Health Sector Management Program Moves Beyond the Classroom

in Health Sector, School
October 21st, 2011

stairsThe Health Sector Management Program at Boston University is committed to providing maximum learning impact to its students.  From the India Field Seminar to the initiatives described below, our faculty is making an increasing investment in experiential learning opportunities beyond the traditional classroom.

New Industry Mentoring Program

This experience provides second-year MBA students, both full-time and evening, the opportunity to connect with leaders in the health sector in one-on-one mentoring relationships.

This program began on a pilot basis in the spring of 2010, with six students and six mentors.  For the coming 2011-2012 year, it has tripled in size, matching eighteen students with mentors.  Mentors come from several industry segments, including service delivery, biotech and pharmaceuticals, health information technology, medical devices and consulting.  This year’s group includes the chief operating officers of major Boston area hospitals and community service groups, the principal of a venture capital firm, the founder of a pioneering medical devices firm, and senior managers in global consulting firms.

“Students have the chance to experience how data leads to analysis, which then allows the development of strategy and recommendations.”

Michael Kaufman, an alum of the School of Management and an industry leader in health information technology , provided the initial concept and seed funding for the initiative, while Jerry Abarbanel , a retired executive with many years of senor level experience in human resources and training, developed the program itself.  Jerry interacts directly with all participants, ensuring that each mentoring relationship is unique, with its focus and activities determined by the goals and interests of both the student and mentor.

Among the rich experiences the program provides are robust and stimulating one-on-one discussions, visits to the mentor’s organization, discussions with members of the mentor’s staff or other industry personnel, attendance at industry conferences, and participation in one or more projects.

Analysis and Consulting for Real-World Challenges

Two courses in the Health Sector Management Program put participants directly to work solving crucial challenges in the field. Through these applied learning opportunities, students have the chance to experience, tangibly, how data leads to analysis, which then allows the development of strategy and recommendations.

“We hold a deep belief that the curriculum should be driven by what students must learn to become outstanding contributors, performers, and leaders in the health sector.”

The Health Sector Consulting course, taught by Associate Professor Bobbi Clarke, assigns teams of 3-5 MBA students to semester-long management consulting projects for  life sciences, medical device, or health services/hospital organizations. Through this real-world engagement, students address a wide array of strategic issues in an area of their core personal and career interest.

Professor Joe Restuccia’s Health Information Technology course embeds an assignment in the curriculum that requires on-site observation and analysis of an operational health information system. Exposure to real life applications and mis-applications of technology bring students beyond the traditional classroom, providing an intensive experience in a real-world setting.

Both of these courses reflect the Program faculty’s deep belief that the curriculum should be driven by what students must learn to become outstanding contributors, performers, and leaders in the health sector. Professors Clarke and Restuccia have used these courses as a model in the field, presenting a session titled “Beyond the Classroom: Applying Lessons in the Real World,” at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the Association of University Programs in Health Administration, in Charleston, SC.