After nearly a decade at Johnson & Johnson, Leily Saadat-Lajevardi (MBA ’09) knows a thing or two about the global health care company and the complex, ever-changing industry in which it operates. After her First Year at Darden, Leily successfully pivoted from her background in nonprofit and education work, to secure a summer internship in Johnson & Johnson brand management. She joined the company after graduating, and over the next ten years, would be promoted from Associate Brand Manager, to Brand Manager, to Senior Manager of Over-the-Counter Appropriate Use, Patient Education.

Leily, pictured below, shares her quick advice for Darden students seeking a similar career that operates within the exciting overlap of marketing and health care.

What roles do MBAs have at Johnson & Johnson

Marketing, procurement, finance, operations, R&D


What do your day-to-day responsibilities include?

I lead a team of program managers who work on the patient experience in our clinical trials. Example
deliverables are: strategic recommendation slide decks and budget spreadsheets.

What’s your “why”?

I really enjoy thinking about the patient experience and how it can be improved. I have a brand management and marketing background so it’s really fun to use marketing principles in the world of R&D and patient experience.

In addition to the “content” of the job, I really enjoy managing a team of passionate and talented people.

What’s challenging about your work?

I don’t own the budget so I am not the final decision maker.

What advice do you have for Darden students interested in health care?

Get fundamental experience in marketing and brand management, as it can be applied to a number of
different areas!

What did you want to do as a career when you started at Darden? How did that change over time?

I thought I wanted to go back into the nonprofit sector (which is where I was prior to Darden), but I have
been at Johnson & Johnson for almost 10 years and love it because I’m constantly learning and being challenged.

Which skills are most important to be successful at your work?

Strategic thinking, leadership, ability to zoom in and out as needed, collaboration, influence without

What are your favorite industry news sources or podcasts?