As executive director of community pharmacies, Raffi Svadjian, PharmD ’03, MBA, heads operations for all locations of USC Pharmacies and is leading the development of the new USC Pharmacy location in South Los Angeles. A triple Trojan (BS, PharmD, MBA), he is also an assistant professor of clinical pharmacy at USC Mann, where he teaches PHRD 651 Community Pharmacy and Business Management I, and co-teaches PHRD 633 Pharmacy Management and Economics.
In a few sentences, please describe your career trajectory, including your current work. What are you most proud of in your career so far?
My career has always been centered around independent pharmacy, starting in my freshman year at USC working as a pharmacy clerk. Later, during pharmacy school, I secured an internship at the USC Medical Plaza Pharmacy, and I have been involved with USC Pharmacy ever since. I was a staff pharmacist and then I served as the director of transplant pharmacy services at the USC Medical Plaza Pharmacy. In 2015, I was involved in launching the Keck Medicine of USC Specialty Pharmacy, serving as the senior director of specialty pharmacy. In 2017, I was promoted to my role as executive director of USC Pharmacies, and in 2019, I was appointed to the faculty as assistant professor of clinical pharmacy.
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?”
I have always been attracted to the health professions because of the opportunity to serve and help others. It’s gratifying and satisfying to see others function at their full potential. I think the health professions afford that luxury to providers. Additionally, I have always been interested in the world of business. Within the health professions, pharmacy seems to be the one field that allows you to co-mingle the wish to help people and lead a business.
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?
From my early time at the USC Medical Plaza Pharmacy, I was fortunate to meet a mentor, Mike Rudolph, who assisted me in learning everything about the world of independent pharmacy. Once he learned I was interested in business and hoped to do USC’s dual-degree PharmD/MBA, that was it. He exposed me to key information, made me feel part of the management team, and always asked me for input. The years we spent together were invaluable in helping me get to the point where I am today. Mel Baron was another mentor who taught professionalism, the meaning of a pharmacist, and the essence of performing our responsibilities with the utmost ethics. I am friends with these two individuals to this day. USC’s dual degree PharmD/MBA was essential for my development and future success. It opened so many doors and allowed me to be selective of which path I would choose, rather than settle for a job.
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?
The limits of your abilities are yours alone. The school will never make you the motivated, inquisitive, daring, hungry, and aware individual you need to be for success. This school will provide you with the knowledge and skills you will need; the desire to succeed will come from within. The difference between mediocrity and high levels of accomplishment is a very fine line. Half the equation is solved by coming to USC Mann as you will never find another place that affords the breadth of alumni relationships, the quality of faculty, and the tradition of USC. Being a pharmacist is an amazing endeavor; being a USC Mann pharmacist in Southern California is priceless.
What does the phrase “Trojan Family” mean to you?
The phrase “Trojan Family” means everything, as you can see from my answers above. If it weren’t for the Trojan family and my relationships with mentors, I would not be in this position. The Trojan Family allows someone to create a network that opens them to a world of possibilities and opportunities. If you allow it to be, the “Family” is very real. Your drive and motivation come from within, but the Trojan Family makes it easier to accomplish your goals as it creates a deep-rooted connection that immediately provides credibility to others that have come before you.
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