Joseph LaPlumeExecutive MBA SVP, Corporate Development, Charles River Labs
When he joined BU’s Executive MBA program, Joe LaPlume was working in a field he says couldn’t be farther from business: law.
As deputy general counsel at Charles River Labs, a company that specializes in pre-clinical and clinical laboratory services for the pharmaceutical, medical device, and biotechnology industries, Joe saw how finance, accounting, marketing, and strategy all played crucial roles in the operation. He always had an interest in those areas, but witnessing them firsthand was a revelation.
“It was one of the most influential things to happen in my career—more than my law degree,” he says. “I thought, ‘Maybe I don’t want to be a lawyer anymore.’”
Joe knew that an MBA would be invaluable even if he remained a lawyer, so he decided to boost his business skills with EMBA, where the impact was immediate. At the start of the program, he wasn’t even familiar with Microsoft Excel, he admits, but when he left, he had a fundamental understanding and proficiency in corporate finance.
“I took an experienced legal career and, in 18 months, completely turned my career trajectory,” he says. “Before that, as a lawyer, I simply didn’t know what I didn’t know.”
Joe still works at Charles River Labs—only now, because of EMBA, he’s pivoted into the role of corporate senior vice president of corporate development, in which he’s responsible for strategic acquisitions and expanding the company’s portfolio and geographic footprint.
Though his time at Questrom has ended, the learning hasn’t stopped. For four years after the program, he and his peers would meet and prepare business cases, like a mini EMBA.
“We wanted to continue learning and bouncing ideas off each other in a comfortable environment,” he says. “We’d have a full day of meetings and dinner—people found that remarkable.”