It was late afternoon on a Friday, but I was feeling energized—and for once it wasn’t because the weekend was coming! I had just spent the past week at Fuqua attending the Health Sector Management (HSM) Bootcamp.

Held annually in July, HSM Bootcamp is a week-long course that aims to brief participants on the basics of health care management, as well as current industry trends and issues. It’s also a required course for people like me who are completing the HSM certificate.

There are different timelines in which you can complete your HSM coursework relative to the Weekend Executive MBA (WEMBA) program. I had already finished my core MBA classes in December 2014 and celebrated graduation at the commencement ceremony in May 2015. However, attending HSM Bootcamp in July after my MBA graduation reminded me of the primary advantages that Fuqua provides, not only as part of the HSM program, but throughout all of their offerings.

Unique Networking Opportunities

Fuqua actively promotes cross-pollination amongst diverse cohorts of students, which leads to the ability to provide a wider range of offerings. This year’s HSM Bootcamp participants included a large contingent of Daytime MBA students and a number of students from the MBA programs for working professional including WEMBA, Cross Continent MBA (CCMBA) and Global Executive MBA. This created a great diversity which led to truly engaging discussions both inside and outside the classroom.

The primary course deliverable was a team presentation. My team included WEMBA ’15 and ’16 students, and a CCMBA ’16 student. I enjoyed discussing their program experiences so far and giving my perspective as a newly-minted alumnus. For the Daytime students in the class, HSM Bootcamp was their first Fuqua course—even before their program orientation! Many of them welcomed the opportunity to meet me and learn about my experiences at Fuqua and in industry. Though we hailed from different programs and backgrounds, our collective desire to learn about healthcare united the class.

This class diversity reminded me of my program’s Term 6, where the WEMBA and CCMBA classes meet on campus to take their electives together, enabling Fuqua to offer a wider range of courses and providing students with more networking opportunities.

Andy Alderman, Senior Vice President, Strategy & Business Development at Cardinal Health, speaks to Duke Fuqua students at Health Sector Management (HSM) Bootcamp

Andy Alderman, Senior Vice President, Strategy & Business Development at Cardinal Health, speaks to students at HSM Bootcamp

 

Connections with Industry Leaders

Key components of HSM Bootcamp were guest lectures and Q&A sessions with industry leaders in all areas of the health care sector. These events were invaluable opportunities to speak with people working on the cutting edge of health care.

Some of the highlights of the week included interactive case studies with representatives from Amgen and Medtronic, Q&A sessions with Cardinal Health, Johnson & Johnson, Cigna, and Optum, and guest lectures from representatives of Duke University Health System, Pappas Ventures (a health care venture capital firm), and Flatiron Health.

Although the focus was academic, students could speak with representatives about current health care trends and firm opportunities in general. For me, these discussions opened my mind to areas of health care that I had never considered as possible career paths and revealed unmet needs that could lead to new business ideas.

As was the case during HSM Bootcamp, the core WEMBA program provides students unparalleled access to interact with business leaders through various speaking engagements and guest lectures.

Looking Ahead

This comprehensive HSM Bootcamp course served as the perfect capstone to my Fuqua journey, synthesizing and augmenting concepts that I learned throughout the HSM curriculum. Now that I can say I’m truly done with my program, HSM certificate and all, I’m ready to capitalize on what I’ve learned and explore new areas of health care.

To my new friends who are just starting their Fuqua journeys and to those of you who will follow in the future, I wish you all the best and can’t wait to see how you use your Fuqua education to become leaders and transform health care!