Swapna Kondapuram (MBA.11) has held prestigious posts at several international companies in the telecom and healthcare sectors in India, Europe and Southeast Asia, including Honeywell, Sanofi, GSK and Novartis. She is currently the Director for Consumer Health, Clinical and Real-World Evidence for IQVIA— a global Fortune 500 company serving the life-sciences industry — at its Asia-Pacific headquarters in Singapore.
Why did you choose a career in the healthcare sector?
My background is in life sciences, particularly microbiology and chemistry, but when I was trying to decide what my professional path should be, I realized that I was really passionate about understanding consumers and the business of healthcare. Working in the healthcare sector, especially the consumer-health side of the industry, allows me to combine these two interests. I strongly believe that innovation drives them both.
I’ve had a wide range of cross-functional experiences in consumer health, from launching new products to developing regional strategies and integrating new businesses. My current role at IQVIA has brought me back even more to science and R&D, since it involves both clinical and real-world research in consumer health and selfcare.
Is Singapore a good base for business?
Singapore is an amazing place to work and live. Multinational companies in many sectors have set up their Asia-Pacific headquarters here, so there are excellent opportunities to connect with others in the same field and to stay on top of new developments. Singapore’s government is business-friendly, puts the focus on innovation and R&D, and provides extensive support for start-ups. Many entrepreneurs from all over the world are setting up businesses here. I’ve found that Singapore also offers equal opportunities for female executives. I’d recommend Singapore as a great choice for HEC graduates.
What made you decide to get your MBA at HEC?
I had been employed by Honeywell in India, in the telecom sector, and part of my job was working with clients in France. When I decided to get an MBA, France was on my radar. I had already gained a lot of experience in the unique challenges of an emerging market, which offers growth potential but where it’s sometimes hard to make things happen, and I wanted to learn more about developed markets. I have extended family in the US and the UK, but I preferred to get my MBA in Europe, where I would be able to earn my degree in less time. This was a big advantage not only financially but also because I didn’t want to interrupt my career for too long.
I was attracted to HEC because of its strong MBA program and great reputation, and moreover I was awarded the Eiffel scholarship for achievers from emerging countries, which was a great financial support.
How has your HEC training helped you in your career?
Going to HEC was a turning point for me. I not only developed new business skills, but I also learned how to blend my interests in science and business by beginning a new career in the healthcare sector. My HEC training and internships, including at Sanofi and LFB in France, really helped me to find my feet professionally. Being part of the HEC community also gave me the chance to benefit from the trust HEC alumni have in young graduates at the beginning of their careers. I’m grateful for the support of the international HEC network, and for the past six months I’ve served on the board of the HEC alumni chapter here in Singapore. We are organizing events to bring all HEC graduates together. It’s a young group, and we welcome new members!
HEC Hommes & Commerce
This story was originally featured in the October-November 2018 issue of Hommes et Commerce, the official HEC Paris Alumni magazine. Every two months, HEC magazine offers interviews, expertise and testimonials from HEC Paris' unique community of alumni. Subscribe here to receive 6 annual issues of HEC Hommes & Commerce and to access exclusive video, podcast and photo content available only to members.