2015 Best EMBA: Satakarni Makkapati

Satakarni Makkapati

Satakarni Makkapati


IMD Business School

Armed with a Ph.D. in chemical engineering, Satakarni Makkapati is the vice president of biopharma manufacturing and head of plasma business operations at Intas Pharmaceuticals. Respected for being a classmate whose input increases the value of discussions, Makkapati is driven to bring more effective and affordable medicines to the market. He was recently listed as one of the Eight Key Influencers in Biologics Manufacturing Industry in India at the Terapinn’s Biopharma Convention.

Age: 34

Location: Ahmedabad, India

Family Members: Krishna Priya (wife), Kasturi (Mother) and Seshamma (Grandmother)

Undergraduate School: BIET, India

Undergraduate Degree: Bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering

Where are you currently working? I work for Intas Pharmaceuticals Ltd. in India as a Vice President of Biopharma Manufacturing and Head of Plasma Business Operations

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I was struggling to see how my many ideas in science and business expansion could be utilized well to create both economic and social value.”

“If I hadn’t gone to business school I would be…a scientist searching for an individual metric and prominence to measure my life.”

What are your long-term professional goals? I will continue to blend engineering with biology for producing more affordable medicines to masses and contributing to viable and profitable businesses for Intas. In the long-term, I want to be at the forefront of the leadership class from Indian biopharma industry that will deliver high quality and low-cost health care for millions of patients globally in years to come. My mother wants me to be a Professor and Social Entrepreneur, which I reckon will be the ultimate calling in my life.

Favorite Courses: Strategy, Marketing, Mass Transfer, Protein Chemistry and Bioprocess Engineering

Which academic or professional achievements are you most proud of? Receiving a PhD in chemical engineering from University of Manchester was a proud moment, particularly because it opened my young mind to the possibilities of the enormous impact that science could make for many in my country. Another important achievement for me is when I see the wave of young bioprocess engineers in my teams at Intas rising to the cause of developing, manufacturing and testing quality biological medicines for serving many patients. Every product launch in the Indian market makes me feel satisfied, accomplished and more determined to serve my country and needy patients.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My maternal uncle, Mr. Srinivas Sistla, has a huge influence in my life. He is a chartered accountant who did not bring numbers, metrics and accounts to life. He told me when I was very young that to succeed, one needs to put in efforts and not worry about the outcomes. Making an effort is important. The Managing Director of Intas Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Dr. Urmish Chudgar, has also had a huge impact on me during the past four years. His vision and endeavor to bring quality biologicals to billions at competitive pricing serves as an inspiration. Both of these wonderful people have an important place my life that is very personal and emotional to me.

Why did you choose this executive MBA program? IMD’s reputation in executive education is well-known. At this juncture of my leadership career, I wanted to experience a well-rounded education that covers aspects of General Management. From my friends, I heard that the school offers a personalized experience, a smaller class size allows people to know each other by name, spend time together on discovery expeditions and make life-long friends. The discovery expeditions aimed at studying businesses in emerging markets such as Brazil, China and India, and the faculty profiles were other important reasons that helped me choose IMD’s executive MBA program. Another important reason was to experience the beautiful country of Switzerland. It’s serene and breathtaking.

What did you enjoy most about the executive MBA program? The IMD class allows me to meet some top notch professionals, very accomplished in their domains. The interactions with them, picking their brains and remaining in contact with them throughout the course, all make for an enjoyable experience. The learnings from the class and professors, and also some un-learnings that I had to undergo because of new information make this journey a vital one for me. I can say, with a certain degree of confidence, that I think differently now than I did before.

What is your most memorable moment from business school? Any mention of India’s potential economic surge that is waiting to happen, or of problems that the country faces, are memorable to me. Discussing India in a top-notch business school today is a reminder of what the country can achieve, but also a stern reminder to my generation that potential cannot go wasted. These moments are precious to me. When I see friends in class share their inputs about India – they are etched in my memory and make me more determined than ever.

Fun fact about yourself: I can’t well recall names of people that I newly meet with. I get confused and this has landed me in many funny situations.

Favorite book: Blood Medicine by Kathleen Sharp. The book highlights the fight of a whistleblower against big pharma – Classic!!!

Favorite movie: The Blind Side

Favorite musical performer: K.J. Yesudas, a classical exponent of Indian music and an acclaimed playback singer in Bollywood

Favorite television show: House

Favorite vacation spot: The scenic Munnar in the Western Ghats, Kerala, India

What are your hobbies? Watching sports, playing squash, cooking and electronics gaming

Twitter Handle: Satu@ (@satakarni)

What made Satakarni such an invaluable addition to the class of 2015 for your executive MBA program?

“While one of the youngest in his class – with the average of 41 years old – Satakarni brings an immense wealth of knowledge as a recognized leader in the pharmaceutical industry in India. With a PhD in Biochemical engineering, Satakarni approaches the EMBA program at IMD with a keen analytical mind, an eagerness to enhance his management skills and an infectious warmth and openness to learning. In addition, he has a very humble, inquisitive nature and, as a result, is a strong contributor to “pushing” or challenging the class discussions to a deeper level and enriching the valuable peer-learning experience of the IMD EMBA program.”

– Terry Akitt, EMBA Program Manager

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