Meet Sofija Rosich (’24), who is among the 3% of PharmD applicants nationwide to earn a coveted Rutgers marketing fellowship.

Editor’s note: This is one in a series of stories highlighting a few Concordia’s uncommon graduates. Faculty and staff submit candidates for consideration. Stories are posted in the days leading up to commencement. View more uncommon graduates here

Sofija Rosich isn’t distracted by fancy packaging. She’s a read-the-label type of gal.

The Mequon native will graduate from Concordia University Wisconsin on Friday with her Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) and Master of Business Administration (MBA) degrees.

Vigilance and attention-to-detail certainly comes with the healthcare territory, but Sofija also has a knack for discernment and a confidence that allows her to go against the grain. She passed up opportunities to attend state and Ivy league schools – as her siblings had done before her – in favor of Concordia’s PharmD and MBA dual degree program, which allowed her a more customized and efficient course of study without sacrificing quality.

“Going to an Ivy League, that’s amazing,” explains Sofija. “That shows a person is smart; they’re self-sufficient. But at the end of the day, I believe that it is what you take out of your education and how you choose to stitch yourself together. I truly believe that the future is in your hands, and it is up to you to find your own passion and create it into something you can be proud of.”

Rutgers fellowship acceptance

Case in point: Sofija took her niche Concordia degree combo and landed a coveted post-doctoral marketing fellowship through Rutgers Institute for Pharmaceutical Industry Fellowships. While Rutgers doesn’t publish statistics on their fellowship acceptance rates, Sofija learned that hundreds of candidates applied for one of only 15 marketing fellowship spots, meaning she was among less than 3 percent of individuals nationwide to be accepted.

She’s been assigned to the cardiovascular renal team for the pharmaceutical giant Bayer and will help to market one of their newly approved drugs, called Kerendia. In June, she’ll relocate to New Jersey to begin her two-year fellowship that has a high likelihood of turning into a prestigious career afterwards. She also plans on pursuing pharmaceutical licensure in the state of Wisconsin later this year.

“I’m pulling in my MBA and using applied science from my pharmacy degree for a product that will help patients,” Sofija says. “I’m taking the best of both worlds and doing something I love to help serve those who are in need. Although it is an uncommon career path for someone with a PharmD at our university, I am thrilled about it.”

A lineage of healthcare professionals

Sofija initially had her sights set on becoming a practicing pharmacist before she applied to Concordia. The career choices of her family members set the precedent. Her father and brother are physicians, just like her grandma and great-grand uncle before them. Her uncle is a surgeon, her sister is a dentist, and her grandpa was a veterinarian.

As a high schooler, she was so certain about a future in pharmacy, in fact, that she ultimately opted for Concordia over University of Wisconsin-Madison so that she could get to her career quicker. Concordia offers a two-plus-four dual PharmD and MBA degree route, which means a candidate could earn both degrees in as few as six years.  

“I’m the type of person who likes to plan my life ahead. If I can get there faster and more efficiently, then I’ll do it. That’s what Concordia gave me; it offered me a fast-track program, giving me the opportunity to use the right tools and education along the way to help me stand out even more.”

“I’m the type of person who likes to plan my life ahead. If I can get there faster and more efficiently, then I’ll do it. That’s what Concordia gave me; it offered me a fast-track program, giving me the opportunity to use the right tools and education along the way to help me stand out even more.”

Sofija Rosich (’24), PharmD/MBA

Once she started to engross herself in Concordia’s MBA courses, she felt a spark of passion. Once again, Sofija eschewed the norm by opting for a non-traditional career path in her field, effectively bucking a family trend.

Concordia support

Her decision to choose Concordia connected her to Dr. Michael Oldani, a professor in the School of Pharmacy who formerly worked as a sales representative for Pfizer. It was Oldani who first floated the idea of the Rutgers fellowship to Sofija and introduced her to Big Pharma her first year of graduate school.  

“To me, Big Pharma is an industry that plays a crucial role in advancing medical science and improving public health,” Sofija says. “Bayer has been around for over 150 years, and there still continues to be so much growth and discovery in diseases that were once thought untreatable. I am excited to become a part of a company that places the needs of our patients first, something that I have been taught to focus on the past four years of my academic career.”

Paving an uncommon path for others

Sofija is thankful she landed at Concordia. Had she gone to Madison, she believes that she may not have been exposed to her true career passion on time. And she’s eager to help future students at Concordia learn from all that she navigated.

She started an effort to launch a student chapter of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists at Concordia to help expose students to the many and varied career opportunities that exist for pharmacists. She was also the first CUW student to take part in the IPhO VIP Case Competition by teaming with the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy at a national level. Alongside Oldani, Sofija is advocating for the creation of an “industry pathway” at CUW that would help prepare students for a career like hers while still staying on top of their courses for graduation.

In addition to a fast-tracked route to commencement, Concordia afforded Sofija the opportunity to be involved in extra-curriculars, like orchestra, and explore other opportunities she likely wouldn’t have had time for elsewhere. She says these “extras” helped turn her into a more well-rounded individual.

As a person who reads the fine print and looks for something beyond just pedigree, a holistic education is worth its weight in gold. “I think legacy is not only what you leave for yourself, but it is also what you can put into others,” Sofija says. “This is what I hope to create for the future at our university. I hope more people start to create opportunities like I did for themselves and not be afraid to take on their own journey.”

Want in?

As a CUW pharmacy student, you can expect to participate in active applied learning throughout your degree program. Our accomplished faculty teach and mentor each individual student in a welcoming Christ-centered environment. Our highest priority is helping you develop your talents for a rewarding life, not only a career.