Infinite Possibilities: A Look at the Wide and Varied Roles of USC Mann Alumni

The vast field of pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences touches all aspects of the human condition. Its impact is broad and deep—from direct patient care and the discovery of groundbreaking treatments to the creation of policies and regulations that affect how we access and value healthcare.

With the school’s mission of advancing health through innovation—and the importance of pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences to humankind—USC Mann has long focused on training new generations of professionals for the full spectrum of relevant career opportunities, including those not yet imagined.

With more than 20 degree programs—from undergraduate to master’s and doctoral offerings as well as residency, fellowship, certificate and international-pharmacist programs—Mann students typically gain expertise in multiple areas and often pursue dual degrees. Interest in the school’s programs continues to flourish. A positive outcome from the pandemic was the dramatic increase in undergraduates drawn to the Mann School’s bachelor’s programs in biopharmaceutical sciences, pharmacology and drug development, regulatory science and biopharmaceutical business. In addition, the number of participants in the school’s pharmaceutical industry fellowships has doubled in the past couple of years.

Even within individual degree programs, students are exposed to and prepared for a wide variety of career opportunities. Students in the PharmD degree, for instance, may choose from a range of concentrations and specializations: comprehensive medication management and high-risk populations, education, health systems and care management, pharmaceutical industry, pharmacy entrepreneurship and research.

The need for new professionals continues to rise. According to Becker’s Hospital Review, more than 20,000 job openings for pharmacists are projected for this year, while the number of Doctors of Pharmacy entering the work force is only 17,000. A significant shortfall would occur even if all PharmD grads nationwide became practicing pharmacists.

“In the early days of the school, the majority of students trained to be community pharmacists and, at many pharmacy schools, that is still the case,” Dean Vassilios Papadopoulos says. “But today—and for many years now—our school has trained pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists for all potential jobs, not just for a specific position.”

Approximately a quarter of the school’s new PharmD graduates now go on to roles in community pharmacies, he adds. Half work in hospital pharmacies and a quarter in industry, including as entrepreneurs.

Meanwhile, Papadopoulos notes, “the vast majority of our master’s and doctoral alumni work in industry—not only in drug discovery, regulatory science and healthcare economics, but also at venture capital firms working in biotech and pharmaceutical sciences. This reflects the incredible breadth of programs we offer.”

“We instill a big-picture vision, bolstered by support from alumni and faculty who serve as mentors to students and graduates throughout their careers,” adds Kari Franson, senior associate dean for academic and student affairs.

USC Mann’s more than 11,000 living alumni continue shaping the future of the field while improving lives throughout their careers. 


PhD Genetic, Molecular and Cellular Biology ’10, Certificate in Clinical Trial Design and Management, Regulatory Science
Regulatory Documentation Team Leader, Product Development, Genentech
Mann Impact

“Since graduating from USC, I have worked in two prominent data-driven and patient-centric companies. My work has directly contributed to patient access to innovative, safe and effective medical devices, as well as pharmaceutical and combination products in different therapeutic areas. My USC experiences and mentors enhanced both my technical and soft skills, priming me for my professional career. Their impact on me, professionally and personally, is priceless.”

Advice for Students

“My USC coaches and mentors challenged me by asking difficult questions and providing me with direct and constructive feedback, all with the aim of helping me grow as a scientist and strategist. Seek and take advantage of this purpose-built network—and feed forward their learnings through mentorship opportunities.”

BS Pharmacology and Drug Development ’23 (dual degree with BA in Philosophy, Politics and Law)
Technical Product Manager, Endocanna Health; Student, Southwestern Law School</i></h6>
Mann Impact

“I did not think I could reconcile two disparate disciplines—philosophy and pharmacy—until I was at USC. Though the intersection is niche, law and science have immense impacts on society. USC was an easy choice because it gave me the freedom to try new things and learn from other majors. Now in law school, I am focusing on intellectual property and patents, which will have huge implications in healthcare and biotech. Another point of interest is malpractice law and patient advocacy.”

PhD Pharmaceutical Sciences ’14
Assistant Professor, Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences
Mann Impact

“The rigorous training I received through the USC Pharmaceutical Sciences PhD program equipped me with a strong foundation in natural product chemistry, microbial genetics and analytical chemistry. This comprehensive background has proven invaluable in my research on unraveling the molecular mechanisms underlying microbe-host interactions.”

Advice for Students

“Pursue your passions. When you are driven by passion, your dedication and enthusiasm for your chosen field become boundless.”

PharmD ’16
Clinical Pharmacy Manager and PGY-2 Oncology Residency Program Director, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Mann Impact

“It wasn’t until starting pharmacy school that I learned oncology was a specific career path. A local comprehensive cancer center took three USC pharmacy students from each class for a three-year training program, and I was selected. This incredible opportunity allowed me to learn about cancer medications and work under pharmacists and technicians in several units of the hospital. My experiences at USC equipped me with the leadership and clinical skills to propel my career. The lifelong friends and colleagues I made continue to show up in my personal and professional life.”

Advice for Students

“Push yourself to explore. I experienced the most growth when I opened myself up to new professional and cultural experiences. That’s the best thing about USC: There’s so much diversity and opportunity within and right outside its four walls. The best career advice I received was to be open to any opportunity that comes your way. You never know where it could lead.”

PharmD ’91
President and CEO, TrippBio
Mann Impact

“I was given a great amount of flexibility
to explore my interests in research.
This work became the focus of my
postgraduate residency research
project and helped me gain entry into
my research fellowship.”

Advice for Students

“Be open to new experiences. During
my fourth year, I realized my interests
were in asking questions that didn’t
have easy answers. I would never have
ended up in research if I had not been
open to those new experiences.”

PharmD ’00
Field Director, West Medical Outcomes Science Liaisons AbbVie
Mann Impact

“Doors were gladly opened wide for me because of the high-quality education, research experiences and world-renowned faculty I experienced at USC Mann. I was also fortunate enough to be in the first cohort of students awarded the John and Margaret Biles Leadership Scholarship in 1994. Dr. Biles personally mentored each of us to become leaders. I use many of the lessons he taught me in my daily work as a people leader at AbbVie.”

Advice for Students

“Take time to truly assess your strengths and allow them to guide you to thrive in your profession.”

PharmD ’91
Vice President, Quality and Safety Kaiser Permanente Washington Market
Mann Impact

“At USC Mann, I learned to be a systems thinker and to improve healthcare outcomes through reliable systems and processes. Part of the coursework [involved learning how] to understand and seek out where gaps and failures can occur and thereby build processes that create a reliable high-quality and safe system. It’s that foundational thinking coupled with a curiosity to seek and understand better ways of doing things that has stayed with me throughout my professional career.”

Advice for Students

“Always be curious and seek to understand how to get the best clinical outcome that modern medicine can provide. You are fortunate to be in a school that is at the heart of one of the largest and most diverse communities in the world. It’s a gift.”

PharmD ’87
Co-owner, MDR Pharmacy
Mann Impact

“Pharmacy is a field that you can make whatever you want of.”

Advice for Students

“Explore as much as you can, because you are about to enter a field that is endless and you will always be able to grow.”


PharmD ’86
Senior Vice President, Head of Regulatory, Medical Writing and Regulatory Intelligence, Syneos Health, United Kingdom
Mann Impact

“The scholastic discipline instilled at USC was instrumental in forging my career. [It taught me to] always think of patients first—but with a commercial hat on as well. [The Trojan Family] is a connection that’s always there, which comes into light in the strangest of places and most fanciful of situations.”

Advice for Students

“Look beyond traditional roles. Why not have a job where you see the world? Don’t listen to those who advise you to do what everyone else does. Take some chances.”

PharmD ’08
President, Chair and CEO, KabaFusion
Mann Impact

“The training and education I received from USC Mann helped prepare me for multiple roles throughout my career— from a pharmacist caring for HIV/AIDS patients to an entrepreneur creating new businesses, including the nation’s largest independently owned, privately held home-infusion company.”

PharmD ’11
Director of Population Health, USC Mann School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Mann Impact

“After completing an ambulatory care residency at USC Mann, I was a lead pharmacist in the school’s $12 million Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation grant promoting pharmacists collaboratively working with physicians to improve health outcomes while reducing costs. This led to a managed care opportunity with what is now Optum Health, where I spearheaded multiple medication management programs. I returned to USC Mann to cultivate partnerships that develop value-based pharmacy strategies aligned with population health priorities. Working for a national leader known for its progressive curriculum and clinical excellence allows me to truly make a difference.”

Advice for Students

“Never limit your potential. Think big and wide and be open to exciting new opportunities because you never know where they may lead.”

PharmD ’13, MS Healthcare Decision Analysis ’16
Director, Field Medical Outcomes & Analytics, Pfizer
Mann Impact

“Obtaining my PharmD and MS in Healthcare Decision Analysis from USC has given me the opportunity to have an exciting career in the pharmaceutical industry over the last 10 years. I have been involved in several health outcomes projects and worked on systemwide initiatives, including in the areas of chronic care, smoking cessation anticoagulation, rheumatoid arthritis, breast cancer and prostate cancer. Recently as therapeutic-area lead for hematology, I created the strategy for our team in preparation for the launch of a new multiple myeloma product.”

Advice for Students

“Get involved outside of the classroom in activities or projects that excite you. Stay involved with USC after you graduate. Students just like you will want to discuss career paths or work on projects that you might be able to help them get involved in. These could be life-changing experiences for them.”

PharmD ’08, MS Regulatory Science ’07
Clinical Pharmacist, UCLA Health
Editor and Novelist (All-Night Pharmacy)
Mann Impact

“I’m grateful every day that my USC
education allowed me to study both
pharmacy and creative writing/literature.
Taking fiction and poetry workshops
during my undergraduate education and
attending as many literary events as I
could while a pharmacy student helped
me grow as a writer. My pharmacy
school experiences also prepared me
for my dream job specializing in HIV and
primary care/ambulatory care! It’s a
testament to the wonderful humanities
and pharmacy education I received at
USC that I was able to publish a novel
while working full time as a pharmacist.”

Advice for Students

“Lean into your passions and double
down on what sets you apart. Carve out
time to commit to things that make you
happy outside of your pharmacy work.”

PhD Health Economics ’18, MS, Pharmaceutical Economics and Policy ’14
Director, Global Health Economics and Outcomes Research Moderna
Mann Impact

“My experience at USC has been instrumental in my current success. The health economics and outcomes research curriculum provided me with the relevant technical expertise to work in the field, and I was fortunate as a student to get two internships, at Amgen and AbbVie, in addition to working with my professors on industry projects.”

Advice for Students

“Network and build your connections. Gain real-time industry experience along with the graduate training.”

PhD Molecular Pharmacology and Toxicology ’14, MS Management of Drug Development ’14
Senior Clinical Strategy Manager
Boston Scientific Corp.
Mann Impact

“As a student, I was given so many opportunities for development outside of the laboratory through attending conferences, presenting at local symposia, pursuing a regulatory science master’s degree, participating in predoctoral training programs, collaborating with multidisciplinary teams both within and outside of the university, and engaging in extracurricular activities, including the Pharmacy Graduate Alliance and Graduate Student Government, as well as serving on the board of directors for the school’s alumni association as a student representative. These experiences not only gave me exposure to possible career paths and areas of research outside of the narrow scope of my dissertation, but also provided me with an incredible network that has been critical in my career success.”

Advice for Students

“Take advantage of every opportunity presented to you at the Mann School. The experiences you have, the people you meet and the skills you develop may have a lifelong impact on your personal and professional life.”

PharmD ’08,, MS Regulatory Science ’07
Vice President, Trade Relations and
Pharmaceutical Contracting
Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company
Mann Impact

“My broad experiences with the students and instructors throughout the dual-degree program at USC Mann prepared me well for leadership roles in the rapidly changing technologydriven healthcare industry.”

Advice for Students

“Try everything once! Having an idea of what you want to do is great and at times can be motivating. But excluding things without understanding them could eliminate potentially greater life opportunities.”

Mann alumni can be found all over the world, providing leadership and expertise in all aspects of this vast field:

  • They are in biotech startups, academic medical centers and major pharmaceutical companies, conducting basic and translational science, managing clinical trials and creating new knowledge that will fuel further advances and cures.
  • As entrepreneurs and drivers of innovation, they are reinventing traditional methods of drug delivery and pursuing disruptive technologies that can improve patient outcomes and access to care.
  • They are providing policymakers and government agencies with evidence-based solutions to pressing healthcare challenges as they develop new models for increasing access and value while reducing costs to protect the health of patients and the overall health system.
  • In hospitals, health systems and clinics, they are developing new approaches to comprehensive medication management and addressing chronic disease while demonstrating the importance of having a pharmacist as a key member of the healthcare team.
  • They are training new generations of leaders as they teach and provide mentoring as academic faculty members, preceptors, and executives and board members of professional associations.
  • In corporate boardrooms and government regulatory agencies, they are shaping company and country-wide strategies that commercialize regulated products and bring them safely and more quickly to consumers.
  • They are combining their knowledge of pharmaceutical science with other fields—from informing the practice of law to even writing and publishing works of fiction.

This story was originally published in the fall 2023 issue of Results magazine. Illustrations by Sol Cotti.