Interview With Priyanka Chigurupati
Priyanka Chigurupati is Executive Director, Granules Pharma Inc. & Granules USA, where she is also responsible for portfolio selection and supports investor relations.
Priyanka joined Granules India in 2012 as a marketing manager for a region-specific division but soon moved into positions of greater responsibility including heading a new API facility. In 2015 she moved to the US and took responsibility for Granules Consumer Health, the private label OTC division of Granules. In 2016, she took over responsibility for Granules Pharmaceuticals Inc, a 100% subsidiary of Granules India that focuses on R&D, manufacturing, and commercialization of Rx products in the US.
She graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Management from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio and has an associate degree in applied science from Parsons, the New School of Design. A second-generation entrepreneur, she started her own clothing line in India after graduation and successfully retailed it through ecommerce platforms and attained success in the business of fashion very quickly.
What risks have you taken in your career that have paid off?
- Jumping straight into an industry that I had no educational background in was certainly a very difficult journey. From not knowing what an ANDA filing was, I think I have travelled far. The risk I took was to leave an established set up in the parent company and start my career in our US subsidiary which was a complete start up — from doing R&D, manufacturing, and commercializing products. Starting from the ground up and having accountability for a division that was the growth driver for the company within the first year of my employment was certainly a risk, but I think that’s how I learned what I could.
What career advice do you have for somebody new to the industry?
- Get as deep as you can into areas outside your direct focus. If you are into marketing and sales, spend at least 15% of your time understanding and learning about other functions. You will never be able to do your job unless you know how things are done around you. If you can get a formal education, it will definitely give you a head start. But whatever position you are in, never stop learning. And depend on a strong team. Bring together the best team you can and put together the pieces of the puzzle that are missing. That will not only help you learn but will definitely help you succeed in your job.
Is there anything you wish you could have done differently?
- Yes, since this is a family business, I started my career with this position. If I could rewind, I would have started my career at possibly another pharmaceutical company to understand different working environments, leadership styles, and cultures. I would have definitely started with a deep focus in one area and then branched out in that company. This would have certainly made my transition into the family business more constructive.
How do women get a seat at the table?
- By not being concerned about being a woman. I’ve always believed that if you work hard enough and have a voice of your own, you will get a seat at the table. Thinking of yourself as anything lesser than what you truly are, whether you are a woman or not, is going to drive you farther away from the seat. If a man works 100 hours, so can a woman. It is true, though, that women have to work twice as hard as a man in the same position. But if you are resilient, I don’t see why it cannot be done. Have your own working style. If you have to work remotely for a few days, do it. I do believe that certain adjustments/compromises have to be made, but that’s a choice.
What life lessons do you give to the young people in your life?
- Work young. Start being independent at a young age and it will give you a true idea of what you truly want to do. If you are wise enough to do this and pick a career you truly want to be a part of, the sky is the limit.
Final piece of advice:
- The only advice I have for women in general is that there is something called a “man’s world,” only if you want there to be one. Work. Work hard. Work smart. Be earnest and resilient. Do one more than you “should.” If you’re in the pharma industry, be a part of as many industry conferences as you can and meet other women. While it is true that you only grow when you put yourself in uncomfortable shoes, wearing some flats will always help you find support to lean on.