Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Student Perspective on the Health Care Business Alliance Conference

Joel Pettigrew is a 2nd year MBA student who attended the Vanderbilt Healthcare Conference last year. This year's conference takes place on October 28, 2011. Here are some of his thoughts on last year's conference:

Last October, Terry students joined 250 academics and professionals from across the country for the Health Care Business Alliance conference in Nashville, Tennessee. The topic of discussion for the day was the changing face of the Health Care industry; a growing area of interest amongst Terry students.

The Health Care Industry spurred so much interest that the class of 2012 decided it was time to form a Health Care Club. With this participation at the HCBA conference, Terry has added to its presence in the Health Care industry, already represented in part by partnering with Mercy Health Center in Athens, Health Care facility tours across the Southeast, and with current recruiting partners such as Unum and Kaiser.

The HCBA conference was an excellent opportunity to hear from experts in various parts of the Health Care industry. The “Mayor” of DaVita’s employee village, CEO Kent Thiry, or KT, opened the conference with a highly motivational speech about valuing community as a company. His address was punctuated by video clips of DaVita’s awards ceremonies, filled with shots of grateful employees from senior management to their front-line employees. Although KT has been able to transform DaVita from a company on the edge of bankruptcy and facing several lawsuits to one of the top 125 companies in the country to work for, he is frank about his own shortcomings, making his address feel more genuine than a 45 minute commercial for DaVita.

The bulk of the conference took place after KT’s address and involved various panel discussions and opportunities to speak with recruiters from DaVita, Cardinal Health, McKessen, HealthSouth, HCA, Grant Thornton, Teknetex, and other high-profile Health Care companies.

Panel discussions covered the topics of Medicare sustainability, venture capital in the Health Care industry, and Health Care innovation. Medicare sustainability was an interesting discussion. Topics ranged from suggestions for solutions involving educating the public to assertions that this issue will have repercussions that will affect the US for generations to come. Unfortunately, the Q&A session following the discussion was too short to dig deeply into the topic with the panel, but it was nevertheless an excellent opportunity to hear what experts in various fields are thinking, saying, and doing about what is undoubtedly one of the largest issues that Health Care will have to address in the coming years.

Lunch provided a welcome break from the panels and recruiting booths that populated the conference. The second keynote address was from the Chief Medical officer of HCA, Jon Perlin. Although the topic was one of great interest as it addressed the specific legislation under consideration and various stages of approval on the national level, tensions were high as there appeared to be a disconnect between the consensus of the academics and the physicians on how the policies would affect the world of Health Care in the United States.

The HCBA conference was an excellent opportunity to meet with people who are passionate about Health Care and its place in both the private and public sectors as the United States focuses its attention on this increasingly visible and complex problem. Terry’s support and interest in growing Health Care concerns represents a huge step forward for the Business School as these issues will increasingly become mainstream topics of discussion in the business worlds.

Friday, October 14, 2011

From the Marines to the Terry MBA

Thomas Kidd is a first year MBA student and former Marine concentrating in operations. When we asked him why he chose Terry, here is what he told us:

While weighing B-School offers in the winter of 2010, I sometimes got sidetracked by promises of fame and fortune. These seem to be major selling points for many professionals considering an MBA, especially during a recession, but I had to return to reality and make a decision based on what was and still is most valuable to me, the experience.

What sold me on Terry in the first place, is the same thing that is keeping me passionate and driven to succeed now that I’m here. The fact that the program actually cares about each student and not about its “students” is evidenced on campus every day. Not but 2 weeks into the semester, it became noticeable that our Career Management, Admissions, and Student Affairs staff knew each and every student by name and could sum up most of our backgrounds as well. If these people choose to put that much extra effort into their goal of aiding in my success, then I consider it a privilege to work to the fullest extent of my capabilities to help them reach that goal. We each have our selfish reasons, they need their numbers and I need a career, but the approach and thus the experience is what keeps me motivated.

Having a background as a U.S. Marine and more recently as a legal administrator with the U.S. Department of Justice, experiences were sometimes ordered and not lived. Goals were already defined, we were all just waiting for our promised time to claim them. Sure, I had positive experiences along the way, but if the destination is already set in stone then the journey to get there becomes un-inspired. That’s what Terry is currently doing for me, being as helpful as they can be while still realizing that I need to struggle in order to grow and progress both personally and professionally.

Anything given has no real value, and Terry is helping me earn that value by providing the experience.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

First Impressions

You may have heard the quote, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” As you begin the process of researching MBA programs, two things to consider are how you go about gathering information and how you present yourself to admissions staff. Every personal interaction you have with any MBA program is part of your evaluation process. It’s our job to remember you. It’s your job to thoroughly educate yourself about each program you are interested in BEFORE you call, email or walk in to an office. Why is that? Well, let’s use the analogy of walking in to a hair salon:

Salon owner (with customer): Hello, can I help you?
Walk-in: Yeah, I wanna learn about haircuts.
Salon owner: Do you want a haircut?
Walk-in: I’m not sure. I’m thinking about getting one. Can you tell me about all the types of haircuts you do?

Now, would you do that to a stylist? Not likely. Whether you are getting a haircut or an MBA, it’s important to be an informed consumer. If you take these steps BEFORE calling, emailing or walking into an MBA Admissions Office, you have a much better chance of making a great first impression:

  • · Review the information about the program and the application process on the website
  • · Prepare questions about anything you need to know that you CANNOT find online or in their brochures
  • · Find out if the school offers a visitation program that you can attend. Visiting a school through a formal program is often the best way to learn what you need to know about a school.
  • · If there is no visitation program, call the main admissions office number to ask your questions or make an appointment to meet in person with a member of the admissions staff.
  • · If you choose to walk in without an appointment, please be aware that there may be no one available to meet with you. Admissions staff travel often during the recruiting season and when they are in the office, they are often busy with other business.
  • · Dress and act appropriately. Perceptions matter. If you walk in looking like you just came from the beach, you don’t give the impression that you’re a serious candidate.
  • · Every person you meet in an MBA program is an opportunity to make a good impression. Introduce yourself. Be respectful of other people’s time. Be clear and concise in explaining what you need/want to know.

Remember, presenting yourself as a serious professional starts during the application process! If you want to be successful, then use the application process as preparation for the recruiting activities – and the recruiters you will meet – that begin during your first semester of school.