Health Care Club Year in Review

JD Sprague, Candidate for MBA, Class of 2018

Around a year ago, I made the decision to leave my job running the sales and marketing department for a small in-vitro diagnostic (IVD) company to attend Duke’s Fuqua School of Business. After spending nearly six years in the IVD space, I was ready to take on a new challenge that would allow me to learn about all facets of the healthcare industry.

Initially, I assumed that the “learning” portion of a healthcare-focused MBA would take place solely in the classroom. I have found that this could not be further from the truth at Fuqua. Of course, there is a wide array of healthcare classes taught by renowned professors, in which I have been able to dive deeper into certain aspects of the health sector. However, equally as valuable, have been the special events and programming coordinated by the Health Care Club.

Students at the 2016 Health Care Club Conference

One of the highlights this past year was the Duke MBA Health Care Conference—a day-long event that included keynote presentations by Mike Staffieri, COO of Kidney Care at DaVita, and William Carpenter, Chairman and CEO at Lifepoint Health. There were also several panels that covered topics like entrepreneurship in healthcare and the intersection of industry and policy, which was particularly interesting given that the conference was held on the day after the presidential election. Hearing business leaders from top healthcare companies talk about trends in the industry was not only helpful for my personal growth, but also in the recruiting process where I could call upon some of their insights in job interviews.

To ensure we gain exposure to industry professionals and their perspectives, the Health Care Club puts on panel discussion throughout the year. One of my favorites was the Big Data in Healthcare Panel, which included senior executives from LabCorp, Flatiron Health, Amgen, and Medtronic. It was fascinating to hear how the different sub-segments, including medical device, pharma, providers, and tech, are working together to tackle the big data opportunity in the healthcare space.

The Health Care Club also did a tremendous job helping me and my fellow classmates prepare for the internship recruitment process. Most notably, the HEAL (Healthcare Experience Assisted Learning) sessions featured Second Years in the Health Care Club who provided a roadmap and toolkit to be successful in the recruiting process. These sessions included tips for answering common healthcare interview questions and advice for writing a compelling cover letter.

This summer I will be headed to Denver, CO to work for DaVita in their Redwoods Leadership Program. They were my top choice throughout the recruiting process, and I could not be happier about this opportunity. After reflecting back on my first year experience, I am fairly certain that I would not be in this position had it not been for the support and resources that Fuqua, the HSM program, and the Health Care Club provided me along the way.

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