“Three suitcases just won’t work” I whispered to myself in defeat as I (unsuccessfully) tried to force my gown into an overly-packed bag. This past year living in the UK has given me many things, complicating my attempts at packing to return to Ann Arbor. I collected art from a variety of countries I had the privilege of visiting. I now own my very own Harry Potter-esque gown. What is my favorite of the things I’ve gained from my year living abroad, you may ask? The memories. The year was filled with once-in-a-lifetime experiences, ranging from discussions with experienced astronauts to over-the-top Mayballs (extravagant formal events hosted by the colleges in June as an end-of-the-year celebration). It was with tearful eyes and a full heart that I said goodbye to my home-away-from-home, Cambridge, and to my new cohort of lifelong friends.
Similar to my previous semesters, I added to my newfound understanding of business with continued coursework. This time, my personal experience became relevant as I began the health care electives. How impactful is management in medicine? How is value-based care successfully implemented? How do we organize and capitalize on the mounds of data we are now collecting through technological advancements and electronic records? These are the questions I sought to answer as I engaged in “Health Care Coach Nights” and an “Organizing Health Care” course. While I unfortunately did not walk away with the catch-all answer to solving the health care crisis or lowering all insurance premiums, I was able to discuss these pressing issues with leaders in the field, and expand on the minimal understanding I was able to gain in medical school. This was followed by working with KPMG in a south England NHS hospital emergency department, tackling ongoing issues negatively impacting care delivery. I was able to lead my own quality improvement project and gain a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt (who said nerds can’t get belts?!). I am looking forward to taking the tools I’ve gained during this year and translating them to dissecting these critical issues, to better understand, and ultimately improve, health care as we know it.
There’s no learning that surpasses first-hand experiences. While in France for the annual MBA Tournament, a sports competition amongst MBA students from across the globe, I was able to experience emergent care abroad. A volleyball incident led to a facial laceration (don’t ask how…) landing me in a hospital in Versailles, France. Being in a foreign country emergency room, unable to fully communicate with a provider and unfamiliar with the reimbursement system, left me concerned and uncomfortable. While this was a new experience for me, so many of the patients I have seen and will see moving forward in my career are experiencing just that feeling. Given how minor my injury was, saying I can fully understand how these patients feel would be a stretch, but I most certainly gained a level of empathy that I hadn’t reached before.
As I return to medical school, I eagerly anticipate joining the Class of 2019, and attempting to re-learn all of the medical facts I once regurgitated in my sleep (azithromycin is what class of antibiotics again?) and prepare myself for the next part of this journey. Though my days ahead are sure to be filled with long days, late nights, and countless call shifts, I will be sure to follow the future leaders that I got to know so well during this year. Congratulations to the Cambridge Judge Business School 2017-2018 class – until next time!
Stephanie is a fourth-year medical student at the University of Michigan who recently finished an MBA at the University of Cambridge in the UK. Stephanie will be applying into Orthopaedic Surgery, and can be usually be found at Anytime Fitness either for a personal work-out or training a client.