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Reflecting on the SHA Alumni Career Insights Panel

By Prashant Kota

Last week, the Stern Healthcare Association (SHA) hosted an alumni career insights panel to guide those MBA students interested in careers in the healthcare industry amidst the rapidly changing healthcare landscape. I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to moderate the panel, and we were lucky enough to hear from healthcare industry leaders such as Tim Nolan from EmblemHealth, Pooja Chatterjee from Abbott, and Josh Kurtzig from United Family Healthcare. 

Tim, a health insurance expert with over 30 years of experience in healthcare, leads EmblemHealth’s efforts in revenue growth and clinical and provider network as EmblemHealth’s Executive Vice President. As Tim began by reflecting on difficult times in the past, he remembered how those times have resulted in new opportunities. He urged us as MBA students to seek out opportunities in areas such as population health or others which COVID-19 will inevitably reshape. Later in the discussion, he mentioned how he had several years of practical business experience but learning finance during his Stern MBA was the “game-changer.” His view on the state of healthcare today and how it has changed over the past couple decades is predominantly in the “immense amount of data and timeliness in which data is received.” He believes medicine is both an art and a science, and clinicians having broad access to data makes it more of a science. For current and aspiring business professionals in this industry, he emphasized how we should make “cogent business decisions based on that data analysis.”

Pooja, a biomedical engineer by training, has been in the medical device industry for 15 years and is currently a Senior Manager at Abbott where she leads the Global Clinical Research Team. When asked about her technical background and how she navigated her transition into the business realm, she cited her “ability to speak cross-functional language” as being pivotal in her career progression. She fondly recalled her first semester accounting course with Professor Larry Dryer, who helped her strengthen her foundational skills that she still uses in her work today. She also pointed out the importance of business communication and noted that those with structured training from an MBA program typically are more comfortable with formal communication such as email and also present differently, whether that be live or over Zoom.  

Last but not least we were able to hear from Josh, a former business professional who worked in investment management for 10 years before transitioning his career to the healthcare industry where he is currently Vice President for Strategic Partnerships at United Family Healthcare in China. Currently working on new hospital development and strategic initiatives as well as mergers and acquisitions, he points out that now is a huge time for opportunity. He is quite optimistic about the healthcare industry but stated there will be a lull, and that it is important for students to reach out to their network and people or companies with whom they would like to work. Upon closing, he reflects on his transition to the healthcare industry as a “fantastic business to be in to hone your whole skillset.” When he switched to healthcare, he added, he felt like he was interacting with patients and playing a part in their recovery, and that made him feel beneficial towards society.

All in all, the panelists were engaging and their diverse experiences within the healthcare industry made for a worthwhile discussion. The panel was a reminder of how business leaders can have such a significant impact within the healthcare industry and how many moving parts there are within healthcare. We look forward to future SHA events and hope to see them again soon!

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