Kate Webster, GB '08, was attracted to the combination of science and business early on. As an undergraduate student at Mary Washington College, she majored in environmental science with a concentration in economics.

With a desire to expand her business knowledge, Webster started her career as a portfolio specialist with Tattersall Advisory Group, a local investment management company. She decided to pursue her MBA to expand her career opportunities and to continue to gain more of the business background that she did not have from her undergraduate studies.

The University of Richmond MBA stood out to Webster "because of the school's national reputation and alumni network...it made it more appealing than other programs in the area," she said. Today, as a graduate of the program, she stays in touch with her former classmates and professors through the new MBA Alumni Society.

Though it was challenging to balance a full-time job, school, and life at times, Webster felt it was a great experience and investment. In addition to the wonderful friends and business contacts Kate made throughout the program, she credits the very relevant courses and quality professors for well-preparing her to land her new job as Director of Business Development and Investor Relations for the Virginia Biosciences Commercialization Center(VBCC). In particular, she pointed out, "The extensive global business component and International Residency provided me an opportunity to gain hands-on international business experience which is very relevant in my current position with the VBCC."

The VBCC is the wholly-owned subsidiary of Virginia Life Science Investments, LLC (VLSI) and is currently located in the Virginia BioTechPark in downtown Richmond. "Richmond is a great location for BioTech companies to thrive. With Owens & Minor and McKesson both headquartered here, they provide a great distribution channel," Webster said. Virginia Life Science Investments is a business development company that invests in and supports the growth, development and expansion of primarily off-shore, start-up life science companies that are engaged in the commercialization phase of evolution. Their portfolio is primarily focused on companies that specialize in medical devices and diagnostics and range from simple devices through platform technologies.

VLSI has made investments in eight companies to date. The goal is to minimize investment risk by assuring that commercialization of the various technologies is efficiently and effectively managed with VBCC serving as a strategic partner. The VBCC has a broad base of competencies which includes regulatory and reimbursement strategies, clinical program management, market and strategic positioning, financial models and budgets, and sales, marketing and distribution support for entry into key markets (US and international) for the companies. 

It is Webster's responsibility "to manage a few of the portfolio companies as well as to vet the pipeline of new technologies for our portfolio. "Loving what she is now doing thanks to her University of Richmond MBA, Webster's new opportunity with VBCC is a perfect blend of her science and business backgrounds. "We are doing work that helps improve medicine while reducing costs. I am gaining tremendous hands-on experience in every facet of running a business while helping companies get off the ground and established in key markets," she said.