Medical Research Firm Founder Launches MBA Scholarship To Support Pharmaceutical Leaders

A new MBA scholarship funded by the founder of Australia’s largest private medical research firm has officially opened for University of Sydney Business School’s 2019 program.

The Alek Safarian MBA Scholarship was established with the intention of supporting emerging leaders in the areas of pharmacy, pharmacology, medicine, nursing or science in the completion of the School’s part-time MBA.

The financial support capacity is valued at $1.4 million, which was personally donated by the scholarship’s namesake, Alek Safarian.

Mr Safarian founded the medical research firm, Novotech, after studying an MBA at the University of Sydney Business School.

He said his MBA studies were supported through a fully employer-funded scheme which is not so common today, which inspired him to establish his own MBA scholarship because “good education is integral to success in life”.

“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.”

Alek Safarian
Novotech Founder Alek Safarian.

After completing his studies at the University of Sydney, Mr Safarian 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,” he 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.”

The Safarian donation was welcomed by the school’s MBA Director Professor Guy Ford, as “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”.

The ongoing scholarship opportunity was originally announced in 2017 and is reportedly the largest donation by an individual in the Sydney Business School’s history.

Applications for the Alek Safarian MBA Scholarship close 9 December 2018.

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Ben Ready founded MBA News in 2014 and is the Managing Editor. He is a former business and finance journalist with Australian Associated Press (AAP) and Dow Jones Newswires in London. Ben completed his MBA in 2012 and was awarded the QUT GMAA Entrepreneurship Prize. He is also the founder and Managing Director of RGC Media & Mktng (rgcmm.com.au).