How to Get In On The Biggest Industry in America

Pop quiz: what industry represents almost a fifth of U.S. Gross Domestic Product, is the focus of one of President Obama’s newly-created Executive Offices, is challenged by issues of leadership and management (read: “opportunity”), and is getting hotter every year at HBS? No, it isn’t “Beanie Babies” – it’s Healthcare.

It is no wonder that so many HBS students, faculty and alumni are drawn to healthcare. Spanning from consumer wellness to sophisticated biologics, from information technology to global health, from hospital operations to policy reform, the industry means many different things to different people. Not only does it offer the opportunity to do something meaningful that affects every one of us, but it also is an industry that is ripe for innovation. As one of Dean Light’s Five Initiatives, healthcare is a key focus area at HBS. In the 2008 annual report Dean Light talks about healthcare and science-based businesses extensively.

-Approximately 10% of HBS admits indicate on their
application that they are interested in a career in healthcare
-Nearly 100 HBS students each year take jobs in the healthcare industry
-Over 20% of HBS faculty have conducted healthcare
-There are over 4,500 HBS alumni working in the field
For students interested in exploring career opportunities in any healthcare sector including biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, diagnostics, service delivery, international health, venture capital tag heuer replica for sale , consulting, entrepreneurial startups, or insurance, there are many ways to learn more about the industry at HBS.
-Alumni Mixers – At least one mixer is held each semester so that Boston-area alumni can meet and network with current students.
-Alumni-Student Mentorship Program – Healthcare Club members are paired with HBS alumni whose career interests match their own.
-Community – From happy hours to bowling nights, students frequently point to the strength of the Healthcare Club community.
-Courses – Next year there will be six elective healthcare courses. Their topics range from care delivery and global health to innovation, entrepreneurship and commercialization.
-Healthcare Conference – Each year the Healthcare Club organizes a conference that attracts over 300 students and professionals. Last year’s Conference featured the CEOs of Aetna and Geisinger Health Plan, the CFO of Boston Scientific, and other healthcare business leaders.
-Immersions/January Term Programs – Plans are underway for several intensive healthcare programs to be offered during January 2010.
-Industry Week – In the fall, alumni panels representing the various healthcare industry sectors provide students with advice and insight on career development.
-Philanthropy – The HBS Healthcare Club raises money for Prize4Life, the innovative charity supporting research on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
-Speakers and Networking Events – There have been more than 50 different healthcare-related events on campus in the past year, including the following:
-Sean Burke, CMO, GE Healthcare
-Deborah Dunsire, MD, President and CEO, Millennium Pharmaceuticals
-Jeff Henderson, CFO, Cardinal Health
-Jim Kim, MD, Founder, Partners in Health
-Ben Sasse, Former Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation US Department of Health and Human Services
-Student Talks – The depth of healthcare expertise among HBS students is unparalleled. This coming year, look for student-led educational events covering topics from the reimbursement system to home care to hospital debt markets.
-Treks – Organized by the Healthcare Club, treks offer students a chance to visit healthcare organizations including hospitals, venture capital firms, and biotech companies.

Hosting and organizing most of the above activities are the HBS Healthcare Initiative and the student-run Healthcare Club

“The quantity and caliber of healthcare events at HBS and around Harvard has increased steadily over the past several years. You could attend a discussion on healthcare practically every day of the week,” said Cara Sterling, the Director of the HBS Healthcare Initiative.

The HBS Healthcare Initiative (HCI) serves as a gateway for healthcare research, educational programs, and collaboration at HBS. The HCI works with students, faculty, alumni, Executive Education participants, and with many other parts of the University to make connections between key stakeholders who share a common interest in applying the best principles of performance management and innovation to healthcare. Through the HCI and the Healthcare Club, HBS students have unique access to cutting-edge healthcare thought at Harvard Medical School, the Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard Law School, MIT, and many other premier institutions.

The mission of the Healthcare Club is to provide a forum for students to learn about the business of healthcare, to interact with other students who are interested in healthcare, and to meet with leaders and key decision makers in the healthcare industry. In addition to hosting numerous networking events, they plan an annual conference which attracts over 300 people. “Every year, we are strengthening our relationships with Fortune 500 companies, exciting startups, thought leaders in healthcare at Harvard and beyond, and many others,” commented Robin Tang, Healthcare Club co-president for 2009-2010. “This fall, look for even more robust offerings to help you start your career in healthcare – or take it one step further.”

You can find more information about healthcare at HBS at the following websites:
Healthcare Initiative:
Healthcare Club:

Alan Braly worked as a biomedical engineer at Medtronic prior to HBS.

Alok Sathaye is a Co-President of the Healthcare Club. After graduating from Johns Hopkins in 2003, he spent his time in Minneapolis developing medical devices, and then in Boston working for a healthcare strategy consulting firm.

April 21, 2009
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