. You can get familiar with it in e.g.the Harvard Business Review’s “Competing on Analytics” by Thomas H. Davenport. It talks about organizations from Amazon to Boston Red Sox dominating their turf by having analytics competitors, who know what products customers want and how much they’re willing to pay, they also know what prompts them to buy more of that product and they can forecast problems with their supply and demand.

"Employees hired for their expertise with numbers or trained to recognize their importance are armed with the best evidence and the best quantitative tools. As a result, they make the best decisions." –Harvard Business Review

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Catch-up on consulting this Tuesday, September 25 from 5:00p.m. to 6:00p.m. We’ll be hosting a Consulting Webinar with Tim Darling, Senior Director of Product Development (Objective Health) at McKinsey & Company whose expertise spans strategic planning and product development. Space is limited. Please register on our events page to reserve your spot.


McKinsey & Company

Senior Director of Product Development December 2011 – Present (10 months) Boston, MA

Lead 7 member product development and research team on products such as analytics that inform population health strategies for hospitals

Engagement Manager / Product Development Manager (Objective Health)

August 2010 – December 2011 (1 year 5 months) Boston, MA

-Founding member of Objective Health (2008)

-Lead 4 member product development and research team. Products include:

- Hospital purchasing and supply chain management tools and assessment

- Workforce and labor productivity opportunities

- Service-line based strategy and health reform scenario modeling

- 10 year granular projections of reform-based hospital volume growth for all US counties


Partnership; 10,001+ employees; Management Consulting industry

September 2008 – July 2010 (1 year 11 months)

Studies / areas of interest include:

- Business planning in clinical decision support (CDS) and EMR

- Hospital service line growth strategies

- Big 3 electric vehicle business planning

Darling and Miles, Inc.


May 2005 – March 2008 (2 years 11 months)


Carnegie Mellon University - Tepper School of Business

M.B.A., cum laude

2006 – 2008

Dean's Scholar (2-year, full-tuition scholarship)

University of Maryland College Park

B.S., Mathematics, Computer Science

1996 – 2000