The University of Sydney Business School has received $1.4 million in funding for an ongoing MBA scholarship.
The money was donated by Novotech Founder Alek Safarian during the University’s annual 24-hour fundraising day, Pave the Way, where Mr Safarian said his motivations for providing the largest individual donation in the business school’s history was a belief that “good education is integral to success in life”.
Novotech is Australia’s largest private medical research firm, and has successfully orchestrated over 700 clinical trials most therapeutic disciplines across the world.
Sydney Business School MBA Director, Professor Guy Ford said the donation was an extremely generous vote of confidence in a unique program which aims to equip students with the skills to lead in a volatile corporate environment.
Business School Dean Professor Greg Whitwell said the donation would provide “unexpected opportunities and change lives”.
“This kind of support from individuals, like Mr Safarian … are essential if we are to continue to offer cutting edge learning and teaching,” he said.
“This is genuinely leadership for good.”
Mr Safarian graduated from the University of Sydney with a degree in pharmacy and an MBA, and then worked in the pharmaceutical industry before establishing the contract research firm, Novotech, in 1996.
“I always had an interest in big business, so straight out of pharmacy school, I joined the pharmaceutical industry where there are a number of opportunities for pharmacists to be involved in either scientific or sales/marketing disciplines,” Mr Safarian said.
“After I gained an MBA, I went down the entrepreneurship path via a startup company, Novotech, which over the time has grown to be the largest Australian firm of its kind with operations in 12 countries in the Asia Pacific employing around 350 scientists.”
Mr Safarian said he was fortunate enough to earn his MBA through a fully employer funded scheme which is not so common today.
“My academic path, through pharmacy first then an MBA, has served me well professionally and personally,” he said.
“Through this gift I hope to encourage new students to find their own success by going down a similar path, and under the same conditions that I was able to enjoy all those years ago.”
The first scholarship to be funded from Mr Safarian’s donation will be awarded in 2019.