Finishing an MBA with the Support of Cohorts and Co-Workers
Q. What do you do at Gilead?
A. I manage the Corporate IT team supporting Research, Pharmaceutical Development, and Corporate Quality. My group consists of project managers and systems managers who provide project delivery capability and operational support for key Gilead software systems.
Q. Why and how did you choose to pursue your degree at GGU?
A. I’ve long wanted to go to graduate school, but various factors always conspired against it: career, family, etc. Soon after I joined Gilead, I learned that a new GGU-Gilead MBA cohort was being initiated and I submitted my application. My functional area management supported my candidacy and I was accepted to the program. The fact that GGU offered this MBA cohort in association with Gilead Sciences has really helped me to learn a great deal about the other functional areas within the company. My colleagues and I have been working through this program together for the last 2.5 years, and we’ve grown very close. In my cohort are Gilead folks from Med Chem, Drug Metabolism, Biometrics, IP, Pharmaceutical Development, IT, Contracts & Finance, Corporate Development, etc. It’s been incredible to work through cases with such a broad range of professionals from within the company, and it’s really served to flesh out my understanding of our company and our industry.
Q. How long did it take you to complete? How did you manage your busy schedule?
A. The Gilead MBA cohort takes two years and nine months to complete. I’m part of the third cohort of Gilead employees to complete an MBA via the partnership with GGU. I managed to get through it with a lot of late nights.
Q. Was your degree helpful to your career?
A. Yes — I am certain that this degree will be helpful for my career. The course material is generally very relevant and contemporaneous. For example, much of the discussion from Professor Friedman’s Economics course in the fall of 2008 revolved around the economic crisis that was unfolding. The Business, Society, and Government course that just concluded with Professor Stevenson used the Toyota recall as an ongoing and fluid case study that we observed from many angles over the course of the semester. Though I enjoyed many of the courses offered in the MBA program, my favorites were Economics with Professor Friedman, Operations Management with Professor Rageh, and Project Management with Professor Johnstone. The three professors are as top-flight as you’ll find in any university.
Q. What motivates you?
A. It’s a great feeling to know that my day-to-day work directly contributes to Gilead’s core mission of discovering and developing therapeutics that advance patient care. I take a lot of satisfaction from giving my all at a company that makes a hugely positive impact in the lives of millions of people worldwide.
Q. What would you tell someone considering getting a degree while working?
A. Go for it. The journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step. Prepare for some late nights. You can do it.