The pharmaceutical industry in India is facing new challenges as it continues to grow. Keeping this in mind, Ahmedabad University has collaborated with the University of California San Diego to launch global executive MBA degree in pharmaceutical management.

Pankaj Chandra, vice chancellor, Ahmedabad University, shared his insights on the necessity and the potential outcomes of the course. Excerpts from an email interaction:

Q. Why collaborate particularly with University of California, San Diego?

Both San Diego and Ahmedabad are strong clusters of new pharmaceutical innovation and related development. The University of California San Diego is among the finest centres of research and development in biotechnology, pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences.

The Rady School of Management at the University of California San Diego is unique in developing ethical and entrepreneurial leaders, qualities that exemplify inspirational leadership.

These leaders are looked upon to make a positive impact in the world through innovation, collaboration and integrative knowledge. The pharmaceutical industry needs such leaders to realise its intrinsic growth potential. We deem well-rounded development of students and see the integration of different disciplines as crucial for solving society’s knotty problems.

Alongside, UC San Diego brings with itself phenomenal intellectual depth in promoting high quality education and interdisciplinary research. The partnership is a natural collaboration of capabilities and expertise that complement each other to cater to the needs of the pharmaceutical industry, not just in India, but across the globe.

Q. What will be the outcome of this collaboration?

Ahmedabad University is in the capital of pharma industry in India. Strong capability sets in these areas coupled with India’s growing importance in the industry, provided an opportunity to design a programme that defines what a mid-career manager needs in order to grow their enterprise in future.

The jointly created global executive MBA programme will enable working professionals in the pharmaceutical sector to develop the next generation of action-oriented leaders, who understand the ethical expectations that societies have of them while building organisational competencies linked to agile action, coordination across functions and related decision making.

The programme weaves developments in science, technology and social impact within a managerial framework.

Q. What can students expect from the global executive MBA degree in pharmaceutical management for working professionals?

This programme will be led by distinguished faculty from India and abroad, who are experts in various fields like business leadership, management, digital and medical technology, data science, and biological and life sciences and pharmaceutical sectors.

Students will be able to sharpen their strategic and leadership capabilities, learn to align R&D and technology development to commercial operations, and lastly improve organisational agility for leadership in pharmaceutical industry.

The course curriculum is designed in a unique way and will be delivered through a combination of master classes, case studies, simulations, collaborative workshops, one-onone coaching and a capstone project, all aimed to enhance students’ professional performance and sharpen their managerial capabilities.

Q. What is different about the course?

This is a domain specific programme rather than a generic MBA offered by most institutions. A programme of this kind brings in disciplinary strengths of the two partner universities — expertise that cut across different schools that are co-located in a university.

Our access to wide spectrum of research expertise in applied sciences, technology and management enables us to create a curriculum which cannot be matched by stand-alone business schools.

In India, many stand-alone management schools are unable to bring together, this kind of knowledge that draws from different disciplines that are co-located only in a university and one that is industry specific.

Hence, this joint programme will be distinguished with respect to domain-centricity, and among the best available programmes, globally, for working professionals.

Q. What does the university aim to achieve through the course?

The programme aims to empower existing mid-career working professionals in the pharmaceutical sector with leadership skills to enhance their decision-making capabilities. It is a specialised course and unique in its way of design and execution.

Q. How will the course contribute to the pharmaceutical industry?

The pharmaceutical industry is projected to grow USD 55 billion by 2020. In allied sectors like pharmaceuticals, health care and life sciences there is a rapidly evolving scenario where pharmaceutical sciences, bio-technology, information technology and analytics are redefining how drugs are getting discovered, developed and delivered effectively and efficiently to the ever-growing demand side pressures.

Indian pharmaceutical industry faces new challenges as large firms globally start to acquire generic firms and as the pipeline of potential generic drugs shrinks.

There is a need to redefine existing practices, introduce new technologies and encourage performance driven culture.It is essential for the market leaders to showcase global competencies and be focused on research and development.

The course is designed to address these needs. This is a programme that will not only be attractive for Indian firms but will also attract managers globally given the unique modular structure of the programme. This will benefit Indian firms even more.