Ayesha Narula

Neeley is the catalyst.

Corporate chemist Ayesha Narula adds a TCU MBA for just the right reaction

Hometown: Dallas, Texas.
Former career: Worked as a chemist at Alcon.
Current Career: Associate financial analyst with Galderma.
Cool fact: She celebrates the birthdays of her dogs.

Why an MBA?: When she stopped learning new things in her lab job, she was ready for a new routine. “I went on a three-week tour of India and Thailand. That break really solidified that I didn’t want to work the rest of my life as a chemist. I needed to broaden the fields I could go into. As I switched careers, I knew the Neeley MBA would open more doors for me.”

The TCU difference: Although she considered the full range of MBA programs in Texas, TCU’s effort to help her achieve her goals stood out. “At some schools you got the impression you should be glad they let you in. But at TCU the message is ‘We’re glad you’re here, and we want to be partners in your success.’  One of my professors repeatedly passed on my resume to companies -- all on his own.  I never asked.  The fact that he’d do that is amazing.”

Off the beaten path: An unconventional background can be a plus in the job market, and in the classroom. The MBA emphasizes management-level decision making, not just technical knowledge, so that chemists, military officers and others can bring their distinctive expertise to class. “My experience as a chemist taught me how to work with a diverse group of people and helped me develop a lot of the analytical skills that I use in the classroom, as well as in my internship. Because I didn't have a business background coming in, I've really pushed myself to learn as much as possible—more so than I would have if I had the previous experience.”

Fast track: Most students wait until summer to work their internships, but Ayesha got a head start, thanks to TCU’s corporate connections. A mock interview with Galderma, a worldwide dermatological drug maker, led to an internship that lasted 18 months. “TCU has been a real game-changer. My resume before didn't have that impact, but now it has those bottom-line results companies look for.”

It pays to advertise: While developing corporate advertising materials for the National Rosacea Society newsletter during her internship, she learned that classic ad maxim: less is always more. But that’s tougher than it sounds. “You put yourself in the mind of the consumer. The challenge was not to put in too much medical jargon that average people wouldn’t read. When you know so much about the product, it’s hard to boil it down to essentials. It was fun working with the ad agency to figure out how to make that happen.”

Career focus: An interview for a consumer products position made her career goals crystal clear. “I realized that pharmaceuticals are something I feel a personal connection to. The products we produce help people see or walk or live longer. For me, selling Tide doesn’t have the same sense of purpose. I want to know what impact I’m having on people’s lives.”

Family matters: Is it possible to juggle an MBA with family life? Sure. With study time and an extended internship, her family made some adjustments. “My boyfriend has taken over all the responsibility. He cooks and does anything that needs doing. But when I come home, I’m studying, not just sitting on the sofa. Otherwise, he might complain a little! I do miss spending more time with my dogs though. One of them just had a birthday.”

Ayesha

“TCU has been a real game-changer. Before my resume didn't have that impact, but now it has those bottom-line results companies look for.”

  
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