• ESSEC & Mannheim Executive MBA helped Annie Joseph realize her potential as an entrepreneur.
  • Debut’s leadership book exemplifies her proactive philosophy.
  • Learning journey never stops—an essential life lesson for the global leader.

Annie Joseph, a commercial leader, entrepreneur, and author of the successful book Pivot Points: How To Recognize That Things Happen For a Reason, believes that it is only through learning from life events — either positive or negative—that individuals can reach their full potential.

As extracted from her debut book, the theme of Annie’s path is that transformative experiences present opportunities for real, meaningful growth or change in each of our lives.
She says these “pivot points” can alter the course of our relationships, happiness, and careers if acted upon. They can slip limply if ignored, hampering a path to adventure and success.

Life’s a Lesson

“The learning journey never stops: it doesn’t matter what age you are,” says Annie. “We’ve all met people who think they know everything they need to know. That kind of attitude completely negates personal growth. Therefore, my advice is always to keep an open mind. Trust your instincts, take risks, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.”

Annie’s ability to fully capitalize on life’s lessons has taken her a long way. In her book, she credits the tragic death of her brother in her early teenage years as a critical moment in her development. The loss, she recounts, helped kickstart a journey that transported her from a protected teenager to a bold, fearless leader.

She has worn many hats—primarily within the healthcare industry—as a business leader and an entrepreneur. A pharmacist by profession, she held in-country, regional, and international roles for market-leading pharmaceutical firms, including GlaxoSmithKline and Allergan, before branching out independently with Vital Signs, a marketing consultancy. Meanwhile, her current role is Business Development Manager for A*STAR: Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology, and Research.

The ESSEC Experience

During this super-charged, globetrotting journey, she has performed various roles, including product life cycle management, brand building, new product launches, talent development, sales, marketing excellence, and critical external expert advocacy.

Annie is open about the fact that there have been many pivot points along her path. But one of the transformative experiences she most vocally extols the benefits of is the ESSEC & Mannheim Executive MBA (EMBA) she obtained at ESSEC in 2015.

When she pursued her EMBA at ESSEC, Annie was already well-established as a leader. She’s also a mother. For many in her position, the grueling demands of an EMBA would have seemed an effort too far. Annie, however, is cut from sterner cloth.

“Oh, it was tough, that’s for sure,” she recalls. “But I was determined to keep growing. Even after all these years, I often feel I’m still not quite where I want to be. I wanted to build my brand. So, the EMBA was another step in my development.

“One thing that helped was the excellent support from all my mentors at ESSEC. They were vital. With that, it was easier. And that’s important to mention for anyone considering taking that step.

Enlighten, Lead, Change

Since completing her EMBA, Annie has gone from strength to strength. She believes that the qualification helped her to better deploy independent thinking as a leader and embrace a spirit of entrepreneurship that may have been stifled while working for multinational pharmaceutical giants.

At Vital Signs, she helped launch a toothpaste aimed at people with diabetes for the Asian market. Meanwhile, A*STAR has established itself as a critical asset for Singapore. The agency supported research and development aligned to areas of competitive advantage and national needs for the country.

As if starting her own marketing agency and performing a vital role in Singapore’s essential vehicle for innovation in healthcare and MedTech wasn’t enough, Annie also found the time to author her book. A stint as a guest lecturer at ESSEC bumped her workload even further, as have high-profile speaking assignments at healthcare summits and leadership seminars.

It’s a prodigious output, but one entirely in keeping with Annie’s “seize the day” outlook on life.

“Looking back now, my decision to leave the multinational sphere and commit to an EMBA was another major chapter in my life story: another pivot point if you like,” she says.

“It’s straightforward to be comfortable with where you are in life. When you are at an MNC, you can feel like you are on a pedestal. But I learned much more about life and myself when I stepped out of that bubble, and I would encourage others to make that change as well.”