Cambridge Executive MBA (EMBA) 2019 graduate Shirley Okere steps into new role.
Cambridge Executive MBA graduate Shirley Okere (EMBA 2019) is now Director of Regional Quality Operations for Pfizer.
Shirley works in the multinational pharmaceutical corporation’s global supply organisation, providing guidance, direction, coaching and input for manufacturing sites across Europe, Asia and South America. Her work covers specific elements of quality system design and organisational enhancement to achieve effective product quality, alignment with Pfizer’s global quality standards and requirements for pharmaceutical manufacturing.
Shirley moves to this role from a one in quality assurance and governance for Pfizer, where her responsibilities extended to the supply chain organisation and 60+ country affiliates. After qualifying as a pharmacist, Shirley acquired experience in both hospital and community pharmacy sectors, before transitioning into manufacturing within the industry. Over time, Shirley moved into a Regional Quality Leader position, with responsibility for quality compliance across ten countries in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
I knew I wanted to make an impact in the pharmaceuticals industry from a young age, so spent some time trying to find where I fit
Although born in the United Kingdom, Shirley spent some of her formative years in Nigeria. This gave her an insight into adverse, sometimes fatal, consequences of inadequate, inaccessible and unaffordable of public healthcare. She credits this as the driving force behind her lifelong dedication to socially responsible, innovative healthcare solutions.
Shirley knew early in her career that she had ambitions to progress within the corporate world and didn’t feel a “natural predisposition” to entrepreneurship.
Reflecting on her career to date, Shirley decided that a broader business education would support her progression to executive management within a corporate environment. She wanted to build the skills to incorporate intrapreneurship into her current role and give her the insight required to explore entrepreneurship as an option in the future. To achieve this, Shirley joined the Cambridge Executive MBA programme in September 2017.
Strengthening skills in finance, management techniques and organisational behaviour
“By far the most impactful modules of the Cambridge Executive MBA, for me, were those in Financial Accounting & Analysis and Corporate Finance,” says Shirley. “I do not have a background in Finance and started the programme with very little knowledge in those areas. I now feel confident in my ability to articulate thoughts on these subjects in corporate and social environments.”
“Modules like Management Praxis and Organisational Behaviour have given me valuable frameworks which have been immediately applicable to day-to-day activities in my current role.”
“One of the key reasons I chose Cambridge was the diversity of the cohorts, across different elements,” Shirley continues. “This allowed for interesting and enlightening collaboration with peers of diverse heritages, residents from cities all over the world, and perspectives from a variety of industry sectors. This gave me a well-rounded, holistic and enriched learning experience.”
Don’t play it safe
As Shirley comes to the end of her time at Cambridge, what advice does she have for prospective Executive MBA applicants of the future?
“Don’t play it safe. The programme provides an opportunity to accelerate growth in your current role and equips you with tools to explore your passion or alternative pathways, all within a safe learning environment – you never know where it will take you!”
“I am leaving the programme a different person; a sentiment I’m sure will be echoed by the other members of my cohort!”