Foster’s Strategic Management Students Deliver Recommendations to Ensure All People Receive Appropriate Healthcare

Congratulations to the Winning Team of Elizabeth Bui, Chris Lam, Sowmya Magham, Sophia Peng and Michelle Yang 

Students were once again spotted throughout the halls of Foster, dressed in their suits and practicing their presentations one last time before entering the competition room.The Strategy Development Competition, which is part of the capstone undergraduate course Strategic Management (MGMT 430), was back in person this fall, and the energy from students, judges, and staff was felt throughout the building. 

Foster partnered with Providence Healthcare for this quarter’s case, “Positioning for the Right Healthcare Solutions,” which was written by Ussama Ahmad Khan and advised by Rick McPherson. Providence, which is one of the leading healthcare service providers in the western United States, has been challenged by some patients not understanding how, when, or where to seek appropriate healthcare, which can result in higher costs for patients and Providence. This is especially true for marginalized communities who can be the hardest to reach but need healthcare the most. Students were charged with delivering the best strategy for Providence to position itself to be the preferred care provider at all levels of care while differentiating itself from existing competitors. Providence also wanted to know how to make its service offerings easy to understand and access by the various communities it serves, so that individuals select the right level and location of care. 

The winning team of Elizabeth Bui, Chris Lam, Sowmya Magham, Sophia Peng and Michelle Yang recommended a two-pronged approach. 

1) Improve messaging on Providence’s services through transparency, resource and inclusive channels. To achieve this, the team suggested Providence integrate a “Find Your Level of Care” tool to assess and direct patients and a “Pricing Transparency” tool to eliminate potential barriers.  

2) Increase access to healthcare by addressing underlying obstacles such as job security, insurance and transportation. To achieve this, Providence should implement mobile, student-run free health clinics, information and interpreters for underserved communities. 

The judges were not only impressed with the team’s analysis and recommendations, but also their strong presentation and seamless transitions. This was also a valuable learning experience for the students. Below are their responses when asked how participating in the Strategy Development Competition helped them grow as a business student and/or professional? 

This competition helped me grow by giving me the challenge of learning about an industry I previously knew limited information about: the healthcare industry. It initially seemed daunting, trying to find a solution that addresses the complex layers of the healthcare industry. But the case was rooted in reality, rather than a hypothetical scenario, so I learned to fully analyze the case with care. I believe I grew in my ability to tackle business problems by getting to the underlying cause, while working quickly to strategize purposeful, intentional solutions. My team also worked to empower and challenge each other when something in our solution was unclear, and I learned how much I enjoy achieving a goal as a team! 

– Sophia Peng

I learned the best ways to work collaboratively with other young professionals to develop clear analyses and robust solutions! I loved working with my fellow teammates and they helped me improve my skills as a young marketer and as a presenter! 

–  Michelle Yang

Participating in the Strategy Development Case Competition allowed me to implement the frameworks learned in the classroom and develop a greater understanding of how to approach a challenging problem. This experience will definitely support my career aspirations of being a consultant.

– Christopher Lam

This competition not only taught me how to use and apply various business frameworks from a SWOT analysis to a ERRC chart, but it also helped me realize the level of complexity real-world issues carry. Learning how to collaborate with my peers regarding an industry that nearly none of us were familiar with taught me how to navigate ambiguous and uncomfortable situations. It pushed me to proactively resolve areas of uncertainty by investing more time into researching and discussing questions with my team. Ultimately, the competition itself greatly developed my professional skills as I learned how to present a complex idea in a clear, concise, and formal format. The Q&A also tested the extent of my knowledge as well as the strength of our presented strategies since it enabled me to view our work from a new perspective and challenged me to use sound reasoning to address the judges concerns. Overall, this competition greatly helped me grow as a business student from all aspects!

– Sowmya Magham

The problem poised for the Strategy Development Case Competition was difficult this quarter, but I thought it was a great challenge. Due to the nature of the case, it made me think more creatively and critically than ever before. The research and knowledge required for this case helped me learn more about the intricacies of diving into a complicated industry and what it meant to fully understand the problem. Overall, it was a good experience, and I could not have asked for a better team to do it with.

– Elizabeth Bui