MBA student profile: Meredith Edwards

29 October 2020
Written by Dr Meredith Edwards
MBA student and Alek Safarian scholarship recipient, Dr Meredith Edwards, talks about why she decided to study an MBA and what she hopes to get out of it after completing her first year of study.
Photo of Dr Meredith Edwards

Dr Meredith Edwards, current MBA student and Associate Medical Director, Innovative Medicines at Bristol Myers Squibb

I have wanted to do an MBA for a long-time, however my reasons for this have changed.

After completing my medical degree, my next steps were unclear after I struggled to find my place in the clinical setting (I have since learnt that what I was looking for, in fact, was my ikigai).

Advice I received at the time was to do an MBA to facilitate the discovery of, and transition to, alternate non-clinical career paths. Having now started my MBA I can see why that advice was sound; the breadth of the course, together with its networking opportunities and alumni community provide a tremendous career launchpad. However, back then I was living in France and exploring the non-clinical healthcare setting ‘on the job’. It didn’t seem feasible to add studies to the mix, especially given the intensive effort I was also putting in trying to get up to scratch with the French language!

Over time, my focus gradually narrowed as I discovered a passion for the development of medicines. The cycle of scientific discovery to commercialisation and back to further investment in research and development is fascinating and challenging. All stages of this process involve people with such diverse skill sets and experiences coming together to solve complex problems with the common goal of innovating to improve patient outcomes and public health. I love working in this space, and specifically at the intersection of science, medicine and business.

Having found where I wanted to be, my reasons for doing an MBA became much more targeted. I wanted to learn as many business and leadership skills and tools I could to help me do my job better. 

I was fortunate enough to be awarded the Alek Safarian MBA Scholarship which has been an incredible opportunity to gain these learnings for which I am very grateful.

The first year of my MBA

Combining studies with work is never easy but the sacrifice has been worth it. I have learnt a tremendous amount in my first year, and can’t wait for what’s to come. I have (almost) completed three modules: Leadership Practice and Development, Coaching and Performance Management, and Data Analytics and Modelling.

These modules have been a real mix of hard and soft skills and have always stayed relevant and applicable. I did not expect to be learning so many things that I could immediately put into practice at work which has been a real upside.

I have also found the interactions with my fellow students to be very rewarding. Our diverse industry and professional backgrounds, levels of experiences, and perspectives really broadens the thinking and learnings in all the group work we do. In my first group project we had team members from the finance sector, Facebook, a marketer, a lawyer, an actor and a trader - it was amazing!

Leaning in to my ‘future anything’

Approaching the end of year one, the interesting thing is that the MBA is not only delivering on the targeted learning I sought, but is reconnecting me with a sense of exploration and discovery. Only this time, it is not about finding where I fit in the now, but rather how I will contribute to the creation of the future.

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