There’s no question that Harvard Business School (HBS) alumni are making their mark in the health care sector.

The question is, what is the best way to tap into the insights of these 8,000+ alumni? How can we facilitate meaningful connections between alumni and students? And how can we use those connections to advance innovation in health care?

As it turns out, gathering people around the dinner table is a great place to start. In cities across the globe, HBS alumni and students are periodically meeting for small-group dinners organized by the HBS Health Care Initiative (HCI) and HBS Healthcare Alumni Association (HBSHAA).

Sponsored by the HCI and hosted by a regional director representative from HBSHAA, these intimate gatherings invite students and alumni to discuss some of the most pertinent health care issues and trends of the day. They also help connect students to local influencers for mentorship and guidance on post-graduation career opportunities.

Highlights from New York City meet-up

Recently, Regional Directors Jadelind Wong and Richard Qian hosted a small group of students and alumni for dinner at a great spot in New York City. The dinner was held during a life sciences trek for the HBS Health Care Club, led by Katherine Cheng MBA 2019.

Alumni and students discussed a number of interesting topics. Some highlights:

·         The Greater New York City area remains a hub for pharma and health care investing. A top issue for VC investors is the health of the industry during late cycle and financing rounds. Federal policy could impact the concentration of pharma companies in New Jersey, where many HBS alumni work. New Jersey has a strong presence in the biopharmaceutical and medical device industries. The state is home to 14 of the world's 20 largest pharmaceutical companies, including Novartis, Johnson & Johnson, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck & Co., Novo Nordisk, and Bayer Healthcare.[1]

·         Technology is accelerating advancements in health care. For example, the FDA is starting to consider applications of the Apple Watch’s ECG clearance and Akili Labs’ video games as new forms of medicine. One recurring challenge is discerning between products and services that are overhyped and those that offer scalable change. Meanwhile, the number of health care incubators in New York is increasing; for example, Johnson & Johnson opened JLABS @ NYC in 2018. CJ Wilson MBA 1985 launched his start-up, MyHealth, as one of the first startup residents.

·         Jobs and networking opportunities are plentiful in NYC. Several alumni shared career opportunities for MBA students who are getting started in health care. Students were encouraged to get involved in young health care professional networks that are forming in the New York area, such as the Healthcare Private Equity Association and Lazard’s Rising Leaders in Healthcare. They may also want to connect with alumni from Wharton, MIT and Columbia through their local alumni clubs. Several young alumni noted that they have found success in working for digital health startups and corporations. For example, Karley Yoder MBA 2016 was named to the list of “102 women in #HealthIT to know in 2019.”

Host a dinner in your city

If you’re interested in hosting a small dinner for alumni in your area, please reach out to us! We’d love to help you plan and coordinate an event.