Carnegie Mellon University
May 07, 2015

Per G. H. Lofberg on Opportunity

On April 21, Tepper School of Business students discussed the dynamic healthcare industry with Per G. H. Lofberg (MSIA ’73), as part of the W.L. Mellon Speaker Series. Lofberg highlighted opportunities – his own and the many open to Tepper School graduates.

Lofberg opened his remarks with fond memories of his time as a student at the Graduate School of Industrial Administration (GSIA), as the Tepper School was then known, and painted a colorful picture of a Pittsburgh where steel mills lined the rivers.

He’d come to GSIA from Sweden to take advantage of the school’s novel quantitative approach and vision in utilizing computer science, expressing his gratitude for the education he received.

“Joining the graduate program here at GSIA was a profound and quite transformative opportunity for me, both personally and professionally,” he said.

After graduation, Lofberg joined the Boston Consulting Group, where he gained experience with colleagues like Mitt Romney and Benjamin Netanyahu. He described the unique environment as “Darwinian; brutal but effective” and “a second transformative opportunity.”

In response to the fundamental changes triggered by managed care, Lofberg helped to create a group specializing in healthcare, an industry in which he would remain throughout his career. All the while, he relied on “the quantitative approach of Carnegie Mellon. It has shaped my whole philosophy and approach to business up to this day,” he observed.

Lofberg then elaborated on the pharmacy benefit management business and the ever-changing healthcare industry.

“The transition from fee-for-service to managed care actually continues to this day and is far from complete,” said Lofberg. “It is at the core of the healthcare debate in this country, especially as it relates to the tension between access to care, quality of care, and affordability of care.”

“I believe that tension is actually very good,” he added. “It generates innovation and competition. It’s not coincidence, I think, that pretty much all of the innovation in healthcare happens in this country.”

Lofberg then opened the floor to numerous student questions.

He offered his advice for entering the consulting field, highlighting the benefit of experiencing a variety of business situations balanced by a demanding schedule that can impact family life.

He commented on his appreciation for the team-oriented culture at CVS and on the topic of educational depth vs. breadth, noted that he had specialized at BCG against the mold and enjoyed his “generalist stage.”

In answer to a question regarding ethics in his industry, Lofberg advised, “You’re not going to succeed in healthcare if all you focus on is the bottom line. You really have to have a higher mission, a goal to do something that’s really good for people and put that at the top of the priority list.”

In conclusion, Lofberg offered his industry views and hopes for the students.

“The pressures and changes in healthcare are by no means settling down,” he said. “In fact, I’d say they’re accelerating and this is going to create and an extremely dynamic, interesting environment in the coming years.”

“There’s a lot to do here, lots of opportunity to add value,” Lofberg continued. “I really hope that some of you will be part of this future and also that you have many opportunities, just like I’ve had, to make a difference. I do think that here at the Tepper School is a great place to start. Good luck to all of you.”


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2014-2015 W.L. Mellon Speaker Series