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I’m More Than My Surname: Zahabiya Khorakiwala

After finishing her graduation from NYU, Zahabiya dabbled into a bubble tea business along with a friend. She started a café and launched products in Bombay. As her friend moved back to the US it was a lone journey as there is so much required to sustain a startup. Remembering how the startup fared at that time, Zahabiya says, “The acceptance was negligible as it was a new concept. We were too young, just fresh out of college.” However, working on a startup gave her a good flavor of ground realities. Thereafter, Zahabiya went on to do her MBA before joining the family business in 2010. At that time the South Bombay hospital was under construction so she got an opportunity to oversee construction, planning and recruitment. Setting up service standards, making sure the protocol is placed, launching, marketing, were areas she worked upon. South Bombay being Wockhardt’s flagship hospital marking its entry back in the metro was the most prestigious hospital for Zahabiya.

On how she earned her present position, Zahabiya shares, “When I joined initially for about six months there was a COO for business handling all the hospitals. My role was really kind of shadow him. I also learnt about the business. Within six months I was given the responsibility of managing director. All the hospital heads started reporting into me including the functional heads.

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I had the responsibility of the P&L as well as the operating responsibility of all the hospitals.” Zahabiya brought in certain technologies like integrating all the information around the patient including radiology, CT scan, pathology done by monitors, to free nursing time for actual patient care rather than documentation. Other than that she also started a pediatric heart specialist programme. Wockhardt has a stronger presence in tier-II cities as well and was the first corporate group to venture out of the metros. When asked about moving outside the Western region Zahabiya replies, “We feel we can dominate the West. It’s much more than what we would be able to do everywhere.”

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This article first appeared in the Indian edition of Entrepreneur magazine (August 2016 Issue).

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