Lalit’s MBA learning journey
Cambridge Venture Project client: Cambridge Enterprise
Global Consulting Project client: JT International SA
Concentration: Health Strategies
Extra-curricular activities: Organising committee for TEDx Oxbridge 2014 and finalist for the Oxbridge Biotech Roundtable case competition 2014
Why the Cambridge MBA?
I was looking for a well-respected programme that would offer me a focused, rigorous educational experience in one year, as I was quite clear on my general direction of travel after the MBA. However, I wanted that education to extend beyond coursework and projects, to the learning that would inevitably come from the people and places I would encounter along the way. This was why I eventually selected Cambridge, and as an alumnus, I can confirm that I found the Business School to excel at creating that outstanding “MBA experience” I was seeking.
How was your Global Consulting Project experience?
Phenomenal. For my GCP, I chose to try something completely different from anything I had done or was planning to do. I picked a team with almost nothing in common in regards to cultural or professional backgrounds, and we worked together to build an actionable growth strategy for the cigar division of a global tobacco firm. Among my takeaways were understanding the dynamics of an industry that was well past its prime, and learning the intricacies of Japanese business culture. The GCP really demonstrated to me, the astonishing effectiveness of learning by doing.
What inspired your career direction?
Prior to the Cambridge MBA, I worked as a scientist in pharmaceutical development and while I knew that I wanted to stay connected to healthcare in the long term, I went in with an open mind as to what exactly I would be doing. By means of the coursework and speakers in the Healthcare concentration, I encountered different ways of engaging with this industry – from management consulting to finance and startups. In the end, my decision was swayed by an internship opportunity at Novartis – where I began my career as a pharmaceutical marketer.
Your plans for the next five years?
My goal is to lead teams within the commercial sphere of the pharmaceutical industry. I see an industry that is in the midst of a painful transition from a phase where the traditional FMCG buyer-seller model was king, to one where it must take a much broader view of its responsibility to society, given the rapidly changing demographics and health of the world. I want to be a leader that will catalyse this change in the next five to ten years.
The Cambridge MBA in three words…
Enlightening, demanding, unforgettable.
Any advice to incoming students?
The same that I was given on my first day – don’t forget to look up! It might feel like you have been thrown into the wash cycle, but trust in yourself, lean on the support network around you, and you will land on your feet. The bonds you make with your classmates and the School will last for a while, so say “yes” a lot, even when it feels uncomfortable, and give it all you have – you will be thankful for it once you’re back in the real world!
University of Illinois at Chicago, USA
Senior Research Associate, Ionis Pharmaceuticals
Brand Manager, Novartis
Current country of residence