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Bhavana Reddy

Bhavana Reddy

2010 MBA graduate

"Be prepared to work hard. It’s an intensive but worthwhile commitment. My background as a pharmacist is clinical by nature but the MBA opened up my thinking, gave me a broader perspective, and strengthened my competency and understanding of strategic management."

Career history pre-MBA

Tell us what you were doing when you started the MBA:

My Dad is a GP, so I think that was a huge influential factor in me going in to healthcare. I had looked at studying dentistry and medicine before and it wasn’t until I did a placement with a Pharmacist during a work placement scheme during school that I found my calling.

I studied my BSc (Pharmacy) at Sunderland University and worked in a clinical setting after graduating. In 2007, I was working as Head of Prescribing Support (Regional Drug and Therapeutics Centre) at Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trusts. It was during this role that I secured funding to embark on my Executive MBA. 

Why did you choose to study your MBA?

During my time as Head of Prescribing Support my role became more business in nature. I was heading up a team of 10 people and had had no formal management training. I wanted to broaden my perspective and understanding of management and business, especially because my career to date was clinical. 

I was also looking to gain a better understanding of strategic management which I felt the MBA would give.

Career history post-MBA

What has your career been like post-MBA?

During my time studying the MBA my manager -Director of Pharmacy, went on maternity leave so I stepped up to her role. Following my graduation she once again went on maternity leave, so I was covering her the role for approximately two and a half years.

I then felt like I needed a new challenge and that’s when I applied for the job I am in now; Specialist Pharmacist Adviser at Medicines Diagnostics and Personalised Medicine Policy Team, NHS England.

Please describe what your current role entails:

Most of my work is now based out of Leeds and London. In my role, I influence and inform medicines policy on a national level for the NHS. One element of the role is developing policies around medicines that the NHS will need to implement for example, looking at the national level of prescribing of antibiotics and developing policies around appropriate use and reducing inappropriate prescribing of these.

I ultimately develop policies that are best for the patients and the NHS while making savings for the NHS.

In my current role, I am the only one out of a team (of 15) who has a clinical background, so I input a lot of this knowledge in to what we do, it is the first time I have worked with people who just have policy-making background so it is a really interesting dynamic.

Whilst the work that I do benefits patients I do sometimes wish I had more day to day contact with patients on a personal level, it is something I definitely miss from my clinical days. I do have a limited amount of interactions with patients through the conversations we have with them regarding policies we are looking to implement, as this is an important part of what we do, but I wish it was more.

How do you feel the MBA contributed to your career?

I think the MBA gave me the opportunity to apply for a Leadership role on a national level and will benefit me when should I want to progress further in this field.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I’m proud of the work that I’ve done to help patients in getting the most out of their medicines through my various roles – either directly when I was running face to face clinics or through developing guidance or now national policy. I’m also proud of having achieved the MBA.

What’s next?

I love working on a national level, I love what I do and I feel like I am making a difference every day. I want to stay on and progress, but that may unfortunately mean moving permanently down to London.

I loved having the opportunity to travel, we visited Santiago and Warsaw during the programme to meet different organisations and experience different business cultures as part of our international study trips.

Your degree

Why did you choose to study at Newcastle University and what did you most like about the city?

When I decided to do my MBA, I did look around and go to a couple of open days, but it was the passion of the staff here at Newcastle that sold the degree. I remember Jo Berry talking to me about past cohorts and what they’ve gone on to do and it just seemed perfect for me. The international study trips may have persuaded me too!

What did you think of your MBA experience?

I thought it was great, I had a wonderful time. I loved having the opportunity to travel, we visited Santiago and Warsaw during the programme to meet different organisations and experience different business cultures as part of our international study trips- I would never have had this experience if I didn’t do the MBA.

I also loved our cohort, we had a really strong bond. We used to spend so many intense days together, working hard, and then reward ourselves down the pub at the end of the week!

I actually thought during my time studying that I wanted to leave the NHS and go in to a health consultancy role, because this is what the MBA can do for you, you can change your career. I wanted to branch out and was exposed to so many new things, it was interesting and an area I wanted to explore. However, after stepping up during my manager’s maternity leave and realising the potential there was within the NHS for me, I felt I could have more of an impact within the NHS so I decided to stay- I am glad I did.

What do you think makes the Newcastle MBA special?

I really remember the Global Business module and I actually took my dissertation back in to the NHS implement change from it. I loved being able to bring a real problem that I was seeing in the workplace and make change to this through my studies. My dissertation was focused on keeping our young and talented recruits in the NHS, keeping them interested and improving communications across the board. Many of my recommendations were implemented and were very successful, that was really rewarding. 

What lecturers/tutors/staff do you remember well from your time at Newcastle?

I think a special mention needs to go to Jo Berry who was so enthusiastic and passionate about the Newcastle course.

Giving back

What advice would you give to someone considering doing an MBA?

It’s an intensive but worthwhile commitment. Support from your employer is also important.

Be prepared to work hard and play hard!

Since graduating, have you kept in touch with classmates?

A couple, via Facebook and we do attempt to get together at least once a year.

For what reasons do you think it is important for alumni to be involved with the Business School?

I think it’s useful for alumni to be involved with the business school so current graduates can see the diversity of careers that they have and they can give them real world perspectives on what the MBA could do for them.