“EMTM was the perfect mix, where I could refresh my existing knowledge and learn new technical subjects while getting a better background in management and economics.”


Ricardo Macarron, PhD, EMTM’06
VP of Compound Management
GlaxoSmithKline
Collegeville, PA

Ricardo Macarron, PhD, EMTM’06

The Perfect Mix

Ricardo sought out the EMTM program shortly after coming to GlaxoSmithKline's office in Collegeville, PA. A native of Spain, he'd previously received a PhD in biochemistry and worked in Glaxo's facilities in Madrid. "I was always interested in applying my knowledge to biomedical research and working on drug discovery," he says. In the U.S., he was assigned to screen synthetic compounds and lead a group of 10 scientists. "Before that I'd only led groups of three or five. Then 10 became 15, 20 and 25. My responsibilities were growing, and while I had good training as a scientist, I knew I did not have enough management experience."

Why EMTM?

At the same time, Ricardo also wanted to update his understanding of the technologies relevant to his industry. "My professional progression had led me to a place where I needed additional training," he says. "EMTM was the perfect mix, where I could refresh my existing knowledge and learn new technical subjects while getting a better background in management and economics." Ricardo attended an information session on campus and liked what he saw. "The quality and prestige of the organization were visible and I knew I could expect the faculty to be outstanding." With three children at home, Ricardo also liked the schedule and flexibility of Penn's program. "No matter how you do it, balancing everything is a challenge, but meeting every other weekend certainly makes it easier."

Career Impact

On the technology side, Ricardo has studied his own field, drug discovery, in addition to sampling electives across subject areas like data mining and software engineering. "The exposure to different areas of technology that influence my work certainly gives me more tools as a manager."

EMTM's solid business education has been useful for understanding day-to-day operations at GSK. "At a big company you get help from support groups devoted to finance or human resources, but a manager also has a lot of responsibility in those areas. Organizational behavior, economics, accounting and operations have had a lot of value from day one. In class, I'll write notes of things I want to do the next week at work. I'm also more attuned to metrics and ways of examining our effectiveness. In Organizational Behavior and Design, for example, we learned about the way internal groups compete with one another. At GSK I am working toward facilitating greater cooperation, making the goals of the individual groups more in line with our larger goal as a company."

For Ricardo, EMTM has been helpful for looking at the big picture, particularly emerging technologies in the pharmaceutical industry. "In the past decade we've seen a stream of new parallel technologies such as genomics and screening techniques which have truly shaped the pipeline for drug discovery, yet there is a lot of skepticism about these developments and people question the amount of money and time involved. At EMTM, I've learned more about the challenges the pharmaceuticals industry faces and how we might confront them."