Club Spotlight – Foster Healthcare & Biotechnology Association

The Healthcare and Biotech Association (HCBA) focuses on connecting students across the Foster Full-Time and Evening programs with others interested in the healthcare and biotech industries. HCBA does this through networking events, informational panels with alumni, intimate fireside chats with industry leaders, and volunteering opportunities. In this feature, Tom Pedersen Full-Time MBA ‘24 and Seema Sinha Evening MBA ‘24 from HCBA’s outgoing leadership shared their insights.


Please tell us a bit about yourselves.

Tom: I was born in the Bay Area, and I tried on several careers before coming to Foster. After exploring clinical diagnostics, synthetic biology, and even craft brewing, I decided to pursue an MBA to unite those disparate skill sets. I am a huge supporter of the life sciences and I believe deeply in their potential to rewrite health outcomes and help us build a more sustainable circular economy. Outside of Foster I enjoy rock climbing, playing the guitar, and connecting with my brewing roots with the occasional fancy beer. 

Seema: I was born and brought up in New Delhi, India. My dad was an Army officer and that meant I was able to travel a lot as a kid. I am passionate about turning scientific innovations into commercial products and delivering them to patients globally. I currently work with the life science commercialization team at Vanderbilt University while pursuing my Evening MBA. Outside of Foster, I love traveling (of course), dog walks, exploring various hikes in the Pacific NorthWest, and music! I picked up my Sitar a year ago and recently had my first solo recital.


Fireside chat with Kayla Young

Fireside Chat with Kayla Young from Phase Genomics 


What unique role does your club play in promoting students’ goals at Foster? Or what unique value does your club provide? (If there are specific examples/anecdotes/stories of students gaining employment opportunities, gaining mentors etc. even better)

Tom: We at the Healthcare and Biotechnology Association are trying to build bridges from Foster to the thriving health and life science community in Seattle. We bring in alumni and industry experts to host talks on MBA career paths, we co-host career fairs with our career management office, and design applied strategy projects for students to explore career options in the space. Our mandate is broad, and we do our best to reach all the sectors of healthcare that students are interested in: provider/health system, insurance, biotech, pharmaceuticals, healthcare consulting, public/global health, medical devices, etc


Which club events have been most popular or successful and why? What have you learned about leadership while in this role?

Tom: I’d love to talk about two events we hosted in the Fall for incoming students. We (my co-president Naill and I) understood that Foster has a sterling reputation for graduating excellent Product Managers and Management Consultants, and we wanted to show how those skills might translate into Healthcare and Biotech careers. We hosted two panel discussions with Foster alumni to explore careers in Healthcare Consulting and Biotech Product Management. These events allowed new students curious about new domains to get a taste of jobs outside of what they may have previously considered.


What were your expectations and intentions as you took on the role? Did your experience line up? What has been enjoyable? Challenging? Surprising?

Seema: When I joined the MBA program, my goal was to connect as many like-minded folks, passionate about healthcare as possible by being a part of the HCBA. I have seen first-hand how welcoming each member of the foster community is and how they bring the same spirit to the club. I wanted to contribute by being a part of that inspirational team. It has been challenging to balance full time work and school but at the same time it has been a really rewarding experience. I am lucky to be a part of the foster community and the club!

Tom: I’d say it has been equal parts challenging and gratifying. Building an alumni network, hosting impactful events, and working with career management to improve healthcare and biotech hiring for Future Foster students have all been highlights of the role. Balancing the work with recruiting, social life, and responsibilities outside of Foster have been a challenge, but at the end of the day I feel fortunate to have been able to contribute to such a tight community. 


Do you have a favorite memory of your time with the club?

Tom: We hosted a fireside chat with Kayla Young, the Chief Operating Officer of prominent UW spinout Parse Biosciences. The almost casual nature of the event and her openness and candor really helped students like myself understand the Seattle biotech ecosystem and what it would mean to work there. This event, in addition to our annual alumni happy hour, was an excellent opportunity to connect Foster MBAs to the local life sciences community. 

Seema: This is a tough one. I have enjoyed every time our club meets and the energy that folks bring. One of my favorite memories is when I volunteered with the club members at Ravenna Park in Spring 2022. Who knew that picking weeds would bring such a passionate group of healthcare folks together!


What tips do you have for incoming MBA students as to why they should join the healthcare club’s leadership?

Seema: By joining the leadership, you get a great opportunity to develop skills like communication, organization and teamwork. You also have a platform to network with the local healthcare community and work with the career management to reach out to folks who are across different areas of the life science industry such as pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, consulting, hospital administration, or healthcare startups. The club can further help you understand the nuances of various healthcare sectors, connect with professionals, and access relevant resources.

Tom: Club leadership is a great way to practice important career skills. Coming from a science background I had little experience in areas like event planning and organizational management, and this role helped me grow and figure out my personal leadership style. With HCBA I’ve also had the chance to build connections with the community, program office, and students across the many MBA programs at Foster who I otherwise may not have met. Being involved in this organization has exposed me to many potential career paths I may have otherwise overlooked, and I would highly recommend healthcare or healthcare-curious MBAs give it a try.