Owing Hills, MD
Swarthmore College, Political science/gov/t., 2006
Mayor Bloomberg's Office, NYC; DC Dept of Human Services; Executive Office of Mayor Adrian Fenty; McKinsey
Arts Society, Design Club, Social Enterprise Club
“The business I'm in is so much in the process of being disrupted.”
Before graduate school, Inessa Lurye, through consulting work at McKinsey, helped the Harlem Children's Zone nearly double the number of children it served. She worked with the Washington DC's mayor's office to reduce street homelessness by fifteen percent. While at Harvard pursuing the joint MBA/MPP degree at HBS and Harvard Kennedy School, Inessa helped expand the reach of the HBS Design Club, and fulfilled a field project at Harvard Art Museums that developed art workshops designed around specific group interests.
One thing her work never touched upon was health care or health policy. Yet today, Inessa heads up product strategy at Maxwell Health, an "operating system for employee benefits" that centralizes health and benefits data to help employees navigate options more simply and satisfactorily. "I hadn't seen myself working in health care or employee benefits," she says. "But my background in public policy is very useful. Maxwell has a strong sense of mission, which is integral to the kind of organization I wanted to join."
Many useful lessons from HBS
In her current role, Inessa works a great deal on product management, on "what we need to build and how to build it," she explains. "It's about breaking a big vision into smaller portions we can execute on a daily basis."
To do her work, Inessa frequently draws upon lessons learned at HBS. "The business I'm in is so much in the process of being disrupted," she says. "We're in a $12 trillion business moving from paper to digital processes—many firms are merging or going out of business. The Building and Sustaining Successful Enterprises course, which was based on disruption theory, has helped me understand how the transition is creating a different kind of consumer shopping experience; the course has given me a framework that I personally find useful and insightful."
Then there are the fundamental people skills. "In the last six months, we've doubled in size from 70 to 130 people," says Inessa. "There are so many changes we need to make, from process reforms to new team structures. HBS' overall insights on change management have helped me understand team dynamics and personal motivations, and how these play into the success of our company."
Customer insights and user-centric ideology, ideas gleaned from numerous case studies, "have continued to be critical"—especially because Inessa has been immersed, since graduation, in startups. "I've seen lots up ups and downs; I've seen how the challenges change at different stages of the life cycle. It's cemented for me the value of working in a high-growth business—I get to define my role as the company grows. I think my impact can be much broader than it would’ve been had I been in a more established company and focused on something more narrow."
See original student profile.