HSM Bootcamp: Launch pad for the HSM experience

Steven MaDuke MBA students who are also part of the Health Sector Management (HSM) program arrive on campus a week early for an intensive, 5-day, healthcare bootcamp. It serves as a primer of the US healthcare system and is the launch pad for our entire HSM experience. Half of the HSM folks do not come from the healthcare industry. Even for those of us who do, most only have experienced one or two different areas of a very diverse industry. While I was familiar with pharma and biotech, I had much to learn on the provider, payer, and regulatory aspects of the US healthcare system.

I get asked this sometimes from prospective students – the HSM bootcamp and the HSM courses focus on the US healthcare system in general. Sometimes comparisons are made to UK, Canada, Japan, or China, but I’d say more than 90% of the time our topics focus on the US. However, we have classmates from all over the world who share rich healthcare experiences overseas. Also, the bootcamp amounts to 3 academic credits, so the hard work does end up paying off!

The bootcamp was a nice preview of the MBA experience, and I’m thankful for that – having been out of school for a few years. We began with a lecture at 8am after breakfast. After lunch, we had more seminars and a handful of external speakers that talked about diverse issues such as health policy, ethics, tech transfer, venture capital, and global health. In the evenings, we had a company-sponsored event and heard about post-MBA opportunities in these healthcare companies.

The fall terms were definitely fast-paced and many would consider it the most stressful period in the Duke MBA. During bootcamp, on 3 of the 5 days we left campus around midnight and had to get back for class at 8am. This was not something I was used to doing since graduating from college. Having the HSM bootcamp (and also the Global Institute) before the fall terms started was helpful in getting back to the academic mindset.

Another benefit to the bootcamp was that the 90 or so HSM students could meet and engage with one another before the entire 400+ class was on campus. Everyone was passionate about healthcare and I definitely learned a lot from classroom discussions, especially on the provider and regulatory aspects. After the entire first year class arrived, we were divided into 1 of 6 sections, so the HSM bootcamp gave us the opportunity to connect with folks across the different sections early on.

The HSM bootcamp provided a great overview and brought everyone up-to-speed on general knowledge of the US healthcare system. It is a rapidly evolving industry with many stakeholders and governed by powerful forces. Coming from an R&D background the bootcamp was a great primer to get a first look at some of the issues impacting the business of healthcare.

This post is also featured on my blog From Bench to Board where I share my experiences at Duke.  I am particularly passionate about those related to the MBA’s Health Sector Management program. Visit my blog to learn more!

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