Real Humans of Novartis: Gauri Korday, LBS ‘20, Associate, Finance Development Program
London Business School, the graduate business school of the University of London, is widely recognized for its international student body. Wanting to pivot both geographically and functionally, Mumbai-born Gauri Korday was drawn to the strong international cohort at LBS and decided to pursue her MBA there.
Growing up in a family of medical practitioners and pharmaceutical business entrepreneurs and with several years of experience in a pharmaceutical manufacturing business herself, Gauri Korday had always been passionate about science and innovation, but her time at LBS helped her test out different roles, locations and companies to make the most informed decision.
After her time as a project lead in a start-up company in London and then as a consultant at Bayer in Germany, Gauri determined that healthcare was definitely the industry for her and then landed a position at Novartis, one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in the world. Leveraging her degree from the London Business School, which has a notable track record of placing high numbers of graduates into careers in finance, Gauri then had the opportunity to join Novartis’ esteemed rotational program, the Finance Development Program. Here she is again able to explore different divisions, geographies and functions in a short time-period while keeping her two main passions — finance and healthcare — at the forefront.
In this edition of Real Humans: Alumni, we hear how the London Business School MBA helped Gauri Korday gain broader international exposure and build her network to attain her full-time career aspirations. Read on to see what she learned during the experience, what a career in healthcare has been like during the coronavirus pandemic, and more.
Gauri Korday, London Business School ’20, Associate, Finance Development Program at Novartis
Hometown: Mumbai, India
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Mumbai University: BE Mechanical Engineering
Graduate Business School, Graduation Year and Concentration: London Business School, MBA Class of 2020: Finance
Pre-MBA Work Experience: 3 years, pharmaceuticals manufacturing
Why did you choose to attend business school?
Growing up in a family of medical practitioners and pharmaceutical business entrepreneurs, I have always been passionate about science and innovation. Pre-MBA, I worked in a pharmaceutical manufacturing business in India and gained experience across technical operations, sales and business developments and quality management. This cross-functional experience and industry knowledge helped me immensely in my post-MBA goals.
Like many aspirants, I wished to switch careers and challenge myself in a global setting. I believed an MBA would open up opportunities to pivot both geographically and functionally, and it definitely did. Additionally, I wanted to gain broader international exposure and build my network for future career aspirations. As a graduate from a top B-school today, it is true that business school provides a platform to build competence in subject matters, helps you develop confidence and, most importantly, humbles you and keeps you grounded.
Why London Business School? Which factors influenced your decision?
After speaking with several alums, one thing that stood out was the strong international cohort at LBS. The school truly focuses on attracting diverse talent from across the globe. This culture and one-community feel really resonated with me. Besides, London opens up opportunities for career roles in the UK and across the EU.
What was your internship during business school? How did that inform your post-MBA career choice?
I took up two internships during the course of my MBA. I interned as a Project Lead in a start-up company, Veratrak, in London and as a consultant at Bayer in Germany. I was keen on testing different roles, locations and types of firms, and this helped me pursue my full-time goals.
Why did you choose to work for your current company?
Even pre-pandemic, I was convinced that healthcare was the industry for me. Novartis, one of the leading pharmaceutical companies, has an established rotational program called the Finance Development Program (FDP). As a Finance major at LBS and a health care enthusiast, I knew this was the perfect opportunity for me to explore and I am extremely glad it worked out. It was a big added plus that this role enables every individual to explore different divisions, geographies & functions in a shorter time-period. Additionally, the interactions and network built during the interview process itself spoke volumes about the strong culture of the firm.
How did your MBA experience prepare you for your current career?
The MBA is a two-year journey of self-exploration that helps you build your career aspirations. LBS provided me with several opportunities to improve my networking skills, be culturally mindful, and shape my perspectives and approach towards different challenges. The concentration in Finance helped me switch careers into a full-time Finance role. These learnings have prepared me to make the most out of my current finance rotational role at Novartis as I seek to learn through projects, roles and individuals across the firm.
How has COVID impacted your industry/career plans?
For me, working in the pharmaceutical industry was a way to improve the lives of patients and advance patient access. COVID-19 further helped strengthen this passion for the industry. Although COVID-19 impacted several industries, the healthcare industry was challenged differently. It forced the industry to innovate, collaborate and solve issues in the quickest way possible. I feel fortunate to be in this industry and to be part of the solution through a career at Novartis.
What advice would you give to a current MBA student?
Most of our cohort’s time at LBS was unaffected by COVID-19 but, unfortunately, like so many other students globally, our final term was impacted by the pandemic. It had us pinching ourselves and thinking ‘if only we had lived more in the moment’.
- Three points to keep in mind for all you MBA aspirants out there:
- Prioritize building relationships and memories while you are here. LBS has given me a lifelong network of inspirational and authentic friends from over 70 nationals. The memories made in each classroom, trek and student clubs are worth cherishing.
- Recruiting is a journey, it is arduous and stressful, but trust yourself and the process. Eventually, you will find ways to get closer to your dream role. And, don’t let the career stress takeaway the fun aspects of the MBA.
- Be open-minded and test different things. It can be a new sport, hobby, interest, course or a new industry itself. The resources and support system at a top B-school will help you build traits and qualities you have always aspired to.
Learn about more business school alumni like Gauri Korday by exploring our Real Humans: Alumni series.