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Kiran Mazumdar Shaw by Shashwata Narain


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Biography of Kiran Mazumdar Shaw as a leader in all parts of life, written by Wharton MBA student for a course on leadership from the point of view of the whole person.

Published in: Leadership & Management
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Kiran Mazumdar Shaw by Shashwata Narain

  1. 1. TOTAL LEADERSHIP Leadership Biography Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw Shashwata Narain 04.11.2017 “I want to be remembered as someone who put India on the scientific map of the world in terms of large innovation. I want to be remembered for making a difference to global healthcare. And I want to be remembered as someone who made a difference to social economic development in India.”
  2. 2. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw & Biocon  Chairman & Managing Director of Biocon Limited  Biocon is a global biotechnology & biopharmaceuticals company headquartered in India. It uses biotechnology to develop & manufacture biopharmaceuticals for chronic and advanced diseases such as cancer, diebetes & auto-immune conditions  Pioneered the concept of “affordable innovation”  At a net worth of $2.3bn, she is India’s richest self-made woman  Awarded the Padma Bhushan, one of India’s highest national civilian awards for her outstanding contribution to bioscience  TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world  Forbes Most Powerful Women  Financial Times’ Top 50 women in business  Awarded the Knight of Legion of Honour, France's highest civilian honor “Biocon …is committed to ensure a global right to healthcare by addressing the worldwide need for safe, effective and affordable biotherapeutics”
  3. 3. Early life – seeking inspiration from family, inroads into a ‘man’s field’, the importance of being different Born in 1953 in Bengaluru, India to a Gujarati-Brahmin middle class family Inspired by her father, a brewmaster at United Breweries, she chose to study Malting & Brewing, going against traditional values around women and alcohol Could not find work in India as a brewer and was told “it’s a man’s work.” Found a position in Scotland and returned to India after a few years Founded Biocon as an enzyme-manufacturer, aged 25, out of her garage with Rs. 10,000 seed money Learnings Used her family as a key source of inspiration for her future career Majumdar-Shaw remembered having to leave the country to find a suitable job & has since made it a Biocon employee priority to destroy the notion that to work “at the cutting-edge of science or to even earn a decent living, one had to necessarily emigrate” Her family instilled in her the values of doing things differently & creatively – of developing her own perspective. These are traits underlining her push for innovation even today “It was [my father] who encouraged me to take the road less traversed and gave me the confidence to pursue my path of entrepreneurship”
  4. 4. Expanding Biocon – building supportive networks, struggle with cancer Collaborated with Les Auchincloss, the founder of Biocon in Scotland, closely throughout her career. Became her first mentor “He infused a tremendous sense of confidence in me… It was he who gave me the break and the challenge that gave me a strong sense of purpose.” Having seen the landscape of poverty that most patients in India deal with, she has advocated the need for cost-effective drug development procedures Watched her husband and best friend, Rovshen, battle cancer for numerous years. Rovshen succumbed to the disease after struggling with expensive treatment. The experience inspired Majumdar-Shaw to establish a cancer hospital in India & expand Biocon’s products into cancer treatment Learnings Mentors have provided important support throughout her career – Les’s support was invaluable in raising funding initially Rather than treat low willingness-to- pay as a handicap in India, she used it as a competitive advantage and made drugs at a novel low-cost scale Used her personal experience to drive her in the fight against cancer
  5. 5. Personal Life – her work & life partner, speaking up about causes • Describes her husband of 18 years, John Shaw, as a “very strong and secure human being. [He] has invested in me in every way, and inspires me every day.” • John Shaw helped her secure financial ownership of Biocon by investing in the buyback from Unilever in 1998. “We balance and complement each other: I am a scientist and he has a strong financial background. ” • Has instituted a variety of arrangements at Biocon to increase flexibility for employees & wor/life integration. For e.g., 8am to 4pm work days to get ahead of Bengaluru traffic • Has founded and plays an active role in a variety of other social organizations in India such as the Biocon Foundation (affordable healthcare infrastructure for rural areas of India), Bangalore Political Action Committee (identifies and supports candidates for public office), microfinance health insurance and Mazumdar-Shaw Medical Foundation
  6. 6. Integrating the domains •She is able to devote time to causes that are important to her. She balances her time between work and self by making it a policy at Biocon • Her marriage provides her support stability to succeed in other parts of her life •She lives her values of innovation and integrity through her social work. She derives inspiration from her networks & friends to fuels it towards her career • Biocon’s affordable innovation in cancer & employee policies reflect her philosophy Work Community SelfHome
  7. 7. Lessons Applying these lessons Be Real - Identifying what matters to me most & focusing on it regardless of external circumstances - Seeking inspiration from and making a difference in areas other than my area of expertise, e.g. politics and environment are 2 areas I care about, outside of healthcare Be Whole: - Building a supportive network that reminds about what is important, e.g. staying in touch with Wharton & undergrad classmates from whom I can derive inspiration - Being upfront about my priorities with future spouse/family/stakeholders so that they can support my leadership vision Be Innovative: - Use challenges to fuel experiments on how things can be done differently - Instead of treating the Indian business landscape as a handicap, view it as a key differentiator for future endeavors Kiran Majumdar-Shaw is inspiring to me because she has lived out my leadership vision:  She went against the wisdom of her time to do something she felt passionate about  As a self-made woman, she has persisted in the face of challenging circumstances, including sexism, to emerge succesful  She has used India’s unique landscape to mold Biocon – instead of being disheartened by issues like lack of startup infrastructure, gender inequality and poverty, she has creatively innovated to differentiate her company  She has managed to find support and ongoing encouragement from her marriage and from her friends  She has contributed extensively to issues outside of biotechnology as well, speaking up for important causes
  8. 8. Sources • mazumdar-shaw-battled-cancer-plaguing-her-husband-best- friend/articleshow/34138170.cms • founder-on-philanthropy-sexism-and-politics/ • brewmaster-kiran-mazumdarshaw-made-it-a-global-force/45183/1 • code/healthcare_innovation_an_interview_with • • • You-Need/ •