Mais Najib (Executive MBA 2008) credits her choice to leave a job in a multinational pharmaceutical company in Copenhagen to go to business school in London, as the best decision of her life. We caught up with her at a recent alumni event in Paris to find out more about her experience in the sector and her advice for current students looking to follow in her footsteps.
What did you learn during your time at Imperial, in class or out?
“The best part of attending the EMBA programme at Imperial was learning about social entrepreneurship and business model innovation from other sectors. For example, I was fascinated by the microfinance model, as well as FMCG companies such as Unilever, who were developing for-profit business models to serve low-income segments in emerging markets. This has triggered my interest in exploring how major pharmaceutical corporations could potentially serve ‘base of the pyramid (BoP)’ markets in less developed countries, which was the focus of my MBA thesis project.”
What is your fondest memory of your time here?
“Meeting like-minded, highly-accomplished men and women from across the globe. Many of these people have become close friends of mine.”
Tell us a bit about the work you’re doing now.
“I have gained extensive industry experience in market access and health economics with blue-chip multinationals and international strategic health care consultancy in mature and emerging markets.
In November 2012, I joined Stallergenes as the ‘Director (Head) of Economic Affairs.’ Reporting directly to the Senior VP, I established the health economics business unit from scratch as part of a global pharmaceutical company specializing in respiratory allergies. Based on my previous experience in health economics and market access, it was an exciting opportunity for me to create an entity within a large French organization that was still undergoing significant growth, particularly in context of emerging markets.”
How do you feel your Imperial degree has helped you now that you’re based in France?
“Upon completion of my EMBA in December 2008, I joined Sanofi in January 2009. My salary more than doubled as a result. Since I work in the pharmaceutical industry, the ‘Imperial’ brand is also well-recognized.”
What are your plans for the future?
“I would like to continue building my experience in market access (and potentially public affairs) in the private sector, and then transition into the area of global health at some stage (for example a public-private partnership).”
What would be your advice for current students?
“Specialize in one area, and master it. Always believe in yourself, and never give up.
What’s the most difficult decision you’ve ever had to make?
“In 2006, I submitted my resignation at Novo Nordisk (Copenhagen) to go to business school in London, but it was the best decision of my life.”
What are you most proud of in your life?
“I am a traveller at heart. Apart from living in seven countries to date, and speaking six languages, I have explored other cultures across the globe. Last year, I climbed Macchu Picchu and Huayna Picchu (aka the 'Hike of Death') in Peru, which was an incredible experience. Several years ago, I spent one month volunteering at an HIV/AIDS NGO in southern India, which has reaffirmed my passion for improving healthcare access in developing countries.”
Do you have a favourite quote or saying?
“De toutes les émotions, la passion est celle qui nous donne une raison de vivre.”