Real Humans of Amgen: Angelinda Chen, Wharton ‘18, Global Marketing Manager, Oncology Pipeline
After walking away from Wharton’s prospective student presentation, Angelinda Chen immediately knew that the University of Pennsylvania’s business school could help translate her dreams into reality. From that day on, embarking on her MBA at Wharton enabled her to own her career in a meaningful way.
Beyond Wharton’s interdisciplinary healthcare program, which provided Angelinda the perfect combination of strategy and healthcare-specific classes, she also had the opportunity to participate in an internship at Amgen. A biotechnology innovator since 1980, Amgen is committed to unlocking the potential of biology for patients suffering from serious illnesses by discovering, developing, manufacturing and delivering human therapeutics that reach millions of patients around the world. Today, Amgen is one of the world’s leading biotechnology companies, generating more than 25 billion U.S. dollars of revenue and employing over 24 thousand people worldwide.
Amgen’s mission to serve ultimately made this Wharton alumna choose to return full-time, and her time at Wharton provided her the academic rigor and appropriate opportunities necessary for her current Global Marketing Manager role. In this edition of Real Humans: Alumni, this alum shares her insights on how the Wharton MBA allowed her to pivot from her former consulting career to owning decisions in the healthcare industry.
Read on to see what factors inspired Angelinda Chen to attend business school and how Wharton’s data-driven approach helped her to develop her own leadership style necessary to thrive at Amgen.
Angelinda Chen, Wharton ‘18, Global Marketing Manager, Oncology Pipeline at Amgen
Hometown: London, Canada
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Queen’s University: Commerce
Graduate Business School, Graduation Year and Concentration: University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania Class of 2018: Strategic Management and Operations
Pre-MBA Work Experience: 3.5 years, consulting
Why did you choose to attend business school?
While I enjoyed my time in consulting, I wanted to pivot from advising on decisions to owning decisions. Business school provided the academic rigor to structure and make challenging decisions that face CEOs, and a plethora of opportunities to apply these skills in practice. I also wanted to make transition into healthcare and build my network in the industry in the US and internationally.
Why Wharton? Which factors influenced your decision?
I remember walking away from the Wharton prospective student presentation impressed by the alumni speakers and thinking this was the right school for me because of three key reasons. First of all, the people. I felt very fortunate to be surround by 800 talented, interesting, supportive peers with diverse experiences, and to learn from professors who are at the top of their fields. I was also impressed by the strength of Wharton’s alumni and their willingness to give back to the school’s community. The interdisciplinary healthcare program also stood out to me. Coming from a financial services background, I appreciated the opportunity to take a wide range of healthcare classes with the policy and medical school students even though I was not a healthcare management major. These classes were invaluable in helping me prepare for my current role. Lastly, the emphasis on leadership as an academic discipline was another factor. I wanted to apply Wharton’s data-driven approach to understand and intentionally develop my own leadership style. Through the McNulty Leadership Program, I practiced my leadership skills in settings that varied from the classroom to the Patagonia mountains.
What was your internship during business school? How did that inform your post-MBA career choice?
I interned at my current employer, Amgen. I wanted the opportunities available at a big biotech but the supportive culture of a smaller company. It helps that HQ is in sunny SoCal!
Why did you choose to work for your current company?
I considered returning to my former consulting company, but ultimately chose Amgen because:
- Mission to serve patients. My primary motivation for switching into healthcare was to drive impact. At Amgen, I saw how the patient’s needs are at the core of decisions.
- Culture: Smart, interesting, diverse, and supportive colleagues made my summer experience phenomenal. I definitely have a “type” when it comes to type of culture I want to be around and contribute to!
- Breadth of experience: Being new to the healthcare industry, Amgen’s rotation program gives me a chance to try a wide range of roles, from sales to pipeline commercialization. I appreciate the exposure to all the different facets of healthcare.
- Pipeline. For me, the variety in Amgen’s pipeline is a strong indicator of the type of opportunities available to me as I grow in my career.
How did your MBA experience prepare you for your current career?
My strategy and operations classes helped me structure ambiguous problems into manageable pieces, while my healthcare classes provided me with industry knowledge. The leadership and communication skills I’ve honed have helped me build credibility and influence. The collaborative classroom environment showed me the value of seeking out diverse opinions to generate the best possible solutions.
How has COVID impacted your industry/career plans?
It has been interesting working in healthcare throughout the pandemic. COVID has changed many of our assumptions about the structure of the health system and challenged us to find more efficient, effective methods to bring medicine to patients. The industry has seen faster R&D cycles, higher levels of collaboration and innovative delivery programs to reduce administration burden. There has also been an increase focus on health equity, particularly in clinical trials, that will hopefully remain at the forefront of our work.
What advice would you give to a current MBA student?
Prioritize! There are endless opportunities to get involved, especially at a big school like Wharton, and it is very easy to overcommit and get overwhelmed. I know from experience! Ground yourself on why you are there, what you want to get out of it, and say NO to experiences that don’t fit your goals, no matter how popular it may be amongst your peers. Find JOMO (joy of missing out).
What do you wish you would have known?
Slow down and savor the experience. The MBA was a chance for me to explore what I wanted in an engaging, stimulating environment. Between class projects, job search and extracurricular activities, I wish I reminded myself more frequently to take a breath and enjoy the learning.
Is there anything you would have done differently?
I would have liked to try entrepreneurship while at business school. The MBA would have been a great opportunity to take a risk with the backing of Wharton’s extensive start-up resources.
Learn about more business school alumni like Angelinda Chen by exploring our Real Humans: Alumni series.