Alumni Spotlight: Michael Pazirandeh, PharmD ’11

Pazirandeh will receive the Young Alumni Award at the 2024 USC Mann School’s Alumni Awards Gala on February 25.

Michael Pazirandeh, PharmD ’11, is principal medical scientist for managed care and government accounts at Gilead Sciences, where he conducts health economics and outcomes research.

In a few sentences, please describe your career trajectory, including your current work. What are you most proud of in your career so far?

I have had 12 years in the managed care and pharmaceutical industry sectors and have worked for some amazing and innovative companies such as Blue Shield of California, Bristol Myers Squibb, Seagen, and my current employer, Gilead Sciences.

The thing I am most proud of in my career so far is seeing the impact I have had on students. I have been able to see their progression from first-year students to pharmacists and know I had an impact on their lives.

What originally attracted you to your field? Any particular moment(s) that made you stop and think, “This is the path I want to take?”

Ever since I was a P1, I have been fascinated with the idea of population health decision making. There is something quite satisfying about working on projects that could impact millions of people’s lives. There is no way I would have predicted that I would end up where I am, and I frown when people use the word “lucky” to describe how one ended up where he or she did. What they mean to say by “luck” is the crossroads where preparation and opportunity meet. USC prepared me so well that when the opportunities happened to cross my path, I was able to take advantage of them and get to where I am today.

How did your early experiences as a student at USC guide your career? Anything specific to share about how the resources, faculty members and/or alumni at USC helped prepare you for what you are doing now?

I am truly blessed that I have yet to apply for a job where I didn’t know the hiring manager through my USC network. That is not to say that just because I went to USC, I got the job, but going to USC allowed me to meet individuals who gave me a chance to apply. Without the USC network, I definitely would not be where I am today, and I will be forever grateful for what the alumni have done for me.

What advice do you have for students who may be interested in following a similar path to yours? Why do you think students should consider attending the USC Mann School?

Never stop being curious! In order to excel, regardless of which field you want to go into, curiosity will ensure you will be at the top of your game. At the USC Mann School, the faculty and alumni help foster that curiosity and challenge you to be the best pharmacist you can be.

What does the phrase “Trojan Family” mean to you?

The phrase “Trojan Family” means always knowing that no matter where life has taken you, there will always be a “seat at the table,” welcoming you with open arms whenever you come back.

Tickets for the 2024 USC Mann Alumni Awards Gala can be purchased by clicking here. For more information, visit the event website or contact Cheryl Stanovich, chief development officer, at