“You are the CEO of your own life, start making executive decisions today.” - Stephen Luke
Nothing is ever set in stone. Sometimes having the right attitude and taking a chance can lead you to an unexpected career even if it differs from what you originally planned. This is the story of Megha Joshi, who has a Master’s degree in biotechnology, and more than eight years of consulting experience in agriculture, pharmaceutical, and MedTech industries. Megha had to make a big choice after graduating and choosing a career path away from the lab in order to pursue areas of the scientific field she felt more passionate about.
In this interview, she talks about the obstacles she faced trying to reach her career goals while working for big corporations. Megha talks about how for her never losing track of her goals and relying on her strengths and attitude helped to guide her even during tough times.
Bih: Dear Megha, thank you for joining esyvte in this interview. We are always excited to hear the voice of courageous women whose careers may inspire others. First of all, could you please introduce yourself and what your area of expertise is?
Megha: Thank you for having me. I work at a very interesting juncture of science and business where I evaluate technologies in healthcare and how they might possibly affect care provided to patients globally. I research and recommend companies on how they need to adapt to the way healthcare is provided and will be provided in the future. With artificial intelligence and digital health shaping medical technology, medical device companies are looking at the competition they never thought existed and my role is to understand and bring that out to the clients to help them adapt to this change. I assess the market and try to predict future trends in healthcare.
B: Why did you decide to work in a corporation instead of the lab after you graduated from your Master's degree?
M: During my Master's, and after putting a lot of thought on it, I realized that the lab was not the place for me, or at least it was not the right next step for me. I always wanted to join a corporate firm and even though it meant that I would inevitably deviate from my field, I did not mind to do so as long as I was doing exciting work, making a contribution and still working with cutting edge science. To be honest the whole decision had also to do with preparation and luck. I was lucky enough to be hired by an intellectual property analysis firm during a campus recruitment fair. I was given that stroke of luck, but I have worked my way to what I do today and the projects I am responsible for.
B: Was there an emotional hurdle you had to overcome or would you say your passion for the work of business research kept you motivated?
M: Definitely! You end up starting from scratch and realizing that there is a lot to learn. Straight after college, you might have the mindset that the learning process stopped there and now it is time for executing and gaining experience. But that’s the thing, the learning process never stops and it shouldn't stop ideally. You never stop being a student. How we work and what we work on is changing so rapidly that everyone needs to keep their mind open for opportunities ahead of them. That's why the ability to adapt to changes is becoming more and more valuable. Every college graduate feels that they know it all but then the phase of realization begins. My mother who I call my career counselor has been the sounding board who I used to turn to for emotional support. I still do that and this may never change. It is always good to have an anchor by your side.
“You never stop being a student. How we work and what we work on is changing so rapidly that everyone needs to keep their mind open for opportunities ahead of them.”
B: Other than emotional uncertainties, where you faced with any other challenges?
M: The biggest challenge, which I also call the biggest opportunity is the fact that people you work with when you switch fields are usually much smarter than you because they know much more in that domain than you do. But what you must remember is that what you know is of secondary importance, as the way technology is evolving, everyone has to keep learning to stay relevant. What is more important is how you think, analyze, solve problems and network. Overall, it is important how you adapt to changes and new technologies. That is what gives you the basis to grow in your career.
“[...] what you must remember is that what you know is of secondary importance, as the way technology is evolving, everyone has to keep learning to stay relevant.”
B: What words would you share with someone who wishes to change or is unsure about finding the right career path?
M: Always stay humble and hungry for knowledge. Try to see how your role is fitting in the bigger picture and contributing to your firm or society. Once you realize how your role plays a part in the scheme of things, you do not only get that motivation to start from scratch but you can also create opportunities for yourself, along the way. There is no way to know what you want to do eventually. 15 years back, I wanted to become a doctor and now I realize that I may not have been very good at it. I am good at what I am doing right now. At times you just have to take an informed plunge and the rest follows. Also, remember that every job has a role to play in society so keep on thinking of ways you can contribute better. The right career path finds you eventually if you are not there in the beginning.
“There is no way to know what you want to do eventually. 15 years back, I wanted to become a doctor and now I realize that I may not have been very good at it. I am good at what I am doing right now.”
B: Was there ever a moment when you realized "This is what I was meant to do"?
M: I think at the end of the day when you turn off your laptop and feel good about what you did, then that is what you were meant to do. Your job should make you feel good about yourself. It should help you understand the world better and make you see how you can make things better for others. It always helps to find your purpose. As you progress in a career of 25-30 years, your role changes and what you do naturally evolves. So I think that you should love your career beyond your current role. I have had roles in agriculture, pharmaceuticals and now medical devices but for each domain, what helps me is the understanding of how what I do helps make things better for a family I haven't met.
B: And lastly, if you were to choose an outfit from your wardrobe in which you feel most confident before heading to work, what would it be?
M: I love black! I think nothing works better in a meeting room than a black shirt or top and beige trousers. Of course, confidence is a state of mind and what you wear must be an extension of you and not of a catalog. That will keep you true to who you are and help you be the best version of yourself at work.
Thanks so much to Megha for a great interview and a look into her life as a telecommunications engineer and researcher. Are you also a woman in the research field? Has your experience been different or similar to Megha's? Do you have any questions for women in the science or tech industry?
It is good to see that women are getting a chance to work in a free environment.You have HRD department in each organisation which takes care of each individual. However there are women still struggling to work in their area of choice however they are unable to get an opportunity to do so. It needs a lot of courage and support from your paraphernalia to live your dreams. A lot needs to be done so that science can be explored to the fullest and technology can come to the aid of society