St. John’s Mayball
“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.
A beautiful Cambridge sunset.
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.
My volleyball team at MBAT after a victory! (prior to my injury)
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!
My class at the end of the year summer soiree.
Time continues to pass at a surprising rate, and I find myself with yet another term complete. Lent term, what our winter term is called at Cambridge, has come to an end. My courses brought more insight into a variety of topics, ranging from building a business strategy to understanding time-based cost models of, relevantly, hospitals.
The Cambridge MBA Team ready to take on the Kellogg Case Competition
While my Healthcare Strategy concentration doesn’t begin until next term, I was pleased that in several of my classes health care topics seemed to make an appearance. This integration of health care into the business curriculum served as a reminder that health care systems, regardless of our perspective, are indeed businesses. In January, I joined a stellar team of four other Cambridge MBA students to compete in a Healthcare Case Competition in Chicago at the Northwestern Kellogg School of Management, allowing application of our course principles to a real-life health care case (and a school-sponsored trip to Chicago!).
Dr. Sanjay Saint at the THIS Institute launch
In addition to the case competition, I looked for other ways to stay involved in the health care space, and I found myself at the launch of THIS (The Healthcare Improvement Studies) Institute. I joined the celebration of a promising initiative to improve health care research in the NHS, and was pleasantly surprised to find out that one of the speakers was none other than Dr. Sanjay Saint, a clinical leader and M3 lecturer for our internal medicine rotation at Michigan. No matter how far you find yourself in the world, there seems to always be a Michigan Medicine connection to make you feel right at home.
Keeping my priorities in line, I made sure I could come back to Michigan mid-term to be in the 100th Galen’s smoker. After a lovely (and tearful) reunion with my soon-to-be graduating friends, I was back on a plane to start the next part of the term. Half of our term consisted of the Global Consulting Project, an opportunity to work abroad with a team of MBA students on a specific project. In an effort to branch out and expand the repertoire of experiences I gained from this year, I opted to participate in a project in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia working for a fintech start-up in the cryptocurrency space. In the four weeks I was doing the project, I learned more than I can describe in this short blog, and was able to see what it was like not only to work for a start-up, but also to work in a culture with infrastructure and norms very different than what I am used to in Michigan. The diversity of cultural exposures continued as I concluded this project and traveled to India, to be part of the wedding of one of my classmates in Delhi!
At the Sangeet, ready to dance!
This past term was filled with submersion in new cultural experiences, application of coursework to real-world problems, and of course strengthening of the bonds of friendship with my classmates here in Cambridge. Looking forward to another term, and trying to pretend that this year never has to end!
What is this, a scene from Harry Potter? No, this is just a Thursday evening dinner. Rooted in tradition, the University of Cambridge continues to require gowns to be worn for formal dinners – and honestly, no one is complaining. Between the gowns, candlelit cathedrals, and well-manicured gardens, this surreal experience is like a scene from a movie.
Gowned-up and ready to matriculate
Sprinkled into accounting ledgers and bond valuation are weekend trains to London and potlucks with the national dishes of my classmates. The best part of this whirlwind experience, you may ask? That’s easy: my classmates. This international network of diverse humans that I have the privilege to study with has taught me about culture, geography, and the secret shopping page of Bloomberg. The opportunity to take a step back from medicine and see the world through the eyes of an entrepreneur, an investor, an accountant, etc. – has given me the chance to expand the lenses through which I see this world.
No, I did not forget about medicine and impacting society during this time. This year alone, my class has raised nearly £4,000 for charities including Movember and Aiducation, and had a little fun doing it. I even had the chance to walk the runway in a fashion show directed by a professional (yes, one of my classmates)! Did I mention our business school is inside of an old hospital?! Of course, I didn’t forget about Michigan either, and you may not be surprised to hear that there is another Wolverine in my class. To hear more about how the MBA will be applied to my medical career, watch this.
My attempt at punting down the River Cam
As I reflect on this year, I’m grateful for the opportunities that have come my way. Through our program we’ve gotten the chance to participate in business projects with real clients, applying what we’ve learned in our coursework. Opportunities to take on extracurricular health care projects are countless, and I look forward to beginning to work with a company introducing augmented and virtual reality into Orthopaedic surgical training in London. No matter how filled my schedule becomes, I always ensure that I have enough time to walk the grounds, go punting on the river (see picture above), and try not to get lost (true story: I actually got lost walking in Trinity College).
King’s College in all its glory
While I’m enjoying my time back in Michigan for the holidays seeing friends and family, I will gladly step back on the plane to start the second term and second part of this adventure. Stay tuned for more updates on adventures in Harry Potter Land! Oh and don’t worry – I’ll be back for The Smoker!