The business school application process forces you to think about what you are passionate about and where in society you’d like to make a personal contribution. It allowed me to articulate a nascent desire to participate in the ongoing discussion of healthcare, and since I applied to Fuqua, I’ve been able to delve into this area even more, thinking about questions like: Is access to quality healthcare a human right? Should governments be expected to provide health services to its citizens? Is it fair that those who can pay more for medicines and services subsidize the care of those unable to pay? My list of philosophical and practical questions goes on.
The bottom line — it’s an exciting time to be involved with or interested in the health sector. The strength of the Health Sector Management Program at Fuqua, the innovation occurring in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina, and Duke’s world-class medical center were big reasons I decided to come to Fuqua. Last year, I had the opportunity to attend various interesting and in-depth events focused on the health sector, which helped me to get up to speed on all the changes happening in the industry. Fuqua’s student clubs were also a great resource, specifically the Healthcare Club (HCC). To gain some additional insight, I spoke with one of last year’s Co-Presidents of the HCC, Scott Frommer, and here’s what he had to say:
What unique opportunities exist within the Health Sector Management Program (HSM) at Fuqua?
For starters, one of the strengths of the HSM program is that approximately 70 to 100 Daytime students self-select into it every year, and as a result, they get a healthcare tailored MBA. All the students have a diverse background, which creates rich discussions in the classroom. HSM faculty are exclusively committed to healthcare and health research, which differentiates HSM from many other healthcare-oriented programs. There’s something extra-valuable about learning from a teacher whose passion, network, research focus, and in many cases, industry experience, are closely aligned with my interests.
Through HSM, we have an opportunity to interact with incredible alumni and industry leaders — for example, George Abercrombie, former CEO of Roche in the U.S., co-taught my Pharma Strategy class. Also, companies often seek assistance from HSM students throughout the school year to assist with real-world business problems. Examples include GSK, Genentech, LabCorp and others. The nearby Research Triangle Park area is full of med-tech and health service start-ups as well as established pharmaceutical and healthcare players making it easy to interact with important industry players.
Through the Duke University Hospital Practicum, students gain exposure to the provider setting and its challenges. There’s also an opportunity to take advantage of courses and programming at other graduate schools as well as to co-mingle with other graduate student populations from the Law School, Pratt School of Engineering, Global Health Institute, Duke Medical School, MMCi, etc.
Lastly, I think the breadth of courses is a key strength — we have courses that focus on biotechnology, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, law, providers, healthcare information technology, healthcare marketing, etc.
How does the Healthcare Club (HCC) augment HSM offerings?
The club’s goal is to educate members on career opportunities and industry trends in all facets of the health sector; prepare members for professional success in the health care industry through corporate-sponsored events; enhance members’ healthcare network through a variety of fun social events; and aggregate communication of on-campus and off-campus health care opportunities.
HCC provides a forum for students to get to know each other and keep abreast of healthcare-related activities occurring both within and outside of Fuqua. To accomplish these goals, the HCC works very closely with the HSM program, and we are grateful for their support. We are able to partner with alumni and provide networking and mentorship opportunities that directly relate to career-related exploration and interview preparation. Finally HCC organizes Week-in-Cities trips to New York, New Jersey, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, the Midwest and even China to allow Fuqua students to connect with employers and alumni in various regions.
How does the student-driven culture of Fuqua affect HSM/HCC?
At Fuqua, students often have “the final say” and are able to influence future direction. This definitely holds true for the HSM program and the Healthcare Club. The HSM office frequently interacts with students to understand what is working well and what areas could benefit from improvement. Members of the HSM office routinely attend HCC Cabinet Meetings.
Furthermore, students are able to customize the club’s offerings in response to feedback from its members. For example, we created a Global Health Cabinet this year due to the increased interest in this field. The club’s cabinet (student leaders) also sponsored several dinners, better integrated Fuqua into global health activities on Duke’s campus, and raised awareness of a NC-based Global Health Case Competition. Another example was our impact on the HSM Alumni Mentorship program. We were able to double the number of student-alumni pairings from 20 to 40, based on positive experiences that some second-year students had and their desire to see the program grow. All HCC programming is 100% dictated by students.
The HCC sponsors an annual Health Care Conference which serves as a flagship event for the club. This year’s conference theme was Alzheimer’s & Brain Health: A Better Understanding. We brought together industry professionals, academics and a multi-disciplinary student population from Fuqua as well as other leading business schools to learn about this topic from a variety of perspectives, including pharmaceuticals, nursing homes / payors, policy makers, and medical technology innovators. In keeping with this theme, we hosted a corporate-sponsored case competition in which seven visiting teams competed in Durham. We also sponsored a Lunch n’ Learn event with the Alzheimer’s Association and organized a Career Fair attended by most of HCC’s sponsors.
I was born on the island of Jamaica, and last lived in New York before moving to Durham to attend Fuqua. While at Duke I transitioned into the healthcare industry through the Health Sector Management program. I was involved with the Fuqua/Coach K Center on Leadership & Ethics (as a COLE Fellow), and was on the cabinet of the Association of Women in Business.