Latest Technology and Quality of Education Made me Choose SP Jain School of Global Management, Says Dr Thomas
My name is Dr. Thomas. I have a PhD in immunology and presently, I am the Medical & Scientific Affairs manager (Asia Pacific) for, schülke & Mayr. Many raised their eyebrows when they saw my name card, and the questions I received are, “Are you doing research?” and/or “What do you do as a Medical Affairs (MA) person?”. The latter laid upon the common perception that most PhD holders will either teach or carry out research in an institute of higher education. I am no exception to this narrow perception when I was doing my PhD, thinking that university is where my career will lie. Little did I realise, the knowledge and training in science will bring me beyond the common grounds of academia into the ‘healthcare industry’ I loved.
1. How did you choose your course of study and what made you choose the college?
The program I have embarked with SP Jain School of Global Management is the Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA). Before deciding on SP Jain, I considered other schools. I started my journey with SP Jain at the end of 2021, at a time when different countries are still embroiled in sporadic outbreaks of COVID-19 infections. In Singapore, social distancing measures have started to ease but travelling (then) was still not permitted. Based on the presented challenges from COVID-19, it wasn’t a difficult choice to select SP Jain as my school of choice – First, SP Jain was able to demonstrate its readiness in supporting digital learning by having a proprietary online teaching interface named Engaged Learning Online (ELO) technology. The providence of this gave a big assurance to me that learning will not be disrupted should COVID-19 worsen, and physical classes are not permitted. Second, it is one of the few private business schools with a physical campus in Singapore that is equipped with essential facilities, such as a library, study areas (plenty of them) and easy access to lecturers when a problem arises. Finally, the EMBA program provided by SP Jain is also recognized as the top 15 best EMBA programs in Singapore (MBA Today). Doing an EMBA is a big decision that requires immense financial and physical commitment. Therefore, it is prudent to enroll in a reputable school with an established track records to maximize your time and money. And in this case, SP Jain is my choice!
2. How do you think the EMBA will impact your career or what path do you envision for yourself post the EMBA?
For me, an EMBA is a perfect degree that complimented my scientific expertise, helping me become the complete package. Not only did I obtain the necessary business knowledge but also the various soft skills which are essential when it comes to progression to the next level of my career in MA. Using my credentials from my EMBA and together with my scientific expertise, I believe that I am in an excellent position to lead high-impact medical and scientific affairs initiatives in the APAC region (or globally) for my company.
3. What else would you want to do if given a chance? How has your college experience changed you as a person? And What would your advice be for the new students?
The ability to amalgamate science with business is crucial in my role and it’s something I yearned for since PhD. The rapidly evolving nature of MA in becoming a strategic pillar within the pharmaceutical industries is demanding business acumen in MA professionals. In specific to myself, the ‘scope of capabilities’ required within the MA is something that I am following closely to enhance my skills and competencies. The immediate steps taken are to increase my business knowledge through enrolment into EMBA to acquire business acumen/knowledge to broaden my strategic vision.
The journey through this program has provided an avenue for greater self-realization through the demands of the curriculum. Our ability to work under pressure, how quickly we can learn, and how well we can manage time even when our timetable looks impossible, were all being put to the test. It turns out to be the best ‘situational training’ since this is exactly what is going to happen when one moves up into higher management. Now, managing a tight schedule doesn’t seem so daunting anymore and I am more composed when it comes to difficult deadlines, both in study and work.
My advice to anyone who is thinking of doing an EMBA is to be prudent in assessing what they really want from an EMBA program – is it to prepare themself for a career change? Or is it for knowledge enhancement? A clear vision of the reason to embark on an EMBA journey will ultimately become your yardstick and driving force towards the successful completion of this rewarding program.
4. What are your key learnings from the course, and do you think MBA can be a steppingstone to higher positions?
Doing a master’s degree in a completely different discipline has not been the easiest thing to do. In class, I am the only person with a scientific background with the majority of my classmates in shipping, oil and gas, IT, finance and semiconductor industries. The diversity seen in my classroom helps to make learning very interesting. It opens my eyes to other industries I have no previous exposure to, and their views and comments have been extremely valuable to class learning. The demands from the study (and work) are a test of resilience but never had I regretted doing an EMBA with SP Jain School of Global Management. Importantly, I can apply the learnings in class directly to my work the very next day, to see an immediate benefit to my organisation. Now, I can have a productive and in-depth conversation with my commercial counterparts without (any) struggles, and the business learnings in the EMBA have allowed me to analyse problems through the lens of both scientific and commercial perspectives. The learning in class has also equipped me with the necessary communication skills and tools when it comes to high-level commercial discussions. I am more competent when it comes to business knowledge, and I am poised to make better and more balanced decisions, covering both science and business requirements without compromising either. My EMBA was kindly sponsored by schülke & Mayr, so I am eager to contribute back to them. Using my credentials from my EMBA and together with my scientific expertise, I believe that I am in an excellent position to lead high-impact medical and scientific affairs initiatives in the Asia Pacific region (or globally).
About the Author:
Dr Thomas is currently studying Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) at SP Jain School of Global Management
Note: The views expressed in this article are solely the author’s own and do not reflect/represent those of Shiksha
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