Congratulations to Sumant Ramachandra, WG’09, who was recently named one of the 100 most inspiring people by Pharma Voice. With an MD and PhD already under his belt, he entered Wharton’s EMBA program to gain a business education and transition from technologist to business leader. We asked Sumant, who is now the chief scientific officer of Hospira Inc. in Lake Forest, Ill., to tell us more about how his Wharton education has impacted his career. Here’s what he had to say:
“When I started to think about MBA programs, I was at Schering-Plough and my work was transitioning from the clinical side to the business side. I really wanted to become savvier and create value from what we were doing on the science side. To do that, I needed an MBA with a strong focus on finance and economics.
“My mentor at the company (David A. Piacquad, WG’84) was an alumnus of the full-time Wharton MBA program and encouraged me to look into Wharton’s MBA Program for Executives. The CEO and chairman of Schering-Plough at the time, Fred Hassan, also was very supportive so I applied to Wharton, which is known for its strong quantitative focus.
“Wharton’s EMBA program exceeded my expectations. I’m someone whose learning is accelerated by understanding others’ view of the materials and the executive MBA format was ideal. Not only did the professors bring real-world experience into the classroom, but we also benefitted from frequent guest speakers who shared their experiences. Add to that my teammates who were superb, and you have a recipe for success.
“Towards the end of my first year in the program, I started a new position at Hospira, leading its R&D division globally. It was tough to start a brand new job that required travelling all over the world while I was finishing school. I suddenly was responsible for hundreds of people’s employment in a crashing economy and delivering a portfolio of products that equaled hundreds of millions of dollars. In addition, I was commuting to Wharton from Chicago instead of New Jersey.
“Needless to say it was a challenging year, but in the end very worthwhile. To my wife’s chagrin, I still keep all of my notes and textbooks at home because they are that useful. And I refer back to what I learned at Wharton all the time.
“The program was great training for me as a technologist in that it prepared me to become a business leader. It allowed me to take my technical knowledge and become a better manager with the financial skills to lead an investment portfolio that drives the future of the company. I’ll never lose the technical side, but I’ve added to the business side and made myself more relevant.
“My Wharton MBA also was a factor in my recent nomination to the Pharma Voice list by both Fred Hassan and the current chairman of Hospira, Chris Begley. They believe in the value I bring to the table as a technologist trying to make things practical for the world of business. I’m a clinician who understands that creating therapies and devices for patient care has a value associated with it and I want to help the company I work for reap the benefits of that work.”
Thanks to Sumant for sharing his experiences. Read the full Pharma Voice article here.
You also can read more about Sumant at: http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/9d37abfc#/9d37abfc/134 and