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Nida Khan Rises to Stardom in Life Sciences Consulting

In the field of biotechnology consulting, women in leadership positions are somewhat of a rarity. Nida (Moosa) Khan, MBS  ’06, principal for life sciences strategy and transformation at Capgemini in Chicago, is among these exalted few.

That Khan would prove exceptional comes as no surprise to Steven Casper, dean of the School of Applied Life Sciences and the Henry E. Riggs Professor of Management at Keck Graduate Institute (KGI). Casper recalls of Khan as a student, “She was a great communicator and had excellent business strategy skills. She was very professional, too. She’s also a role model for what we want to see when students interact with industry and represent KGI.”

Casper notes that Khan was among the first KGI graduates to obtain a position at a major life sciences consulting firm. She started at Campbell Alliance, now known as inVentiv Health Consulting, as an analyst and subsequently became a consultant, senior consultant, engagement manager, senior engagement manager, and then director for commercial and corporate strategy. Along the way, Khan relocated from California to Chicago, where she led and managed sales and operations for the firm’s Midwest region. In 2012, the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association recognized her nationally as a rising star.

Khan was already on a fast track when she came to KGI, having completed her B.S. in biology at California State University, San Bernardino, in just two years with a perfect GPA. She had been working in medical research for six months after graduation when the chair of her undergraduate department told her about KGI.

“I loved science, but I missed the business side. I had considered becoming a doctor or a professor, but I still wanted something different,” recalls Khan, whose first exposure to business came through a father with his own company. “KGI was the perfect mix of business and science. I fell in love. It exposed me to topics and career options I didn’t know existed.”

Consulting in the life sciences industry proved to be a good match with Khan’s interests and abilities. She explains, “I like the change of flavor. Every couple of months, there’s a different project or client. And I like the fast pace. I love the excitement I get out of selling. I feel the adrenaline rush. I also love being part of the decision-making process to build talent, develop new services, and improve process delivery.”

Since earning national recognition in her field and assuming leadership positions, Khan has started sharing what she has learned over her career. She has written numerous articles and championed thought leadership in the industry, which she plans to expand further from her new platform at Capgemini. Clients view her as a thought partner whose strategic perspective has delivered results exceeding their expectations.

Khan has also become a mentor to those who hope to join her in a leadership role. She mentors both men and women, but realizes that other women look to her as an example.

“Some women want to talk about how to have work–life balance and still have a successful career,” says Khan, who has personal experience with the challenge of parenting two young sons while managing a demanding work and travel schedule. “It’s a matter of finding the right company, the right leadership, and the right way to move ahead.”