Alumnae Profiles

Babalwa Maholwana

Dr Babalwa Maholwana obtained her MBChB degree from the University of Natal (now Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine) and obtained a Fellowship grant from the Medical Research Council after compulsory community service. Her pharmaceutical and health industry experience spans over 15 years, having held several leadership roles in Clinical Research, Medical and Regulatory affairs. Outside the pharmaceutical industry, she gained wide experience running projects in non-profit HIV research and for the Medicines Control Council, (now the South African Health Products Regulatory Agency) and International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM). Dr Maholwana is a published scientific researcher and completed the Global Executive Development Programme (GEDP) at the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) with distinction. Since 2017, she has been invited frequently as a speaker on the GIBS Women as Leaders programme, where she relates the story of her leadership journey; including how Inanda Seminary influenced her values as an independent, a pioneering disruptor and a steward for women empowerment.

She is currently on academic sabbatical leave while pursuing her Philosophy Masters in Strategy with GIBS, and consults privately on women leadership, pharmaceutical and healthcare matters.


  • Independent pharmaceutical consultant on academic sabbatical leave – June 2019 to date
  • Novo Nordisk (Pty) Ltd – June 2014 to May 2019
    Executive Head – Clinical, Medical and Regulatory Affairs (CMR) – RSA
  • Abbott Laboratories (Pty) Ltd – Nov 2012 to May 2014
    a. Executive Medical Director – Established Pharmaceutical Division (EPD) – (Nov 2012 – October 2013)
    b. Executive Medical/Regulatory/Quality Assurance Director (RSA and Region Africa) – (Nov 2013 – May 2014)
  • Pfizer Laboratories (Pty) Ltd – Dec 2011 to October 2012
    Product Physician – Women’s Health, CNS & Medical Lead for Established Products
  • International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM) – July 2009 to November 2011
    a. Associate Clinical Phase III Project Director – (Jul 2009 – Feb 2011)
    b. Clinical Development Physician – (Mar 2011 – November 2011)
  • Servier Laboratories South Africa (Pty) Ltd – Feb 2006 to Jun 2009
    a. Scientific Project Manager – Diabetes and Osteoporosis (Feb 2006 – Jan 2007)
    b. Brand Manager – Servier Neuroscience (Feb 2007 – Jun 2009)
  • MEDUNSA Pharmacovigilance Centre (March 2005 – Jan 2006)
  • MSD Pty (Ltd) (Feb 2004 – Feb 2005)
    Pharmacovigilance Manager




Global Executive Development Programme – GIBS Business School (2016)

Research Fellowship Grant - Medical Research Council [MRC]; South Africa (2002)

Chief Albert Luthuli Memorial Diligence Award - University of Natal (1995)

Inanda Seminary (1993)