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‘Have a backup plan that compliments your strengths or skills’

Aashna Jha, an alumna of Apeejay Kharghar and a Research Analyst at Cetas Healthcare, says no matter how well you plan in life there is a possibility that something can always go wrong



After completing class 12 with science stream (Medical), Aashna did MBA Pharma Tech from SVKM’s Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS). As a Research Analyst, her job is to gather, analyse, and interpret data to glean valuable insights for the use of companies in buying, investing and selling products or services.  She works for Cetas Healthcare, a leading provider of medical market research and consulting services. In an interview, Aashna explains the importance of having a backup plan, how to manage hectic work hours, top healthcare industry trends, and more. Edited excerpts:

How did you get into the healthcare industry?

I wanted to become a doctor as I was always good in Biology and had an active interest in the functioning of drugs. However, I couldn’t clear NEET even in two attempts. So, I looked at other options and decided to pursue MBA (Pharma Tech). I knew that the healthcare sector will continue to boom due to an aging population, the emergence of the middle class, increasing prevalence of lifestyle diseases, adoption of technology, etc. That’s how I got into the healthcare industry. The work schedule is pretty hectic, but I love my job.

How good is having a backup plan?

No matter how hard you plan in life there is a chance that something can always go wrong. When I couldn’t clear NEET I had a word with my father and mentors and realised that Medicine is only one among a hundred career options with equally good scope and opportunities. Many of these options were related to the subjects I love such as Biology, Medicine and Science. I believe if something is not working out for you can alter your strategy or look for other domains. There’s no harm in having a backup plan that compliments your strengths or skills. The goal of Plan B isn’t to substitute Plan A but to have it on hand when you are left in the lurch.  

You said you have a busy schedule. How do you cope with it?

I sometimes work more than 12 hours a day. That’s why it’s important to find a job you’ll love or that matches your strengths. This will help you to keep your stress levels down and strengthen your quality of life. If you end up being in the wrong job you won’t be happy even if the working hours are nominal. That’s why, I always advise my juniors to do an honest self-assessment. The first step to successfully plan your career is to understand your own interests, strengths, weaknesses, and goals. If there’s anything about the job that is making you think twice, the time to act is before you accept the offer. If you’re not certain about what you want to do, talk to your friends, seniors, teachers or mentors to be on the right track. Talking about myself, I was pretty clear while pursuing my MBA that I want to get into Healthcare consultancy. Also, when you are in the initial stage of your career don’t be afraid to put in the hard yards. That’s how you will reap rich dividends later in your life. As long as you’re working, juggling the demands of career and personal life will probably be a perpetual challenge. But as you progress in your career you learn how to set limits and look after yourself.  

What are the top healthcare industry trends?

Artificial intelligence is set to make revolutionary changes in healthcare in the form of early diagnosis of diseases, providing better treatment outcomes, personalised medicine, and patient monitoring and care.  For instance, artificial intelligence is being increasingly used in the early diagnosis and detection of breast cancer. According to a report, one in twenty-eight Indian women is likely to develop breast cancer during her lifetime. Early detection of breast cancer and other life-threatening diseases can save thousands of lives. I also see Telemedicine practices – the remote diagnosis and treatment of patients through telecommunications technology – are slowly and steadily gaining a foothold in India. According to a report by Ernst & Young, the telemedicine market in India is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 31 per cent for the period 2020–25 and reach $5.5 billion. Another area which is gaining ground is 3D Printing to make customised and personalised medical products and drugs. Cloud Computing (the practice of storing data from electronic health record systems) and Genomics (the study of genes to make it possible to predict, diagnose, and treat diseases) are some of the other emerging trends.

Dheeraj Sharma is Asst. Editor (Newsroom). He covers events, webinars, conducts interviews and brings you exciting news snippets. He has over 10 years' of experience in prominent media organizations. He takes pleasure in the small things in life and believes a healthy work-life balance is key to happiness. You can reach him at [email protected]

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