Giving life to creative health care campaigns

Sanjay Gupta.

Lewis Carroll rightly stated, “If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there,” but luckily for Sanjay Gupta, MBA ’00, someone from Sprint International showed him the path to success way back in 1996 by encouraging him to pursue an MBA in the United States.

After several years of working for Sprint in India, Gupta traveled to the United States to receive an award for the previous year’s highest revenue achievement for Sprint’s joint venture in India. The plan was to pursue an MBA at a reputed school that would prepare him for greater responsibilities at the telecommunications conglomerate. The final destination did not turn out as planned; instead, after receiving his MBA from the School of Management in 2000, he launched a highly successful career in project management in digital media software development.

While Gupta admits that, as an international student, cost was a consideration when choosing the UB School of Management, he says he had more compelling reasons for his decision. “The most important factors were the program, ranking, diversity and faculty,” Gupta says. “I was confident that the School of Management would put my work experience into action in a class setting.” His beliefs paid off. The course materials helped him understand the concepts, the class settings put them into practice, and the cohorts helped build teamwork skills that he has used in his professional life to deal with real-life business situations.

After graduation and during the dot-com boom, Gupta started as a business analyst at Lotus Interworks, a New Jersey-based internet incubator and earned certification as a Project Management Professional. Experience at Lotus Interworks and his MBA education together provided him a springboard to take on development and management of business-critical applications for an international corporate investment bank in New York City. He spent five years in corporate systems there, until opportunity knocked and it was time to venture into an industry that had intrigued him since he started working in India.

In 2009, Gupta made a career transition into healthcare advertising. The learning curve was steep and challenging, but the promise of using and developing his skills made the challenge worth pursuing. He set up and managed digital development at Torre Lazur McCann and Echo Torre Lazur for their major pharmaceutical clients. Possessing marketable skills that are hard to find in the healthcare agency industry, Gupta was offered an opportunity that was hard to pass up. In June 2012, he joined The CementBloc as associate director, project management, and quickly moved to his current position, director of multichannel project management, within four months of his assignment.

Gupta now manages execution of projects for some of CementBloc’s major pharmaceutical clients. He oversees and mentors a team of strong project managers and is part of the leadership team that is responsible for setting up and supporting efficient delivery at The Bloc. Located in Manhattan’s historic Flatiron district, CementBloc is the second-largest, independent, multichannel health/wellness creative agency in the United States with a client list that includes Pfizer, Novartis Celgene and UCB.

The best part of his job? “Collaboration with creative minds to develop some of the best healthcare communication campaigns,” he says. “I manage execution for digital tactics and this gives me a great opportunity to not only bring to life some of the best-in-industry creative campaigns, but also to mentor project managers to become strong project leaders. The opportunity to share experiences and knowledge that enhances team skills and deliver solutions makes it all worth it.”

“I am also proud to have gotten an opportunity to give back to the School of Management by sharing some of my experiences with MBA students,” Gupta says. This year, Arun Jain, Samuel P. Capen Professor of Marketing Research, invited Gupta to speak to his classes on digital communications for healthcare and Gupta hopes to continue this in years ahead.

In his spare time, Gupta loves spending time with his two young sons, watching movies and traveling to new places. His best experience was walking over a live volcano in Hawaii. “I wouldn’t dare do it now,” he says. Active on social media, he is connected to Barack Obama (no, he does not know him personally) and is still looking for a reason to be on Twitter. An avid cricket fan, he is always looking forward to the action when India is playing—when he has some time off from giving life to creative campaigns, that is.

Written by Cathy Wilde