At Kellogg, A Focus On Connection In New MBA Healthcare Pathway

Networking event Healthcare Deep Dive pathway

Students in Kellogg School of Management’s new Healthcare Deep Dive pathway connect during a networking event at the program’s second immersion weekend in San Francisco. Courtesy photo

BUILT-IN NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES

The Deep Dive’s first immersion weekend, held in January at Kellogg’s campus in Chicago, was held virtually this year due to the omicron variant. The second, February 11-13 at Kellogg’s San Francisco campus, went ahead in person. Courses included Value Creation and Capture in Healthcare Systems, Value Creation and Capture in Early-Stage Biopharma, Understanding Healthcare’s Global Marketplace, and Healthcare Strategy.

The cohort was intentionally created to combine students from different MBA programs with a wide variety of experience within the healthcare industry. Alumni networking events were built-in to the weekend immersions to help students forge connections they otherwise might not have made.

Danjuma Quarless

Danjuma Quarless, MBA ’22

Danjuma Quarless, an MBA candidate in the evening & weekend program, chose Kellogg specifically for its reputation as a leader in healthcare. Quarless is a former research scientist who pivoted to corporate strategy. He is now a strategy leadership manager at Abbvie, Inc., a Chicago-based pharmaceutical company.

“I think a format like this needs to be the capstone experience for the healthcare program at Kellogg,” he tells P&Q. “Two things struck me that were really impressive. One, this was not an introductory deep dive with introductory concepts. This was for the initiated, people who had the exposure who could take the discussion to the next level and make it that much more valuable.

“Two, the experience of having EMBAs, full-time, evening & weekend students all in the same classrooms, in the city and all together, really did show the bandwidth of the different programs and how we approach problems in different ways. I think it was my first real interaction with full-time MBA students in a substantial way, and connecting with a cohort of healthcare-focused students that I can engage with.”

FACE-TO-FACE DISCUSSIONS WITH INDUSTRY LEADERS

Another cornerstone of the format is the opportunity to bring industry experts directly into the classroom. The Kellogg campus in San Francisco, home to a burgeoning biomedical sector and other healthcare related industries, is particularly well positioned for bringing in leading healthcare experts.

“We built the program to integrate those practitioners in a way where they were not just guest speakers, but they were very much teaching the class,” Garthwaite says.

Guest instructors included Griffin Myers, co-founder and chief medical officer of Oak Street Health, a private, for-profit primary care chain that targets Medicare-eligible patients. Their care model is value-based, as opposed to fee-for-service based, meaning they make money when their patients get healthier. “That truly fits one of the things that our students want to do, and that’s doing well by doing good,” Garthwaite says.

Tarah Patz, MBA ’22

Garthwaite also co-teaches a biopharma course with Adam Koppel, managing director of Bain Capital Life Sciences.

“It’s not often that you get to learn from the managing director of Bain Capital Life Sciences and one of the founders of Oak Street Health,” says Tarah Patz, a full time MBA student who is pivoting from M&A consulting to healthcare consulting. “There was a lot from this deep dive format–everyone being there and immersed in the discussion, networking across MBA programs–that would be a lot harder in a traditional 10-week class.”

Finally, Kellogg invites in guest lecturers to give the practitioner perspective on relevant case studies. For example, the head of corporate development at Gilead Sciences Inc.–the company that cured hepatitis C but faced market resistance at the steep cost of treatment–came to the San Francisco classroom for a new case discussion on the company’s $22 billion acquisition of Immunomedics, Inc. The company leader faced tough questions from Kellogg students who believed Gilead overpaid by billions of dollars.

“We sort of went back and forth, and it was a polite but at times contentious conversation, which is what we try to have at Kellogg, Garthwaite says. “We are not inviting industry in to tell us how great they are.”

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