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MBA to open new doors for accomplished pharmacist

8 February 2019
New Alek Safarian scholarship offers scientists business skills
A School of Pharmacy alumna Emily Reilly Vale is to join the Business School’s top ranking MBA Program with the support of a new scholarship reserved for pharmacy, pharmacology, medicine, nursing and science graduates.
Emily Reilly Vale

Alek Safarian MBA Scholarship recipient Emily Reilly Vale

Emily Reilly Vale is a clinical pharmacist with expertise in oncology and a career on what has been described as an "impressive trajectory." But in her own words, Emily is "yearning for new skills and knowledge, primarily in business."

For this reason, she is about to join the University of Sydney Business School’s top ranking part-time MBA program as the inaugural recipient of the Alek Safarian MBA Scholarship.

Emily, who works with the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, believes the MBA will give her "greater fluency in the language of business, extend her leadership skills and strengthen her business acumen."

Having business qualifications coupled with my healthcare background will enable me to better perform in my current medical affairs role by bringing business strategy and concepts to the forefront to complement my scientific expertise.

"I also envisage that an MBA will open new doors and afford me new opportunities within the pharmaceutical industry, not only because of the qualification itself, but through the relationships that I may make with the skilled professionals in my MBA cohort."

Describing Emily as "a most worthy recipient of the inaugural Alek Safarian MBA scholarship," the Dean of the School of Pharmacy, Professor Andrew McLachlan, said she demonstrated "a mature understanding of the challenges and opportunities in the pharmaceutical industry and the sector’s broader impact on health."

Emily’s scholarship is funded from a $1.4 million donation to the Business School made by Alek Safarian, a University of Sydney alumnus and the founder of the multinational contract research firm, Novotech.

The Alek Safarian MBA Scholarship is reserved for pharmacy, pharmacology, medicine, nursing or science graduates who wish to join the Business School’s part-time MBA, ranked as Australia’s number one program of its kind by the Australian Financial Review’s BOSS magazine.

"My academic path, through pharmacy first then an MBA, has served me well professionally and personally," Mr Safarian said when announcing the scholarship. "Through this gift I hope to encourage new students to find their own success by going down a similar path, and under the same conditions that I was able to enjoy all those years ago."

Professor McLachlan said that Emily embodied "many of the attributes articulated in Alek’s vision for this scholarship and I am confident that she will not only be successful, but is a future leader in the medicines industry."

Emily says she chose the University of Sydney’s MBA program because of its focus on leadership skills and experiential learning.

"Scientifically we know that the most effective way to engage the brain is by discussing, practicing and sharing with others," she said. "Studying an MBA alongside fulltime work will provide me with the advantage of being able to learn a range of concepts and then apply them in my workplace."

"The Sydney program also provides a unique opportunity to learn and develop through exposure to talented and experienced staff and peers," Emily concluded. "This is particularly important with soft skills, as it is through actively practicing that they will become second nature."

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