For students interested in the healthcare field, Foster’s Healthcare and Biotechnology Association (HCBA) strives to “educate students about the healthcare and biotechnology industries, create valuable connections and experiences for students, and help its members gain internship and job opportunities.”
For the 2016-17 school year, HCBA is being headed up by Class of 2017’s Dina A. Fomina Yadlin. Before coming to Foster, Fomina Yadlin received her PhD. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from Harvard, where she focused her research on innovative diabetes treatments. She then worked at Amgen, the global pharmaceutical giant, focusing on improving biological drug production. It was here that she realized she wanted to be a part of the strategic business decisions being made that impacted the research outcomes of the field and the therapeutic options delivered to patients.
With her background in science, Fomina Yadlin is pursuing her MBA at Foster in order to bridge that gap between science and the business of science, and we recently sat down with her to hear about healthcare/biotech opportunities at Foster and what HCBA is planning for the upcoming year.
Why should a student interested in the healthcare/biotech field choose Foster? Foster is at the pulse of innovation within the healthcare/biotech/global health space. As a research powerhouse, the University of Washington is a catalyst for technological disruption in these fields, and as such, there is a dynamic start-up scene for students to get plugged into. We have access to world-class hospitals and groundbreaking research institutions, and as Foster MBAs, we are able to connect with and learn from the experts leading these organizations. In addition, Seattle is home to both the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and PATH and every year, Foster MBAs intern and research with these important global health players.
These are exciting industries, developing constantly, yet with huge challenges still remaining to be solved. There’s also huge opportunity for collaboration with the technology field as Satya Nadella (the CEO of Microsoft) just recently acknowledged by joining the board of Fred Hutch (the groundbreaking cancer research center based in Seattle). Students interested in working in the tech space because of its scale and impact should explore the intersection between healthcare and technology as well. This space is booming in Seattle.
What type of opportunities exist for MBAs interested in the healthcare/biotech space? Just like other industries, this field needs typical MBA functions, such as business development, finance, marketing, strategy, and operations. There are local, nationwide and global opportunities for Foster MBAs to serve in those functions within the fields of biotechnology, hospital administration, healthcare consulting, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and global health.
In addition to receiving competitive compensation for your talents, you have an opportunity to work on impactful projects aimed at improving human health. It is an incredibly rewarding field to be in because you have opportunities, not only to do well for yourself, but to do work that impacts the community for the better.
Tell us about HCBA HCBA’s mission is to develop and channel MBA talent into businesses working to improve human health and well-being. Students rated us as one of the best clubs at Foster this past year, and we aim to continue that tradition by providing even more opportunities to learn about and connect with these dynamic industries. We host skill-building workshops, numerous networking opportunities with alums and industry professionals, tours to local companies and organizations, and a CEO speaker series. And of course, while doing all of this, we also aim to have fun. Business school allows students to have experiences that otherwise wouldn’t be possible, and we hope to leverage that by providing unique opportunities to explore the field while also connecting with classmates and professionals who share the same passions. The HCBA board is composed of talented individuals with professional backgrounds in various sectors covered by our association, and we are eager to see more of our peers get excited about this space. We encourage students to reach out to any of the HCBA board members, and we are very open about coaching them through transition into the field and sharing contacts.
What career prep/networking is available from HBCA? Every year we host skill-building workshops with local companies in the space. This upcoming year we will be hosting a finance strategy workshop with Providence/Swedish, a healthcare marketing workshop with Seattle Genetics, and a healthcare consulting case prep workshop with the Foster Consulting Society. We also hold an internship panel of the 2nd year students who spent the summer interning within the field, and we plan to put on a Resume/Coverletter workshop for those interested to tailor their stories to the healthcare/biotech/global health space. In addition, we are planning to release the first edition of the HCBA Resource book to all of our club members this Fall, which will have an abundance of valuable career prep information. Networking happens at a lot of our events, including workshops and site visits. We hold an annual HCBA social with the local professional community specifically dedicated to networking and we will also have alums come to the club happy hour info session during PRIME (the orientation week for incoming students). We also co-sponsor several Meet The Firm events throughout the academic year. The networking really starts at the very beginning of the program!
Any site visits/treks planned for this year? Right now, we are planning a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Tour and Alumni Panel for the Fall. In the spring, we will go on a Philips Ultrasound Manufacturing Tour which is always great because it aligns with our core Operations class. Students get to see lean process in practice and see what we are learning in the classroom implemented in a real way! We also are planning to host an ECG management consulting visit and a Frazier Healthcare venture capital visit to further explore opportunities in those two fields.
Outside of HCBA, what other opportunities exist at Foster within the field? Foster has several classes focused on healthcare. There is the Global Health Business Models course, taught by Emer Dooley, and a healthcare innovation practicum which allows you to satisfy one of your required practical experiences within the sector. Every winter-quarter, there are usually healthcare-focused applied strategy projects first-year students. For my applied-strategy project, I worked on a project with GroupHealth Hospitals, and there was also a group working with Providence. The ever-popular Global Business Forum has a global health focus for the Fall 2016 quarter.
Outside of classes, Foster’s Burke Center for Entrepreneurship annually hosts the Healthcare Innovation Competition. Furthermore, there’s CoMotion Innovation Fellowships available after completion of your first year. CoMotion is UW’s center for technology commercialization, and fellows help UW based startups take off. Many of these startups have been in the healthcare space in the past. We also have several mentors from these fields in the Foster Mentorship program.
Students at Foster are also encouraged to take classes across the University of Washington, including classes at the School for Public Health. We have relationships with other healthcare organizations on campus including the Science and Engineering Business Association (SEBA) and the Student Public Health Association (SPHA) to further connect our members.
You can learn more about HCBA and their upcoming events at https://depts.washington.edu/mbaclub/mba-clubs/healthcare-biotech-association/