The Wharton MBA Program for Executives is known world-wide for empowering entrepreneurs with the knowledge, skills, and connections needed to drive their companies forward. Whether they want to start a business, join an emerging company, or set the groundwork for entrepreneurship later in their career, Wharton students gain the knowledge to achieve their professional goals.
Recent graduates Qing Wang, PhD, WG23, and Su Zuo, CPA, WG’23, share more about how Wharton’s EMBA program helped propel their biotech startup, Complete Omics Inc., to new heights in the field of molecular diagnostics.
Empowering Established Entrepreneurs
Wang and Zuo were already established business owners when they enrolled in the Wharton MBA Program for Executives. While Zuo owns several businesses in the finance, trade, and restaurant industries, Wang founded biotech startup Complete Omics Inc. after completing his PhD in Pharmacology from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
In response to the critical need for early disease detection, Wang and the Complete Omics team specialize in developing molecular diagnostic methods to identify diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular illness, and neurodegenerative disorders early enough to be cured. While traditional blood tests focus on a limited number of biomarkers, Complete Omics can detect thousands in a single analysis.
“We’re aiming to improve the current disease diagnostic industry through simultaneously and absolutely quantifying over 7,000 biomarkers in blood, which will be the deepest multi-omics clinical assay in the world,” Wang explains. “Early detection and treatment can help prevent diseases from progressing or spreading, potentially leading to better patient outcomes. Our technology shows promising potential for preventing over 89% of cancer deaths. We want to change people’s opinions toward their lifestyles to help them live longer and happier.”
As Complete Omics grew, Wang realized the importance of gaining a deeper understanding of business. He knew Wharton would provide him with the best foundation to expand his professional network while scaling his company.
Both Wang and Zuo pursued the Entrepreneurship & Innovation major, which provides students with the opportunity to test theories learned in the classroom by creating real business plans and gaining insight from leaders in the business community. Their collaboration on group projects throughout the two-year program demonstrated their compatibility and set the foundation for a dynamic partnership.
“We were partners for a class project that involved developing ideas for venture capital funding,” Zuo says. “Leveraging Complete Omics’ molecular diagnostics technology, we developed a methodology for matching skincare products to consumers based on the molecular signatures of their skin types. We got an A+ in that class, and that’s when we started to think, okay, we could do something really great here!”
Zuo’s double major in Strategic Management positioned her well for guiding strategy at both established and emerging enterprises. In the final term of the Wharton MBA Program for Executives, she joined the Complete Omics team as a financial advisor, assisting with accounting, budgeting, and financial planning.
“I meticulously prepared and submitted a formal application, which included my resume and cover letter, to his company for the financial advisor role,” recalls Zuo. “One crucial factor that led me to join his team, and a valuable lesson I learned from my entrepreneurship classes, is the significance of passion. Passion serves as the driving force behind entrepreneurial success, and seeing Qing’s unwavering passion is what motivated me to become part of his team.”
Zuo’s enthusiam for the position was clear to Wang. “I was impressed by her energy level and strong finance skills,” he says. “Drawing from her 10+ years of experience in the financial industry, she became an expert at pitching to investors and negotiating on deals. We have a complementary skillset, which is why we work so well together.”
Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Factors for Business
With a firm focus on patient care and preventive disease detection, Complete Omics aims to become the world’s first cross-border molecular diagnostic company, with current locations in the United States and Hangzhou, China.
“Operating a group of companies across different countries is very unique in this industry, because many countries including China and the United States have very different healthcare and regulatory systems,” says Wang. “There’s also an evolving political conflict to consider, so there is a lot to think about when operating a business internationally.”
Wharton’s emphasis on global strategy equipped Wang and Zuo with the skills to navigate the intricate legal and operational challenges of global expansion.
“In our Global Strategy course, Professor Zeke Hernandez introduced us to frameworks including CAGE (Cultural, Administration, Geographic and Economic) and AAA (Adaptation, Aggregation and Arbitrage), which gave us a comprehensive understanding of how to adapt our business to the local culture and regulations,” Zuo says. “By adhering to local regulations and leveraging an expert legal team, we were able to structure Complete Omics and facilitate the IP transfer effectively.”
Wharton’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem
In addition to its cutting-edge curriculum, Wharton’s EMBA program also offers an extensive network of experts and fellow entrepreneurs from a variety of diverse backgrounds.
“Several classmates have connected us to potential investors and business partners,” shares Wang. “Recently, Complete Omics received investments from world-leading healthcare venture capital firms, and their endorsement will help us dramatically in our future development. My investors have told me that after I joined Wharton, they saw a difference in my confidence and ability to communicate the business plan. Now I know exactly how to pitch my company and what to look for in an investment. The Wharton network is invaluable when scaling a business, and this is just the start.”
— Kendra King
Posted: July 27, 2023