2015 Best EMBA: Melinda S. Shockley, Ph.D.

Melinda Schockley

Melinda S. Shockley, Ph.D.


Boston University, Questrom School of Business

Business school is known to draw a fair number of career changers. But a Ph.D. in the pharmaceutical chemistry? That’s not as strange as it sounds for Melinda Shockley, who has also been an executive-in-residence at Questrom. The co-founder and president of Innolign Biomedical, Shockley returned for an MBA after discovering “how much I needed to learn about running a business.” Described as “disciplined, energetic, curious, and enthusiastic” by the school’s assistant dean, Shockley is also a member of the Princeton Sustainability Salon, an ad hoc group of women leaders interested in supporting sustainable businesses.

Age: 45

Location:  Newton, MA

Family Members:  Christopher (husband), Jacob (son, age 10), Ella (daughter, age 7)

Undergraduate School:  West Virginia University

Undergraduate Degree:  B.A., Biology

Graduate School:  University of California, San Francisco

Graduate Degree:  Ph.D., Pharmaceutical Chemistry

Where are you currently working? Innolign Biomedical, LLC (Co-founder and President)

What is your most memorable moment from business school?  During the first residence Week, a teammate reached out to give me a high-five when we completed a challenging task.  This camaraderie gave me the confidence that the next 18 months would be a fun, shared endeavor by the entire class.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I started my first company and realized how much I needed to learn about running a business.”

“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…lacking the personal growth and understanding of the broader world of business that I gained from the rich experiences that were shared by my classmates.”

What are your long-term professional goals?  Establish multiple companies to push the boundaries of biomedical science to discover and develop new treatments for human diseases.

Favorite Courses: Strategy, Finance, and Accounting

Which academic or professional achievements are you most proud of?  I’m proud of building a pipeline of products for a biotechnology company that was an early leader in the field of immuno-oncology treatments.  Two of the products are currently approved, thus far nearly doubling melanoma patient survival. I also co-founded and am managing my first biomedical products company which is still active and growing. I’m also proud of going back to school to learn a new field mid-career.

Who would you most want to thank for your success (and why)?  My post-graduate advisor, who adamantly and actively refused to support my career development when I decided to transition from academia to industry. This “advisor” taught me that not everyone will be a supporter and you cannot let the detractors discourage you from achieving your goals and reminds us that 1) we are the stewards for our own goals, and 2) to be truly grateful for those mentors that take the time to help us along the way.

Why did you choose this executive MBA program?  The small class size and emphasis on learning rather than branding was most appealing to me.

What did you enjoy most about the executive MBA program?  The diversity of my classmates by industry, position, and years of experience.

Fun fact about yourself:  Ran the San Francisco Bay to Breakers race dressed as a purple crayon.

Favorite book: Whatever my children are currently reading. Whether JK Rowling or Rick Riordan, reading in parallel with my kids allows me to spend time with them discussing book themes and relating those messages to the real world.

Favorite movie: WALL-E

Favorite musical performer: Sting

Favorite television show: The Voice

Favorite vacation spot: Big Island, Hawaii

What are your hobbies? Reading, swimming, cross-country skiing

Twitter Handle:  I recall a professor mentioning that we should have one of these….

What made Melinda such an invaluable addition to the class of 2015 for your executive MBA program?

“Melinda Shockley, Boston University EMBA ’15, is a wonderful combination of personality, talent, confidence, and nerve. 

She is PhD trained in Pharmaceutical Chemistry but her talents have carried her way beyond the laboratory.  Her professional strengths lie in business development, strategic analysis and tactical planning, and her success is proven by the 2011 launch of her own company, Innolign Biomedical, LLC.  She is the Co-founder and President of this enterprise which is developing engineered micro organ systems capable of modeling human tissue for pre-clinical assessments.

Melinda is disciplined, energetic, curious, and enthusiastic.  She is an active and thoughtful contributor in class and a supportive teammate.  With all this talent and drive, she is still fun to be with and her sense of humor includes being able to see the humor in her mistakes. She is part of the new breed of EMBA student eager for the business and management skills that take her beyond scientific discovery and into the realm of creating the applications of research.  Her greatest hope in the EMBA program, has been to obtain knowledge about other industries that she can apply to solve the problems in her new business and to give her the ability to inspire innovation in the pharmaceutical industry. 

In addition to school and work, Melinda adroitly balances her commitments to home and family.  She is a very engaged parent of two young children and she manages their schedules, sharing the tasks with her husband.  Melinda has it all.”

– Sandy Harper, Assistant Dean, Executive MBA Program


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