HSM Provides Outlet for Giving Back

Previous to coming to Duke, I volunteered and worked at hospitals, clinics, and a generic drug manufacturer. I witnessed patient interaction and saw patient feedback from a financial perspective. I have always enjoyed the challenges that come from working with businesses that serve those from lower social economic backgrounds. It is the care and attention that I was able to give to these patients, and the gratitude I received from them that gave me the strength to persevere into a future filled with healthcare.

As I considered business school, I slowly learned that the Fuqua family really pays attention to the world around them. It is not about personal benefits, it is about how students can improve their greater surroundings. It is this feeling of school spirit and community service that I wanted to surround myself with. The value of patient care and of “Team Fuqua” was the main reason I joined the Daytime MBA and the HSM program (Health Sector Management).

For first-year students, like me, the HSM program kicks off with an intense, week-long boot camp at Fuqua. But the boot camp isn’t just for Daytime students, executive MBA students also attend. All students attend lectures, meet speakers from all facets of the industry, and learn about the intricacies of the healthcare system as related to business. We were in boot camp sessions from July 22 to July 27, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day.

Helping Hands

Nisha (center) and her teammates work to assemble a prosthetic hand.

One event during boot camp reaffirmed my values and motivations for coming back to school. The event was sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline and in attendance were many executives from GSK, as well as alumni from Fuqua. Ms. Deirdre Connelly, a member of the Corporate Executive Team (President, North America Pharmaceuticals), started off the event by introducing GSK’s corporate values: transparency, patient first, respect for others, and patient focus. In the spirit of those values, we were then asked to help build prosthetic hands for those who have lost their arm, including children, soldiers, and residents from farming areas, mining areas, and war zones.

We were divided into teams with four students, one Fuqua alumnus, and one GSK Corporate Executive member. We were given a bag of “parts” and a packet of instructions. With the guidance of a friendly emcee, and a “help desk” that consisted of 4 – 5 GSK employees, I really enjoyed my first business school team-building experience. The atmosphere of the room literally transformed from a formal setting into a room of smiles, laughter, and tasty treats. It was great to interact with the GSK representatives, and I was amazed at the creativity and humbleness of the GSK executive team who shared their stories and experiences of growth.

By the end of the night, we helped to fill a real need in the world by building over 20 prosthetic hands, which will hopefully make the recipients’ dreams come true. I have always had a strong need to change the quality of life for people and serve society in a different way. The dynamics and purpose of this event has been something that I have never previously experienced. It is initiatives like this that not only give hope and strength to those who need it, but gives me a stronger sense of humanity and humbleness.

Before entering the HSM program, I heard that boot camp would be a grueling, yet rewarding week. Having completed the week (and sleeping for a straight day after it), I can honestly say that I am leaving this experience with two points:

  1. The upcoming two years will be all about realizing that anything is possible simply by focusing on what is really important and at the core of what I do. It is about the collaboration, motivation, team spirit, and thinking outside the box that my classmates will bring to the table.
  2. I can sit in lectures and attend networking events from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day and still have the energy and heart to push on the next day. With very few hours of sleep, boot camp has prepared us with expectations of the coming months – constant networking, working on team presentations into the late hours of the night, and an unquenchable thirst to be the very best at what we do.

After an excellent week, I am even more excited about starting my new journey into business school!