Many pharmaceutical industry leaders spend their entire careers focusing on the science, but they lack an appreciation of the business side of the industry. Conversely, leaders who focus purely on the business aspects often lack an understanding of important medical and pharmaceutical insights.
I came to Yale SOM to learn to think more broadly and critically about key issues facing the pharmaceutical industry as a whole, and also about our impact and importance to society. I hope to be one of the few industry leaders who’s able to integrate scientific and business skills with the rigor necessary to help advance our profession.
My experience as a manager has been gained mostly through informal, on-the-job learning. But Yale SOM’s core curriculum is giving me a real foundation as both a manager and as a leader. Core courses build on each other and are calibrated so we learn to think “as poets and as quants.” Basics of Accounting, Workforce, and Power and Politics have had the greatest impact on me. And in our leadership development courses, I’ve learned that my strengths lie in quantitative and logical analysis, while my weaknesses are related to power, politics, and negotiation. Now I know which skills I need to work on most.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, my team’s dynamic has been greatly affected. While the office-based staff are working remotely, the lab-based scientists still need to be onsite. Maintaining strong team norms has been challenging, and we’ve had to reconsider all our ways of communicating. The skills I learned from Managing Groups and Teams and Workforce courses have been invaluable in helping me navigate these “people” situations.
Balancing my changing work situation along with the demands of the MBA program has forced me to look at my limitations and to think and plan before I act. I’ve learned to seek the simplest way to tackle an assignment or problem—without compromising quality—which helps free up my time to reflect and recharge.