The HSM Journey: An international health care professional’s perspective of the first year MBA

Itai RikovitchAfter working with an Israeli medical devices Startup Company and negotiating several due diligence processes with top US corporations, I gained preliminary exposure to the US health care arena.  This experience triggered my decision to explore the US healthcare industry and better understand the various stakeholders’ roles and incentives. After thoroughly researching the various health care related top MBA programs, it was clear that Fuqua Health Sector Management (HSM) would be the best fit for me. The elements of the HSM program at Fuqua that made it a natural choice for me are: (1) the high level of industry interest within the class (25% of my MBA class participates), (2) a highly diverse class profile including 47% internationals, and (3) the proximity of Duke University Hospital.

My initial perspective as an international entrepreneur of the US health care industry was that it is an attractive, straight forward “6 steps to entry market”: “Develop your idea, get your device to work, know your competition, gain FDA approval, find a strategic partner and either scale up or divest.”  It took 48 hours into the HSM Bootcamp for me to realize how complex, but exciting, the US healthcare industry is and how different it is from the small scale, single payer, system I came from.

A lot has been written about innovation in Israel (e.g. the best seller Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle by Dan Senor and Saul Singer) and the majority of bio technology and medical devices executives who regularly attend Fuqua events mention Israel as an innovation hub that fuels the US healthcare incumbent corporations. The level of attention the Israeli medical device and bio technology markets get is high and I always feel like I am able to communicate the differences in perception inside and outside of class.

My first year in the Fuqua HSM program has helped me to bridge previous industry understanding gaps and to gain the required foundations for my upcoming internship with a large medical devices company as a business development and strategic innovation intern. We have held multiple discussions about the possible reasons why the Israeli entrepreneurship market usually does not scale and commercialize its innovation and US corporations and start-ups do. Professor Ridley’s Health Care Markets Class, which covers the various trends and business models of the industry, was an essential part of the knowledge I gained. In addition, my view of the changing health care landscape was enriched through the various key opinion leaders that Professor Jeff Moe invites to speak as part of the required first year Health Care Seminar.  The HSM program leadership creates the ultimate environment to fully capture the breadth and depth of the US health care market as I complete the transition from the Israeli innovative market to the fast- paced and complex US healthcare industry.

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