Aisha Baro, 28, was born in Geneva, Switzerland and grew up in multiple countries. She graduated high school from Lycee Chateaubriand in Rome, Italy in 1995 and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations in 2004 from Rutgers University and her Masters of Business Administration (MBA) shortly after.
"Initially I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, but because my father has been in the Foreign Service I worked as a tour guide at the United Nations," explains Aisha. "My goal was to become a diplomat or a United Nations staff member and work in Foreign Service or government." Later, Aisha worked as a frontline operations manager in a corporation. "I decided I liked that better. I needed to get a business degree if I wanted to pursue a corporate career."
While getting her MBA in 2004, Aisha started at Hoffmann La-Roche as a summer intern in competitive intelligence, finding out information about competitors and trying to understand their goals and strategies. She began fulltime a year later as part of a marketing team working on Fuzeon, a product for patients with advanced stages of HIV/AIDS.
Aisha is in the Leadership Development Program for six years, rotating through different assignments. Now she is in marketing, where she wants to be for a long time. Her job has several facets, such as hiring a consulting firm to find out what doctors and patients think about Fuzeon. She gathers results, then presents a report to the team and tells them how the data are useful.
She also predicts revenues and sales for Fuzeon for up to 10 years by using a forecasting model with data from previous years. "I report product performance. Every week I find out how much Fuzeon was sold and report that to the marketing and management teams," she says. "In our department, you go through boot camp for data sources, forecasting and market research."
Aisha stays on top of matters concerning HIV by reading newspapers, HIV-related magazines and press releases, watching TV and attending national conferences when possible.
"The product that I work on makes a big difference in HIV patients' lives--that's important--and it benefits the community. I help the marketing team make decisions and I'm getting the skills that I need. It's very strategic."