December 16, 2013

1st Annual Boston University Health and Life Sciences Conference

"It felt like a PROFESSIONAL conference, not a student-run event."

Those words ringing in my ears from attendees convinced me that the chairs and leadership committee of the 1st Annual Boston University Health and Life Sciences Conference had succeeded in achieving the near-impossible: success which exceeded even our own expectations. It had taken more than a year of advance preparation for the second year MBAs leading the initiative to pull together the networking, logistical, and financial deliverables necessary for this conference to succeed. That sense of boundless optimism and energy had attracted me to BU in the first place and pulled me into supporting conference preparations before I had even started classes. Despite just starting at BU, my fellow SMG team members still valued my opinions and input – pointing directly to the egalitarian environment that the school maintains.

On the long-awaited morning of the conference, the trickle of people through the door quickly swelled into a flood. The eagerness of the students was matched by the healthcare professionals as all crowded into the auditorium.

The assembly listened intently as Dr. Sachin Jain from Merck described personal life experiences in health care, both positive ones as well as instructive learning experiences. Dr. Jain was succeeded in turn by two powerhouse panels of industry leaders who discussed their direct actions implementing public health policies and responding to emerging health sector trends. When asked to identify health organizations which are well-positioned to compete in the arena of 21st Century health care reform, executives named names (Kaiser Permanente, Aetna) and gave concrete reasons for each selection – data that has served me well during the informational interview process.

Massachusetts is a nexus for health care innovation – I previously worked at Steward Health Care hospital system, a Medicare Pioneer ACO – but this type of event brought in a wider, national perspective so our students are better informed where exactly Massachusetts remains a first-mover, and where our state can compete more aggressively. The chance to engage the professional attendees directly during the panel breaks also proved to be an invaluable networking opportunity. Jeff Wetherhold from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement has remained an invaluable perspective on professional development in health care service delivery since I was first introduced to him through this conference context.

In keeping with BU's motto to "Create Value for the World," the inaugural conference event was so successful that it was able to donate back an amount equal to seed capital originally contributed by the Graduate Student Council. This refund has enabled the GSC to have more funds available for other student activities and events later in the 2013-2014 academic year. The next step for HSLC will be beginning advance planning for next year's event early in the spring 2014 semester in order to build on the momentum of recent successes. The personal networking of this year's Class of 2015 MBAs could well prove critical in a larger context to the overall success of next year's conference. That is perhaps the most reliable lesson of the MBA experience: every action, especially when backed by planning, teamwork and passion, can create value that exceeds expectations.  

●▬▬▬▬๑A Little More About The Blogger๑▬▬▬▬▬●

Aaron Lemmon is a first year HSM MS MBA student at Boston University School of Management who also runs White Coat Checklist, a medical school admissions consulting firm. When not cracking the books at BU, Aaron volunteers on the Boston chapter board of National Society of Hispanic MBAs and the Executive Development Committee of Boston Young Healthcare Professionals in addition to serving on the board of SMG's Health Sector Management Association. A longtime Greater Boston resident, Aaron excels at hunting down affordable meal deals and whipping up homemade pizzas in his own kitchen. 

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