Katherine Li '13

Katherine Li

Boston, MA
College BA
Wharton BSE
Finance & Healthcare Management

What have you been doing (for work, for graduate/professional school, or otherwise) since you graduated from LSM? Are you working on anything outside of your current occupation?

I started my career in investment banking and private equity, predominantly working in the healthcare services space. After a couple of years, I decided to transition into pharma/biotech and joined the Business Development team at Pfizer. I then took two years off to complete my MBA at MIT Sloan, which also gave me an opportunity to work in the Boston biotech hub (highly recommend!). After graduation, I joined an oncology-focused biotech start-up, Alpha-9, as its Director of Business Development and Strategy. Since the company is so early, I’ve been responsible for everything from supply chain to licensing to fund-raising to building furniture for our office space.


What is the most rewarding part of what you are doing currently?

I love building Alpha-9 alongside our executive team and our senior scientists. We were ~10 employees when I joined, and at that size, each small victory feels so impactful to the business. Even though we are a mostly virtual company, there is a palpable energy when I show up to work – my colleagues have dedicated years of their lives to developing the Alpha-9 molecules, and now we are finally on our way to bringing it to patients. Professionally, this was as much flexibility and autonomy as I could hope for. Initially, there was definitely a feeling of being thrown into the “deep end,” but it also forced me to learn fast and think creatively.


Do you think LSM prepared you for life after college? What aspects were most helpful?

The advisors and network have helped me immensely in my career. At every transition, I have turned to LSM first for mentors, and they’ve never disappointed. In fact, my job at Pfizer, which was a pivotal inflection point in my career, directly came from the assistance of LSM mentors.

The science and finance coursework have also been really useful in all of my roles. Something as simple as being able to read scientific papers or understanding the drug development process really helped me build confidence in my early career. In my current role, I interact with our senior scientists on a daily basis, so it was really important that I can speak their language. There is certainly still a lot of google-ing, but LSM has given me the ability to “lean into” the science.


Do you have future plans beyond your current role?

I haven’t thought beyond Alpha-9. After we raise another round of financing, I’m looking forward to building out the team!