W Power 2024

Nadeem Ahmed: The managing doctor

A harrowing personal experience led Dr Nadeem Ahmed to look at the upstream problems in the healthcare system. Now a senior consultant at McKinsey, he is aiming to advance global health equity

Manu Balachandran
Published: Feb 28, 2024 03:08:42 PM IST

Nadeem Ahmed: The managing doctor Nadeem Ahmed, Senior consultant, McKinsey & Co Image: Mexy Xavier; Directed By: Kapil Kashyap Outfit: Nm Design Studio ; Jewellery: Ishaara; Styled By: Zainab Shakir; Assistant Stylists: Mannat Bhalla, Samridh Gupta

Nadeem Ahmed | 29
Senior consultant, McKinsey & Co

For Nadeem Ahmed, becoming a doctor came quite naturally. Growing up in a joint family of doctors in Chennai, he was expected to follow in the family’s footsteps. Still, it wasn’t until he became a caregiver for his grandmother that Ahmed firmed up that decision. “She was a three-time cancer survivor and when I wasn’t attending school, I used to support her through her radiation cycle,” Ahmed says. “She passed away after her remission the fourth time and that really hit me. But that was the north star for me to get into medicine.”

Ahmed secured admission into the Government Medical College, Chengalpattu, on the outskirts of Chennai, from where he graduated in 2018. While there, he topped his batch across rotations such as surgery and emergency medicine. After his graduation, apart from working at a private hospital chain in Tamil Nadu, Ahmed began preparing for his MD entrance examinations, before securing a seat on merit while also securing a United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) seat.  

But fate would have it another way. “My father had a heart attack,” Ahmed says. “There was some issue with the referral system, and he was referred to the wrong centre, which led to larger complications. That led me to think that a patient ends up suffering because of no fault of the doctor, but because the system is inefficient or too complex.”

Aiming to solve problems upstream in the health care ecosystem, Ahmed took inspiration from the likes of Dhaval Shah, founder of PharmEasy and a doctor by profession, in pursuing a career in management. Ahmed graduated from XLRI in 2022 before starting work at McKinsey, where he is now a senior consultant. While at XLRI, he was selected as a Peter Drucker Laureate & Global Ambassador for the Global Peter Drucker Forum.

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His work revolves around serving the Asia-Pacific region for McKinsey in the health care sector, and he founded a not-for-profit think tank aimed at advancing global health equity by championing emerging technologies and fostering stakeholder collaboration. In 2022, Ahmed was among 100 to have been chosen for the Global Leadership Challenge, a joint initiative of the University of Oxford and the St Gallen Symposium.

Nadeem Ahmed: The managing doctor

“Coming from a family of doctors, caring for others perhaps comes naturally to him,” says Arun Diaz, angel investor and management consultant. “Having spent time at hospitals, caring for patients, he felt the need to focus on a wider canvas rather than limiting himself to a single hospital and solving health care problems for the global community. He is still very young, and his achievements are certainly staggering.”

(This story appears in the 23 February, 2024 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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