From academia to product marketing management

MeganInterview with Megan Clarey, PhD

Product Marketing Manager at Illumina


BA: Can you walk me through how you transitioned from your Ph.D in MCB to becoming a product marketing manager at Illumina?

Megan: I have always been passionate about applied science and technology, and wanted a career that would allow me to pursue that passion. Towards the end of my graduate career I began exploring alternative career paths and had the opportunity to host MCB295, a seminar course where guest speakers discussed their experience pursuing non-traditional careers in science. It was eye-opening and led to my first position as a patent agent with Morrison & Foerster. While working in intellectual property was excellent training, I wanted to be closer to the innovation so transitioned to a product development role at Bio-Rad Laboratories where I spent five years before moving to Illumina.


BA: What are your responsibilities as a product marketing manager? How did your Ph.D help you at your current position?

Megan: My current role focuses on the development and application of genomic sequencing technologies. A solid technical background is essential however the ability to quickly assimilate new information and articulate a vision to a diverse set of stakeholders is also critical.


BA: What excites you about being a product manager at Illumina?

Megan: We are only at the beginning of the genomics era with the need for more data being paramount. Innovation in this industry has the ability to improve human life through advancements in agriculture, microbiology, reproductive health, rare disease and cancer research, and ultimately an improved understanding of the biology of life. This is only made more interesting by the recent discovery of the CRISPR/CAS-9 genome editing system. I couldn’t think of a more exciting place to be.


BA: Any advice to current graduate students and to those who are interested in product management

Megan: Science and innovation are not confined to academia. Take time to explore the possibilities and do not settle until you find a career that you are personally passionate about. Like any experiment, be patient, it takes trial and error before you learn what works.