De Cristofano, Biogen Italia: “MiMS? The right way to go for new health managers”


The right tools to learn how to learn. This is perhaps the trump card of the Master, according to Barbara De Cristofano, Medical Director at Biogen Italia, a partner company of MiMS - SDA Bocconi’s Master in Healthcare Management. On-site visits, field research, internships in companies – In addition to solid industry knowledge – help future healthcare managers enter an increasingly fast-evolving world where learning is a dynamic and ongoing process.

We asked De Cristofano for her view on the evolution of the industry and the professionals needed to successfully navigate it.

What have the main changes been in recent years?

The pandemic definitely was the first disruptive element that radically changed many internal mechanisms in companies like ours. And I am not just referring to the great digital acceleration, but rather to a radical rethinking of all activities, from marketing to communication and redesigning partnerships. The pandemic has forced all companies, but especially pharmaceutical companies, to move (and react) in an extremely uncertain environment, where information is lacking or changing very quickly.

Another aspect is related to the resources and demands coming from the NRRP: today, pharmaceutical companies are required to approach their partnerships with institutions in a different way. This creates a need for new skills within the companies, either legal, advisory or of general support to the public healthcare players in the implementation of projects.

And does this also imply change in terms of individual skills?

Of course, the core competencies in our sector - scientific profiles, with a medical backgrounds but not only – remain valid. But economic, legal and various other managerial skills are also increasingly necessary. And new soft skills as well as specific individual aptitudes are also key: we are looking for people who are curious, proactive, who can adapt to change quickly and are resilient; that is they are able to overcome the inevitable frustrations that such a variable and uncertain context generates by reinvesting energy in new directions.

Senior managers in the company also need to learn how to interact with the new generations, with their new ways of learning and feeling engaged: experimenting, participating in pilot projects, working cross-functionally... these are all possible activities in our company, that foster change as well as professional and personal growth, and enrich our knowledge capital. But all companies need to face these challenges.

Biogen has long been a partner company of MiMS. In your view, what is the potential coming from such a program?

MiMS is a reference Master’s program for pharmaceutical companies. Over the past few years, we have had several interns from MiMS, supervised four field research projects, and hosted MiMS classes often. As far as Biogen is concerned, I can say that there has been a continuous and fruitful exchange. To us, it is important to get to know the future professionals in the field and cooperate in training them.

MiMS stands out in the landscape of healthcare management education for its constant focus on learning methods: you can say it is a program that “teaches how to learn” in flexible and direct ways, adapting to the real needs of the working world. A valuable resource for companies. Not to mention the specific technical skills and insight into the healthcare universe – from the NHS to private healthcare, and the pharmaceutical and consulting sectors – that this Master’s program can offer. In short, the all-round training you need to navigate the healthcare universe in the near future.

SDA Bocconi School of Management


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