On the Job: Monica Martin de Bustamante ’08 Th’09, Cofounder of CBPartners
Monica Martin de Bustamante founded biopharmaceutical consulting firm CBPartners two years after graduating from Thayer School and now serves as a managing director of the New York City-based company. Much of her efforts are focused in Latin America and southern Europe, where she uses her double major in biomedical engineering and Romance languages to better understand how those markets are evolving.
What market were you hoping to address by starting CBPartners?
We were looking to establish a global organization that could remain nimble in decision-making and deliver on high-touch project work. A number of our competitors are very large firms that, from the perspective of our clients, create uncertainty as to who is actually going to deliver and work on their engagements. Additionally, from an employee perspective, these larger consultancies are pretty well established and set in their ways, so to actually impact the environment and effect change tends to be an arduous process.
Is there a particular field or region you prefer to work in?
I am most focused on pricing and market access, which in simple terms would be associated with the pricing and reimbursement—payment by a government or health insurer—of a new pharmaceutical product. I have worked across most geographies and chose not to specialize in any one geography, as I like the excitement of always having a different challenge in front of me and being able to think through our client’s issues from a global lens.
What are some of the challenges you enjoy tackling?
The ones that are most exciting tend to be highly collaborative situations in which our clients had an initial strategy and then realized that it was unlikely to work, at which point they have brought us in to help them think through potential paths forward. Our thinking process can have a significant impact on how a trial is eventually designed, whether a product gets acquired, or how fast a client launches in a given country. Ultimately, what is most rewarding is keeping in mind the end goal: for patients to have access to better therapeutic alternatives. My Thayer experience taught me how to work in a team environment and how to break down a problem in a logical way. The time spent at Thayer challenged me to think outside the box and always come up with varied alternatives that could be tried to make something work. I think that translates very well into my everyday role, as our job as consultants is to challenge our clients’ thinking and come up with innovative ways to tackle their issues.