Carnegie Mellon University

healthcare trek

February 07, 2020

Healthcare Club Traverses Northeast U.S. for Industry Trek

During fall break, the Healthcare Club traveled to Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Delaware to see heath care industry innovators.

Ten MBA student members of the Tepper School of Business Healthcare Club spent a week driving through the northeastern United States visiting organizations involved in the health care industry, such as pharmaceutical developers, biotechnology companies, and an insurance provider. These visits introduced students to opportunities in the industry as part of the club’s fall career trek.

With a strong network of recruiters, the Tepper School offers MBA students ample opportunity to connect with potential employers right from the start of their MBA journeys. Starting in the fall semester, student clubs host “treks” to major cities across the U.S. to connect with companies and alumni in various industries and functions.

“Career treks are a significant resource for MBA students to gain valuable insights and make important contacts within industries of interest,” said Stephen Rakas, Executive Director of the Masters Career Center. “The treks provide invaluable networking opportunities and we’re pleased to support our student organizations each year in building strong, lasting connections to our Tepper alumni network and the broader business community.” 

On a career trek, students visit companies that partner with the Tepper School to recruit MBA interns and graduates, as well as other leading companies of interest to the students. They may also attend social gatherings to connect with alumni and industry leaders in the area to learn more about the city and build their professional networks.

Intersection of Health Care and Analytics

The Healthcare Club at the Tepper School is one of the professional development organizations that support MBA students in their path toward internships and full-time employment. The club provides members with opportunities to learn more about the industry and network with other Carnegie Mellon University students and alumni interested in health care.

The organization hosts discussions on topics that affect the industry as a whole, such as policy reform, as well as information sessions about specializations such as pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices, and the payer-provider relationship. It also helps prepare students for the recruiting process.

“The club provides a great opportunity to see that intersection between health care and data analytics, said MBA student and Healthcare Club member Tim Lee. “I think that’s particularly what attracted me to Tepper.” In addition to the Healthcare Club, Tepper School students interested in the industry also have the opportunity to pursue a dual master’s degree in health care policy and management, offered jointly with the Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy.

“Tepper is known for management science, being able to bring quantitative methodologies into the teaching of business principles,” Lee said. “The trend within the health care industry is moving toward that direction as well, and so the applications of quantitative science and business analytics are really crucial.”

Exclusive Contact

For the club’s fall trek, MBA students began their travels in Boston, Massachusetts, where they visited with biotechnology companies Thermo Fisher Scientific and Philips Healthcare, as well as Gritstone Oncology, a cancer immunotherapy company. “Gritstone is on the forefront of developing cancer treatments,” Lee said. “Just knowing that I could potentially be on the team that may be curing cancer is pretty special.”

From Boston, the students drove together to the Connecticut headquarters of Cigna, a health insurance provider. Driving between the cities provided an uncommon opportunity for the students to bond. In addition to numerous meals together, club members passed the time with Avalon, a social deduction game based on the King Arthur legends. “There are great business applications in social deception games,” Lee said. “We got to see how good we are at reading each other and develop our negotiation skills.”

Traveling between cities also allowed students to compare regional and corporate cultures. “We have the opportunity to see the entire East Coast region,” Lee said. He was particularly struck by the differences between companies like Thermo Fisher Scientific, where functions are spread out across several regions, and those like Bristol-Myers Squibb, with headquarters occupying hundreds of acres in New Jersey. “I came from a background where I didn’t have a headquarters that was extremely large,” he said. “It made me really appreciate the different kinds of company cultures that are out there.”

The club ended its trek with visits to pharmaceutical companies, including Bristol-Myers Squibb and Merck & Co. Inc. in New Jersey and AstraZeneca in Delaware. “I got to pick their brains on how they went about the development of their pharmaceutical drugs and they responded back genuinely and gave me transparent information — without going too far into their trade secrets,” Lee said. 

Lee compared the experiences of these company visits to what is sometimes called a “superday” in investment banking, when prospective first-year employees or summer analysts meet with several associates at a firm for a final round of interviews. “It gave us exclusive contact with individuals within the organization that could be our interviewers in the next couple months,” he said. The contact can be a significant chance for students to set themselves apart from competing applicants for internships and full-time positions with the companies they have visited.