HSM as a Career-Switcher

With less than 40 days left until graduation, it’s hard to believe that my time at Fuqua is coming to an end.  As cliché as it sounds, it feels like just yesterday I was engulfed in the whirlwind of business school acceptances and the never-ending pros and cons lists they inspired. I knew selecting a business school would be a life changing decision, and as a “career-switcher,” the stakes felt even higher. After visiting Fuqua during one of its prospective flagship weekends (i.e., the Duke MBA Workshop for Minority Applicants), and subsequently the Blue Devil Weekend for admits, I knew the culture of Team Fuqua and all it entails was a fit for me. Nevertheless, the Health Sector Management (HSM) program at Fuqua undeniably sealed the deal.

My passion for helping people and interest in the intersection of business and medicine is what inspired me to purse a career in healthcare. Aspects of the HSM program made it an ideal fit for me as an admit, and still ring true as a soon to be graduate of the program:

  1. The structure of the program provides a great learning environment for career switchers. With at least 1/3 of its students coming from non-healthcare backgrounds, the HSM program has mechanisms in place to help students of varying backgrounds get up to speed on the ever-changing healthcare industry. For example, every year the program hosts HSM Bootcamp, a week-long intensive course of Daytime and Executive MBA students. From the case practices to the industry expert speakers, I left Bootcamp with a new understanding of the U.S. healthcare industry.
  2. Ciera with her FCCP team

    Fuqua is known for its renowned faculty, and this applies to the HSM program as well. Professors such as David Ridley and Peter Ubel are leaders in the industry and keep HSM students abreast of the latest trends and research in the space. In addition to Health Sector Management (HSM) and Fuqua, many professors hold appointments with the Duke schools of medicine, law, public policy, etc., and are affiliated with a variety of health-related organizations worldwide. This helps maintain the interdisciplinary approach of the program and its offerings.

  3. The experiential opportunities in conjunction with HSM are impressive. As a career-switcher, opportunities to gain experience in healthcare (especially on the provider side—my path of interest) were very important to me. During my first year, I participated in the Fuqua Client Consulting Practicum, and five classmates and I helped one of the nation’s largest health care operators understand how to integrate telemedicine into their Emergency Room delivery strategy. During my second year, I completed the Duke University Hospital Experiential Learning Practicum which was another opportunity for me to learn more about the care delivery side of healthcare. Both experiences shaped my perspective of healthcare, and I leveraged lessons learned during my internship and will leverage them further during my full-time job.
  4. Ciera at her summer internship with DaVita

    The reputation of the HSM program precedes it, and healthcare companies come to Fuqua seeking top talent. Starting at HSM Bootcamp, healthcare companies make the trek to Fuqua to get to know HSM students and expose them to the opportunities their companies offer. Through formal (e.g. Health Care Club events) and informal mechanisms, I got so many opportunities to network with companies including those in industries I hadn’t considered previously. Ultimately, these opportunities helped me in obtaining the internship (and full time offer) at my top recruiting choice, DaVita.

  5. The Fuqua alumni network is strongly engaged, and this is true of the HSM community as well. Countless alumni engage with HSM students through programming (e.g., Bootcamp) as well as informal chats. The alumni engagement extended to my internship, and I was invited to happy hours and coffee chats with alumni to learn more the company and how to make the most of my internship experience.

Selecting a business school is a very introspective process that requires you to assess your personal and professional wants. I can genuinely say selecting Fuqua was the best decision for me, and the HSM program did an incredible job of preparing me for my future career in healthcare.

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