Please tell us about yourself
For Dr. Amit Patel, the process of coming to Oxford, Mississippi, was a challenging one. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy while living in Mumbai, and when he and his wife were applying to graduate schools, they always knew the University of Mississippi was one of their top picks. His wife was promptly admitted to the Pharmacy Administration program just a few short months after her application. Patel, however, had to take a more circuitous route.
“My wife still teases me about how quickly she got in,” he shared.
How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and uncommon career?
With the University of Mississippi off the table, Patel pursued his Master’s in Pharmaceutical Marketing at St. John’s University in Queens, New York, but he never gave up his original goal. He frequently came to visit his wife in Oxford, and as his Master’s program came to an end, he spoke frankly with the department faculty about what he would need to do to be admitted for his Ph.D.
“The faculty in the department is phenomenal,” he said. “We would get lunch and hang around a bit…and they gave me a list of criteria that I needed to meet so they could consider me.”
After retaking his GRE, he was granted conditional and then full admission into the program in 2001. Patel characterizes his path to the University of Mississippi as “an uphill battle”, but one that has proved to be well worth it.
Tell us about your career path
Since graduating in 2006, Patel has pursued a career with Medical Marketing and Economics, LLC, an international biopharma strategy consulting firm in Oxford that was founded by one of his advisors. MME is largely concerned with helping biopharma companies develop the strategy around product releases, specifically prescription drugs, including market access, optimal pricing, and reimbursement. As director, Patel is called upon to travel frequently, at least a few days out of every week.
With business taking him around the country, Patel is sometimes greeted with confusion with regards to his southern base, often from other Indians who chose to settle in more metropolitan areas. Fortunately, he’s all too happy to defend the city where he and his wife have chosen to put down their roots.
“I get asked, ‘Where is it you’re coming from?’” he said. “People don’t quite understand. They ask, ‘How are you doing this phenomenal work in Mississippi?’…I tell them they don’t understand what it’s like being in a smaller college town. They can’t understand what it’s like unless they come visit us.”
How has the US experience been?
In the last decade since his graduation, Patel and his wife have very much made Oxford their home. They both work at MME, along with several other Pharmacy Administration Ph.D graduates from the University of Mississippi. Their two children, a 3 year-old and a 6 year-old, were both born in Tupelo. And Patel has continued to be involved with the university, now as a professor.
Patel is proud of the work he does with the university, and he believes that the University of Mississippi’s program has only grown in recent years.
He said, “We’ve just improved and grown from where we were…I’m also faculty at St. John’s in Queens, in the School of Pharmacy, and I’m visiting faculty at the University of Toledo in Ohio.
I see these programs, and I compare and contrast them in my mind all the time. And all of these schools have their strengths, but we just knock it out of the park all the time, especially the Pharmacy Administration program.”
While the path to Oxford might have been a difficult one, it has been well worth it for Patel.
Of his success, he said, “It’s all because of the learning, the training, the people skills, all those things, from those five years. We either developed those skill sets here or polished them…We are where we are right now, and we’re happy. We love the town, and we love the faculty.”