Swati Patel ’08S (MBA)
Specialist Leader (Senior Manager), Deloitte Consulting LLP
|While working as a clinical pharmacist, |
Swati Patel realized she wanted to
make a career change. She says her
Simon degree offers her business
Patel has a unique background. By combining her doctorate of pharmacy with a Simon MBA, she brings analytical skills to an industry often in need of a deliberate, measured approach to business. She credits her interest in such an approach to her former boss, Tom O’Brien, who served as chief pharmacy officer for the University of Rochester Medical Center.
“I had obtained my pharmacy degree from the University of Buffalo and was working as a clinical pharmacist,” says Patel. “I was looking for my next career move, and decided to go to law school to specialize in patents. Tom refused to let me leave and insisted I check out the Simon School right across the street.”
As it turned out, Patel’s Canadian citizenship meant she couldn’t be both a full-time employee and a full-time student. “Simon’s part-time program was a perfect fit, and I was sold on the world-class reputation of the School,” Patel says. She kept her job, studied part time, and began what would be a 180-degree change in direction.
“My father was a chemist, so I was exposed to science early on,” she says. When selecting coursework, Patel deliberately chose to focus on finance. “It challenged me to examine problems in new ways, and the combination of business and science ultimately differentiated me from my peers. The pivotal step was getting my MBA.”
Patel originally thought she would use her business degree to become a pharmacy director, but her exposure to Simon’s alumni network changed her mind. She accepted a management consulting offer after she earned her MBA, and she’s enjoyed consulting ever since. “I work directly with senior leadership at some of the largest health care institutions in the nation,” she says. “My Simon degree earned me instant recognition and credibility.”
At least once a week, she uses concepts learned in an Operations class at Simon. “It was a required class where we used a software program to simulate maximum throughput of a widget over 24 hours,” she says. “I hated doing it and thought it was just for software types. But the mindset I learned in that class is now part of my toolkit when working to minimize costs. I even find myself thinking about how to optimize grocery store operations when I shop!”
If Patel has any advice for students, it would be to invest in building strong relationships with peers and professors.
“I wish I had spent more time getting beyond a superficial level,” she notes. “In most any environment, you can learn a job by being there day after day. But the social connections will take you much further in your career.”
To de-stress, Patel bakes what she calls “healthy cookies” and enjoys spending time with her two-year-old son. She and her husband love the flexibility consulting has provided to enjoy their favorite leisure activity: traveling.