The following was written by Jennifer Thomas, MBA ’16:
One of the many reasons I chose McCombs was because of the burgeoning health industry in Austin. From the construction of the forward-thinking UT Dell Medical School, to the emerging digital health start-up scene, I knew there was opportunity as a McCombs student to get involved and learn from this growth.
While other MBA programs marketed more traditional healthcare concentrations, McCombs offered innovation and the chance to chart new territory in an industry in need of creative, tech-savvy ideas.
Once on campus, I got involved in the MBA Healthcare Association, eventually serving as president of the student-run organization. While this group does an excellent job of providing networking and high-level educational events, there was still a need for more in-depth healthcare programming where students could dissect and debate the many complexities of the U.S. healthcare system.
To help fill the gap, a fellow healthcare classmate, Nicholas Buck, and I launched Health Innovation Fellows (HIF) in the spring of 2015. The purpose of HIF is to promote McCombs as a place that produces business leaders with the capability to impact the healthcare industry through innovation and leadership. In other words, HIF provides an avenue for students to engage with groundbreaking healthcare leaders as well as gain hands-on experience bringing innovative ideas to the market.
Interested students apply and interview for HIF in the fall of their first year. In the spring, Fellows attend monthly roundtables with executive guest speakers. The events are part lecture, part group discussion and debate. Our January speaker is Stacey Chang, former Managing Director of the Healthcare practice at IDEO, the global design and innovation firm, and current Executive Director of the Design Institute for Health, a collaboration between the Dell Medical School and the College of Fine Arts at UT. In the fall or spring of their second year, fellows join healthcare companies for a part-time internship for credit where they can apply the innovation techniques learned in their first year and during their summer internship.
Because the health industry is in a state of rapid change, both in terms of policy and technology, hands-on exposure to current challenges is vital to building the knowledge MBAs need to succeed.
As a second semester student and almost Texas Ex, I am excited to watch this program evolve under the first class of official fellows. Looking back on our experience, I did not appreciate the entrepreneurial skills I’d ultimately learn while building a new student organization. The McCombs program leadership and the UT Healthcare Initiative team helped support us along the way, providing valuable introductions and other resources. If you’re looking for a program that allows you to not only learn from the best but also build your own legacy, there is no MBA offering better than McCombs.
Meet the 2016 Fellows
Ben Berg, MBA ’17 – Marketing & Healthcare – Nerds out on personalized medicine
Ben is the Co-President of Health Innovation Fellows and VP of Recruitment of the MBA Healthcare Association at McCombs. Prior to returning for his MBA, Ben spent four years in consulting at NSF Health Sciences Medical Devices, advising medical device manufacturers on FDA regulations. This coming summer, Ben will join Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals as an intern in their Experienced Commercial Leadership Development Program. Ben received a B.A. in Biological Basis of Behavior from the University of Pennsylvania.
Daniel Ledeen, MBA ’17 – Entrepreneurship & Healthcare – Nerds out on healthcare consumerism
Daniel is the Co-President of Health Innovation Fellows and a Vice President of the MBA Healthcare Association at McCombs. During his first semester at McCombs, Dan worked with the Health Catalyst program at the new UT Dell Medical School and with Capital Factory, an Austin based incubator and start-up accelerator. Prior to returning to school, Daniel worked in business development for Telcare, a Sequoia Capital portfolio company focused on developing mobile health tools to improve patient engagement and risk management through leveraging real-time data and analytics. Before joining Telcare, Daniel served overseas in the United States Marine Corps as a Logistics Officer. Daniel received a B.A. in History from Rice University in 2009.
Abhinayaa Chokkalingam, MBA ’17 – Operations & Healthcare – Nerds out on innovative healthcare devices
Abhinayaa is a Vice President of Health Innovation Fellows and President of Operations Fellows. Through the 2016 academic year, Abhinayaa will work with Dell as part of the Supply Chain labs program and will intern in Dell over the summer in the same department. After graduating as an Electronics and Communications Engineer, Abhinayaa worked in a rotational management role at Siva Group based in India across various industries including healthcare, education and trading equities. As part of the program, she managed the marketing team of Aiwo, a subsidiary of Siva Group, launching and branding a futuristic healthcare product across India, Singapore, and Seychelles. Abhinayaa received a B.E. in Electronics and Communications Engineering from Anna University in India.
Dion Giannoukos, MBA ’17 – Marketing & Management – Nerds out on EMR and the growing use of data analytics in modern healthcare
Dion is a Vice President of Health Innovation Fellows. After spending the past four years in pharmaceutical R&D, Dion spent his first MBA semester developing his business acumen and was involved in several business challenges and projects alongside his coursework. This included an MBA+ project with NanoHybrids where he served as team leader, helping the client develop a marketing strategy for a new line of products directed at healthcare clinicians and research institutions. With previous experience in pharmaceuticals from translational research through clinical trials, Dion hopes to bring that knowledge and close connections with major institutions such as M.D. Anderson to McCombs. He looks forward to offering fellow students a better understanding of the challenges facing our healthcare system and how they can make an impact with the knowledge they acquire through their time at McCombs. Dion received a B.A. in Biology from Franklin & Marshall College.
Michael Love, MBA ’17 – Finance & Healthcare – Nerds out on making our healthcare system financially sustainable
Michael is a Vice President of Health Innovation Fellows and Vice President of Education for the MBA Healthcare Association. Prior to returning to school for his MBA, Michael worked for Premier, Inc., a leading national healthcare solutions organization, in their consulting division. Michael worked with healthcare providers across the country, enabling them to increase hospital efficiencies, improve patient outcomes, and reduce the costs of care. His team-based projects allowed him to see all different sides of the healthcare industry, and through his work with the physicians, service line directors, and hospital executives, he implemented business opportunities that put the hospitals in advantageous positions in their markets. Michael returned to school to strengthen his financial, strategy and leadership skill sets so that he can continue to improve the financial stability of our healthcare system from a higher level. He received a B.B.A. in Finance from The University of Georgia.
Karthik Narasimhan, MBA ’17– Marketing & Healthcare – Nerds out on advances in drug discovery
Karthik is a Vice President of Health Innovation Fellows and President of the MBA Healthcare Association at McCombs. He is also a 2016 Marketing Fellow. Prior to business school, Karthik spent five years at Promega Corporation, a biotech tools provider for drug discovery, forensics and life sciences research. He was the Business Development Executive for the Asia Pacific region and was based in Singapore. This fall, Karthik worked on a MBA+ project for NanoHybrids, an Austin-based nanotechnology startup. He received a PhD in Biological Sciences from the National University of Singapore.
Nicholas Buck, MBA ’16 – High-Tech Marketing & Healthcare – Nerds out on bringing the digital age to healthcare
Nicholas is the co-founder of Health Innovation Fellows and co-chair of the McCombs Admissions Committee. Prior to business school, Nicholas spent 4 years at a healthcare and pharmaceutical market research firm in NYC providing intelligence and consulting services to big pharma, health IT, and biotech firms. Last summer, he was a Sr. Graduate Advisor intern in Dell’s Commercial Marketing, Healthcare & Life Sciences group. There, he spent time formulating strategy for entry into a new customer segment and evaluating channel partner management programs. Post-graduation from McCombs, Nicholas will be pursuing start-up and boutique consulting firms that meld together his passion for technology and healthcare. He received a B.S. in Biology and B.A. in Political Science from Western Washington University, and a Master’s of Public Health (MPH) from A.T. Still University.
Jennifer Thomas, MBA ’16 – Marketing & Healthcare – Nerds out on mobile health innovations
Jennifer is the co-founder of Health Innovation Fellows and outgoing President of the MBA Healthcare Association at McCombs. This past summer, Jennifer interned with Bayer Pharmaceuticals in their Management Associate Program and will return to join their commercial rotational program in the fall of 2016. Over the course of this past semester, Jennifer had the opportunity to intern in a business development role for a local health tech startup, NarrativeDx, as well as work on a digital health accelerator design project with the new UT Dell Medical School. Prior to returning for her MBA, Jennifer spent five years in client management roles with Gerson Lehrman Group (GLG), the leading provider of independent ad-hoc consulting services to business professionals around the world. Jennifer received a B.S. in Human & Organizational Development from Vanderbilt University.