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Fast-Track to Better Outcomes: Yoonjin Min and RapidSOS

22 Aug 2019

During her three years at Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Yoonjin Min, MBA 2020, made the shift from serving as a generalist to a specialist in healthcare strategy. “I liked working on projects where success wasn’t just profit-oriented,” Yoonjin says, “but aimed at saving lives.”

Yoonjin worked on a number of projects for hospital systems and pharmacies, then, inspired by the opportunity to explore health in a larger context, joined Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. An international organization affiliated with WHO and UNICEF, Gavi provides vaccines to the poorest countries through public/private partnerships. There, Yoonjin was part of the strategy team collaborating with government entities.

Discovering a big opportunity with a smaller startup

Yoonjin applied to HBS with the express intention “to continue exploring business models with huge potential health impact.” Although her ambitions were lofty, she found her ideal internship through an ordinary process: searching the HBS job portal.

“I had been working with a career coach to look for a mission-focused health-related startup,” Yoonjin explains. “At BCG, my clients were really big: global companies and regional hospital systems. I wanted to work in an organization under a hundred people; I wanted to experience the energy, the sense of urgency of a startup, a place where people actively choose to drive forward the mission.”

The posting that popped out for Yoonjin was for RapidSOS, a technology platform launched by 2015 HBS alum, Michael Martin, that was incubated at the iLab on campus. RapidSOS integrates location and other data from smart devices with 911 call centers, advancing emergency response technology from the twentieth century into the twenty-first. Today, RapidSOS covers over 80 percent of America by population.

A classmate of Yoonjin’s who had worked at RapidSOS “spoke highly of the company, the CEO, and everyone he worked with,” she says. It was the right size for her interests, and was entering a new stage of growth in which an intern could make considerable impact quickly. The stars seemed to align for Yoonjin: “I thought it was the perfect example of public and private sector collaboration.”

Subsequent interviews confirmed her opinions, and Yoonjin began her internship in June. Her role: business development, with an eye toward integrating additional relevant and life-saving data into the system – “What would be helpful in an emergency?” – and international expansion.

“RapidSOS has proven the value of its core idea,” says Yoonjin. “Now we can work on expanding it.”

In a typical day, Yoonjin fields numerous calls from partners, pursues inquiries on behalf of the CEO, and tackles business priorities as they emerge.

Looking ahead, Yoonjin anticipates taking elective courses in her second year, like Public Entrepreneurship and Business at the Base of the Pyramid, to dive more deeply into public/private opportunities. “I’m definitely going to continue my career with a healthcare and social enterprise focus,” Yoonjin says. “For now, I’m here to learn and explore.”

Yoonjin Min (MBA 2020) is a 2019 HBS Social Enterprise Summer Fellow.

This post was originally published on the HBS Career & Professional Development blog.