Alumni Spotlight: Wes Brown, Class of 2011

Wes Brown

Wes Brown graduated from UT in 2011 with degrees in Business Honors and Chemistry. Since graduating, he has been pursuing an MD from Harvard Medical School, as well as a Master in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government and a Master of Philosophy in Public Health from the University of Cambridge. Needless to say, he has been quite busy.



You are completing two master’s degrees along with your MD. Why did you decide to take on the master’s programs at the same time?

I came across the masters in public policy option during med school. Because I went straight through from undergrad to med school, I thought it would be practical to try something else. We got a month of health policy training during our first year, but I felt I didn’t know enough about how the health care system worked and thought it would be useful to explore that world further. Learning about the options available within the policy sphere would be a nice supplement to my future in health care. I started taking classes in the Kennedy School and was exposed to work in behavioral economics. I was challenged by my professors to explore the public health applications of behavioral economics, which led me to the master’s program in England that integrated public health, philosophy, and the behavioral sciences. The subsequent interest in public health has really been an extension of my pursuit of the public policy degree.

Harvard is good about supporting students who want to pursue interests outside the box, including experiences abroad. I’ve learned a lot about the policy world in the past year, which has supplemented the business training I received at UT and current medical training. It’s been fascinating to see how different these worlds are and how they interact.

I recently completed the Zuckerman Fellowship in Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership. The program fully funds 16 students from across the country who are pursuing an MBA, MD, or law degree and are interested in pursuing a master’s in public health, public policy, or graduate education at Harvard. It has been a remarkable experience. They’ve had great programming that has brought me together with other professionals from across the country who have a variety of interests, but all want to tackle some of the most difficult problems facing the public sector. I’m very lucky to have been able to do it.

What similarities and differences were there in applying to your master’s programs and to medical school at Harvard?

They are very different, which is probably why many don’t combine them.  Both programs want well-rounded people who are truly motivated to make meaningful change in the world. You have to have a working vision around the change you want to see. The medical school has a more regimented, formulaic way of applying to it. The masters programs are a departure from the more formulaic application you experience in med school.

The most challenging part of the med school application process was the interviews. I didn’t know what to expect. Fortunately, my interviews at Harvard were very personable since the interviewers were genuinely interested in learning more about me. They were interested in how well I could talk about what I had done and why I was interested in medicine. They weren’t just looking for the “right” answers to questions.

How did being a BHP and chemistry major prepare you for graduate and medical school?

In terms of coursework, I fell in love with operations management. The BHP curriculum allowed me to explore OM, and I’ve used it in the healthcare research I’ve done. I’ve been excited by its potential applications to areas that may not be directly related to business like health care. It was also incredibly beneficial to have exposure to my fellow classmates and the conversations we had in class. Just being in that atmosphere—small classes where the professors knew us in addition to intellectual engagement in challenging discussions—was very useful. That environment gave me the confidence to engage with future challenges that I’ve faced in med school.

I really enjoyed both majors and seeing how they were similar and different. It was useful for me to learn how the science and business worlds approached problems differently. Often in the public sector, these two groups talk past each other, and it was useful to learn more about why that is. I had a very broad education at UT, and I knew this was something UT could offer over other schools. During med school interviews, it played a positive role because those practicing medicine often don’t have a business background. I think the interviewers found my business knowledge refreshing since they tend to have applicants who are just science majors.

Even with your busy schedule, you have still managed to find time to be involved. Tell me about the leadership roles you have taken on at Harvard and the experiences you have gained from those roles.

Coming out of the closet during my first year of med school allowed me to get involved in the Harvard Medical School LGBT organization’s leadership. Medicine is a traditionally conservative field, so there were plenty of opportunities to work with the staff to see how we could better support patients, physicians, and students who identified as LGBT within that realm. I learned a lot about myself and the system, and how difficult it was to change something in a timely manner. In one project, we worked with the administration to give applicants an opportunity to express any hardships in an application essay. There wasn’t a place to do this initially. Now applicants can demonstrate that they are LGBT and describe what they have overcome to get to where they are. The change has increased the number of accepted LGBT applicants to 10-15 people from 3-4 in my year.

I also got involved in the LGBTQ Policy Journal at HKS as the health policy editor, which gave me practical skills in the editing/publishing process. Additionally, I was elected to the medical school’s Center for Primary Care Student Leadership Committee, which promoted primary care opportunities to students and staff at Harvard. My experiences in this role and recognition of the increasing need for primary care heightened my interests in primary care and health policy in general.

What are your tips for people juggling challenging academics and busy schedules like so many of our students?

Do what you love. It is so important to go after what you’re passionate about. This will serve you better in the medical field (or the application process) than simply trying to do as many things as possible. Don’t be afraid to go off the common path and create your own towards whatever goal you have. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people who are doing things you’re interested in. I have a mentor who was a couple years ahead of me in BHP who went to HMS. She’s been mentoring me for the past eight years and has been so important in helping me navigate graduate school and tough classes.

What is your ultimate career goal once you have completed your schooling and residency?

I’m choosing between internal medicine (primary care) and emergency medicine. Both are generalist in-nature, and I like that because of the problem-solving skills required. My ideal career also incorporates health policy research in an academic medical center and involvement in healthcare politics in Washington. I see my future being a mix of research, education, management, and clinic. There are plenty of career paths in medicine that allow for this flexibility. I’ll graduate in 2017 and plan to complete residency by 2020.

What public health challenges are you most passionate about?

The future of primary care. We have the Affordable Care Act and increased access to healthcare, but if we don’t have enough providers in places to deliver that care, then we have a problem. It’s a serious supply-demand mismatch. I’m not sure what the answer is, but I believe any solution should treat primary care as the centerpiece and foundation of the health care system.

I’m also passionate about medical education and how it’s going to evolve over time. I’ve had my eye on Dell Medical School for a while, because I’m interested to see what innovative ideas they come up with. Beyond medical school, I’m interested in how we’re going to fund more residency spots in the future. We need to figure out from a policy standpoint how to bolster these numbers.

I couldn’t see myself doing anything but medicine, and I want others who are interested to know that it’s a great field to go into because it’s very exciting, rapidly changing, multidisciplinary, and tremendously satisfying as a career.

Summer Internship | Student Spotlight: Allison Kubis

Allison Kubis Exxon

Company: PricewaterhouseCoopers
Position: Advisory Intern, Management Consulting in the Technology, Information, Communication, and Entertainment Vertical and Finance Horizontal.

What did you expect to gain from your internship this past summer?

I hoped to gain some insight into the consulting world. How it is working for a client, the typical work/life balance, etc. I previously had an internship with a company in industry, so I wanted to see the similarities and differences to learn what I liked and disliked before interviewing for full-time positions.

Did the internship meet or supersede your expectations? How?

The internship totally exceeded my expectations. I was able to work not only on client work but also some internal initiatives. The client work was interesting and I really enjoyed being able to help PwC improve and gain more revenue.  On top of that, I met a lot of wonderful people, both interns and full-time employees on my team. Also, my career coach was great and even gave me the opportunity to sit on his project for a couple of days so I could see what other projects were like.

Tell me about an interesting encounter you had during your internship.

One of the most interesting days I had was actually the first one of my project. I sat in on an “Account Planning Workshop,” where managers, directors, and partners of the firm met to discuss a potential client. It was awesome getting to meet so many of the people who are the upper management of that area in PwC. I also liked seeing the detail that the firm goes into when pursuing a client, its people, and its problems.

What did you learn about yourself that you did not know before?

I learned that I am a quick learner and able to work without many details. I also learned that I need to focus on my reader when creating a document and organize it so that it’s easy for them to consume. I also learned where my mental capacity is.

Consulting is known for long hours, and I learned the point at which my brain stops working and I need a break, whether it’s eating, working out, or driving home.

What did you contribute to the company?2015-07-20 10.12.10

I contributed by working on a few things for my client, but I also worked for PwC internally. I did research and created slides for a partner as he was preparing to pitch some work to a potential client. On top of that, I also worked on some competitor and sector research for an event that PwC was interested in getting more involved in.

What advice do you have for other students who are recruiting for internships?

After this summer, I would definitely recommend that students try different areas with each of their internships. I know it can be easy to accept a return offer or stick with what you know, but you learn so much more when you try new things. I’m glad I went in the opposite direction for my second internship because I learned a lot about what I want out of my full-time job, so I know what companies to target.

Summer Internship | Student Spotlight: Benedikt Kroll

BenedicktCompany: Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.
Position: Sales & Trading Rotational Intern

What did you expect to gain from your internship with Goldman Sachs?

I expected to gain a better understanding of international markets, a broader exposure to global capital movements and a more quantitative approach to forming and expressing trade ideas.

Did the internship meet or supersede your expectations? How?

My three rotations were spent on macro-oriented desks in currencies, rates, and equities. I had exposure to the biggest financial macro markets via instruments ranging from simple linear spot to rate curves and vol surfaces. The culture at Goldman encourages collaboration above most competitors, which  made finding ideas and learning a very easy and natural process.

Tell me about an interesting encounter you had during your internship.

I met a lot of amazing, often very young people in senior roles at Goldman. The best isolated encounters I had were with senior people, because they cared more for who you are as a person than your straight ability. In one particular encounter I talked for around an hour with one of the partners about my childhood, upbringing, and extracurricular interests without ever touching on financial/work related topics. For me that was particularly memorable because it showed that Goldman cared not only for my technical and commercial development but was concerned with my development as a person and independent thinker as well.

What did you learn about yourself that you did not know before?

I learned a good deal about what I value in my work and employer from both a professional as well as a personal perspective.

I learned the importance of quickly arriving at a good estimate of the best course of action as well as how to approximate the best balance between sticking with it and re-evaluating as you get new information.

What did you contribute to the company?

Most of what you contribute as an S&T intern is bringing a different perspective to known problems/inefficiencies. Much of your internship is spent being mentored. Trading in particular is and for the foreseeable future will remain, an apprenticeship business. That being said I contributed on a few projects relating to problems ranging from more technical goal oriented projects to simple daily recaps and resultant trade ideas/daily positioning game plans.

What advice do you have for other students who are recruiting for internships?

If you’re thinking about what role you might fit in, I think the biggest questions you should ask are

1) what time frame you like your problems to be – do you want to spend minutes, days, weeks, years on projects. What’s your attention span?

2) how much risk you’re willing to take with your life. Are you ok with being in a role where there’s no structure to your advancement or do you need it laid out for you. Can you take being fired?

3) what you value in your life and how you want to spend your time thinking about the world. Do you want to think about people, organizations or economies? Do you like the role that your job plays in helping society move forward?

If your work is going to play a big role in how you spend your time and live your life – in finance the hours alone oftentimes force this – your job should reflect who you are.

Summer Internship | Student Spotlight: Julie Yoon


Company: ExxonMobil
Position: Upstream Controller’s Project Development Intern

What did you expect to gain from your internship?

During the course of the internship, I expected to have the opportunity to meet and network with a lot of great people and learn more about the company and the numerous sectors it is composed of. I also wanted to be challenged and to be able to learn something new on the job every day.

Did the internship meet or supersede your expectations? How?

The internship definitely met and superseded my expectations. The project that I worked on this summer gave me the chance to reach out to many diverse people within the company and challenged me in ways that I have not been challenged before within a classroom setting. The aspect that really exceeded my expectations was the company culture. Being treated as a full-time employee and working on a project to solve a problem that the company was currently facing, helped me become fully immersed in the collaborative, fun learning culture of the company.

Tell me about an interesting encounter you had during your internship.

During the internship, one of the best encounters I experienced was during the intern events. This is the first summer that ExxonMobil had a program that allowed interns across all sectors of the company to interact, network, and participate in intern events together. This gave me the chance to meet both undergraduate and master students outside of the business realm and allowed me to network with people who work in the field or in technical and engineering focused roles. It definitely helped me understand the large scope of the company and meet a lot of great students.

It is the people that truly make ExxonMobil a great place to work, and I cannot emphasize enough that the people I met were so diverse, knowledgeable, and caring during the entire course of my summer internship.


What did you learn about yourself that you did not know before?11720023_10207229446875615_806798095_n

One thing I learned about myself this summer was that I really enjoy solving large scope, abstract problems. I have always geared toward problems that are very defined and easy to understand; however, for my internship project, the problem I faced was very abstract and not neatly defined. I found the process of de-tangling the problem very interesting and met a lot of incredibly smart people along the way.

What did you contribute to the company?

I updated and improved the project management database that the regional and senior project controllers used within Development. By interviewing the people that maintain and use the database, I was able to increase the effectiveness and value of the process. This provided a better tool to analyze and understand the various projects that Development works on.

What advice do you have for other students who are recruiting for internships?

This internship definitely was an incredible experience. Even though it was a summer internship, there was not a moment when I felt that I was not one of the valued employees of the company. It gave me the chance to really see what type of work and daily routine a full-time hire would experience.

Summer Internship | Student Spotlight: Charlie Adkins

Unknown-1Where did you work and what was your title and department?

This summer, I interned with the NFL in the User Acquisition department. The department is part of the Digital Media group, and our products include Game Pass – an international subscription product featuring live games – fantasy football, and other digital subscription products. The head of my business unit was a BHP alum, which I did not know before starting there. Once we learned of each other, we were able to immediately connect on a more personal level, due to our BHP connection.

 What did you expect to gain from your internship this past summer?

I expected to gain an understanding of how various departments all work together for league-wide success. I wanted to see how football operations interacted with digital media, accounting, sponsorship, legal, and all of the other departments around the league. Each piece is crucial to the success of the NFL and its 32 clubs, and I wanted to understand how the league operates. Additionally, I wanted to learn and develop a new skill set in digital media, as it was an area that I had never been fully exposed to.

Did the internship meet or supersede your expectations? How?

My internship definitely exceeded my expectations. While I aimed to learn as much as possible at the league level, I gained a broader understanding in many different functional skill sets in digital, marketing, and branding. I had never worked in a digital media role before, and I was challenged with a new task each and every day.

Each week the interns interacted with a different department through presentations that showed insight into various pieces of the business and how they fit together to form the NFL and serve the 32 clubs for the ultimate benefit of the fan. My department constantly worked with other teams, so I was able to gain insights from other departments into how and why they perform the functions that they do.

Tell me about an interesting encounter you had during your internship.

During my internship, I took advantage of many external opportunities and events, which I would highly recommend regardless of your interests. As someone who intends to enter the sports industry post-graduation, I attended various sporting events during my time off of work. I visited Yankee Stadium, Citi Field, Camden Yards, and Citizens Bank Ballpark. At each stadium, I walked around to experience the different features of the ballpark, and I paid close attention to the little things – ballpark layout, game presentation, sponsorship activation, concession options, and many others.

While I was not “working” at that time, I was adding to my knowledge base within the industry and will be able to share my takeaways from each in the future. As a sports fan, I attended the Belmont Stakes and witnessed American Pharoah win the first Triple Crown in the last 37 years, which was truly a once in a lifetime experience.

 Sharing that moment with 90,000 screaming sports fans to root American Pharoah to the finish line is something that I have never experienced before and will never forget. Additionally, I witnessed Alex Rodriguez’s 3000th career hit, a feat that has only occurred 29 times in MLB history.


Ultimately, the important piece is to truly utilize all of the resources and opportunities that are around you during the internship – both on the clock and off.

What did you learn about yourself that you did not know before?

I learned how much I enjoy strategy and understanding why things are done a certain way. I like to set (or help to set) the vision and strategy for an organization, department, or product. Then, I like to put the vision into practice and execute it. I am very curious and always seeking to learn something new, and that did not change during my internship. I asked questions and read frequently to better understand the landscape and why we did things a certain way. I searched for opportunities to provide a better product for our fans, both domestically and internationally.

What did you contribute to the company?

During my time at the NFL, I worked on a variety of different projects. My workload changed daily as new projects came on board. I developed new recruiting materials, created tracking links for our affiliate program, and provided growth opportunities in international markets. I wrote a sizzle reel commercial to communicate product value and grow the reach of the NFL internationally. I worked on our marketing plans for this season and consolidated research on our fans in core international markets. In short, I worked on a variety of different projects and brought my perspective to the table in every discussion.

What advice do you have for other students who are recruiting for internships?

Make sure to take advantage of the opportunity that you have been given. Take the time to get to know others on your team, as well as from other departments that seem interesting to you. One of my favorite parts of my internship was the opportunity to interact with others around the league, as I enjoy learning from other people’s experiences. Others in the office are willing and eager to talk to you, especially when you take the initiative to reach out to them in a respectful way. Look for new opportunities for your team and provide a new perspective to the group, as you never know where it could lead.