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How the MBA in International Healthcare Management has defined my career
MBA in International Healthcare Management / 7 November 2022
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MBA IHM Class of 2021
Catia currently works as a Clinical Operations Lead in Roche. She is passionate about improving patient lives & global Health. She began her career as a researcher in Lisbon and then moved to Basel to work at Novartis for more over 7 years. As a part of her current role in Roche, she is focused on creating patient-centric solutions for clinical trials. She is an alumna from our MBA in International Healthcare Management Class 2021.

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A key factor of the MBA International Healthcare Management programme at Frankfurt School is developing advanced and flexible management skills, which are nowadays fundamental in this volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world we are living in.

An international experience

During the programme, I not only developed and improved my understanding of the healthcare market but also met and networked with a cohort of different viewpoints, cultures, values and ways of working. This intercultural experience has made me more effective when addressing problems and challenges in my work environment.

The internationality does not end in the classroom: the different modules allowed me to gain much-needed insights into the healthcare systems of various regions, each with its own opportunities and challenges, such as Europe, the USA, the Middle East, and Asia. One can read about these vastly different markets on paper. Still, nothing compares to being able to experience the various global macro-healthcare models at the epicentres along with a brilliant faculty, which have inspired me and my work like no other. The opportunity to experience the various global healthcare systems at the epicentres, along with a brilliant faculty, is incomparable.

Considering the many challenges and changes in the pharmaceutical industry, my MBA prepared me to keep developing further in this field. Healthcare is changing, and so are the demands for healthcare leaders. With this MBA programme, you will gain the insights and connections needed in your future career as a healthcare leader.

Providing equal access to healthcare for all patients

I have always been passionate about improving patient lives and global health, following one long-term goal of providing equal access to healthcare for all patients. This motto has constantly shaped and defined my career in this exciting field. Born and raised in Portugal, I followed my fascination and studied a master’s degree in Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Lisbon, Portugal.

I began my career as a researcher in Lisbon and then moved in 2013 to Basel, working for Novartis as a Chemist Trainee, focusing on analysis, analytical data recording and classifying. I then took over many different research positions as a Scientific Associate, developing experimental protocols and analytic methods used in drug studies, focusing on Mass Spectrometry and Radioactivity. In 2016, I moved on to my first managerial position as a Global Trial Manager in Oncology and was promoted to Senior Global Trial Manager in 2019.

Over my seven and a half years at Novartis, I was able to advance myself to many different roles, change my career path from science to clinical trial management and adapt to different teams with diverse work tasks and advanced technologies. It should be noted that during my career, I have been continuously studying, and I completed Advance studies in Clinical Trial Practice Management for 2 years programme at the University of Basel while working in parallel.

How my career has developed

After starting the MBA programme, I applied for some select positions. I immediately got the opportunity to join a competitor pharmaceutical company, Roche, where I am still working since November 2020 as a Clinical Operations Lead. I truly believe that being an MBA candidate was an asset in obtaining this position, as during the interview process, I could show my motivated character of learning more within the healthcare environment which can strongly contribute to the current position moving forward.

As a part of my current role, I am proud to say that besides the tasks related to clinical trial management, I have also been focusing on creating patient-centric solutions for clinical trials, contributing to patient benefits by ensuring clinical trials are suited for patients in need, while also identifying and addressing critical in-trial support for patients, generating high-quality evidence data, and ultimately improving patient trial experience.

Another remarkable goal I achieved during the MBA programme was my thesis, focusing on the research of identifying and tackling barriers to the conduction of clinical trials in low and middle-developing countries, namely African countries. This has strongly impacted my current role, enabling me to develop my career further.

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