How do you enter a market that, for the past twenty years, has been dominated by a monopoly player?

Our team was tasked with trying to solve that question when we partnered with Medtronic through the Fuqua Client Consulting Practicum (FCCP). Our goal was to create a go-to-market (GTM) strategy for the upcoming U.S. launch of their new robot, HUGO, designed for multi-port robotic-assisted surgery (RAS). Going up against a monopoly competitor, Intuitive, they needed fresh ideas on how to look at the problem and position themselves for success.

I worked with teammates from diverse backgrounds, ranging from management consulting to private equity, enabling a variety of perspectives to tackle this problem. We started by reverse engineering the solution, thinking through what inputs we needed to solve this problem.

Having experienced consultants on the team, we landed on a project design encompassing a market & competitor assessment, voice-of-customer strategic interviews, and customer segmentation, all framed around a strategic choice cascade and a set of guiding principles that remained true across the market scenarios we analyzed.

Across the 5-month project, we worked with Medtronic to iterate our project methodologies, conduct various analyses, and interview experts in the field, including RAS surgeons at the Duke University Hospital System.

We uncovered key insights such as developing market trends and customer segmenting factors (e.g., practice type, physician RAS experience) and what matters most in their RAS journey (prioritizing different guiding principles for each customer archetype). This enabled us to create our final playbook of GTM strategies for the client.

To round out the project, we delivered a capstone presentation where we presented our findings and key next steps to senior leaders across the Medtronic strategy, sales, and marketing teams for them to continue where we left off.

While this project was not exhaustive, it served as an excellent base for our team to dive into the RAS market and engage in critical industry problem-solving. It gave us the confidence to handle complex problems in an uncertain market and develop our ability to manage client relationships, a skill set that will translate into any industry we enter.

For me, this project was a fantastic introduction to the world of surgical robotics and Medtronic. The work, company values, and people I interacted with led me to pursue Medtronic, post-FCCP, for a summer internship, working in upstream marketing, thinking through the next generation of RAS platforms. Fast forward six months later, I’m lucky enough to say that I accepted a full-time position post-MBA with the same FCCP Medtronic client team I started this journey with – indeed, a full-circle moment.