A One-Year Kellogg MBA Student’s Experience into Healthcare, Business, and Lots of Languages
Learn how real students navigate their way through the business school admissions process and b-school itself with our What is Business School Really Like? series.
Meet Megha, a student at Northwestern Kellogg’s one-year MBA program.
Megha, thank you for sharing your story with us!
What made you decide to pursue an MBA?
Megha: I had worked exclusively in the healthcare industry and only studied business through the lens of healthcare as an undergrad. As I saw healthcare companies facing increasingly complex organizational, motivational, and financial issues, I realized I needed to have a broader business perspective to be able to tackle this market. I knew I wanted to stay in the industry long-term, but I felt that the MBA would unlock a different viewpoint and better leadership skills to accelerate my career.
Can you describe your healthcare background?
Megha: I studied Health & Societies as an undergrad at the University of Pennsylvania. As my interest in the business of healthcare piqued, I concentrated in Health Care Markets & Finance. After undergrad, I worked in pricing consulting for pharmaceutical and medical device companies for three years before moving to a startup called Lumere. Lumere uses data analytics to help hospitals make more evidence-based decisions all the way from medical device & drug purchases through to doctors’ selection of devices for a surgical procedure.
Did you experience any bumps along the road to business school acceptance? If so, how did you identify and address the issues?
Megha: Waiting after submitting applications was the hardest part! While this wasn’t necessarily a major issue, leaning into my personal network of friends and family – some of whom were going through the same experience – was a great way to ease the tension and let the process take its course.
How did you prepare for the GMAT?
Megha: I took the GMAT shortly after undergrad and a few years before I was ready to apply to school. In some ways, this helped me separate the stress of taking the GMAT from the process of writing essays and submitting applications. Once I felt ready to apply to school, I knew I had the GMAT taken care of.
To prepare, I found a mix of full tests and individual practice problems to be most beneficial. The individual questions helped me identify specific areas I needed to work on, and the full tests helped me put those skills into practice before going into the real exam.
Did you participate in any extracurricular activities prior to applying to business school? How do you think these experiences contributed to the strength of your candidacy?
Megha: I did some pro-bono consulting for nonprofit healthcare organizations before applying to school. I think this experience helped show the depth of my interest in healthcare and also gave me more examples to articulate the way I envisioned my future impact in the industry.
Did you visit the Northwestern campus, either while researching schools or to interview? If so, what impressed you?
Megha: Luckily, I was in the Chicago area while applying to business school so I got a chance to visit Kellogg during one of the Preview Days in the fall. It was a great way to get a feel for the school in a way that second-hand materials can’t communicate.
I was impressed of course by Kellogg’s brand new Global Hub building, but mostly by admissions officers’ and students’ willingness to help and provide insight on the Kellogg experience. I was also impressed by professors who took time out of their day to conduct a special class for us and give us a preview of the Kellogg classroom experience.
What has surprised you most about Kellogg so far?
Megha: One of the things I didn’t fully see until I was part of the Kellogg community was how highly Kellogg students speak of each other. It’s one thing to be impressed by the student body from the outside, but another to see how my classmates impress each other. I’ve been so pleasantly surprised by the initiative students take to learn from each other’s experiences.
What do you think your classmates would be surprised to know about you?
Megha: Most of my classmates probably don’t know that I was on a competitive dance team throughout college!
Do you have any study tips that sound crazy, but really work?
Megha: One of my classmates always encourages me to go for a walk or a workout when I have a lot to do. Although it seems counterintuitive to step away from my work, she is always right to suggest it – I’m much more productive after being active for a little while.
Have you become involved in any clubs on campus?
Megha: I’ve been on the leadership team for Personal Development & Wellness as part of the Kellogg Student Association. It has been an incredible way to get to know Kellogg students across the full-time programs (1Y, 2Y, MMM) who want to be actively involved in students’ wellbeing during their MBA experience.
I also serve as a 1Y program liaison for the Admissions team. That role has been a fun way to give back to prospective students and help them in their decision-making the same way that past students helped me.
What does recruitment look like on your campus?
Megha: As a 1-Year MBA student, I can really only speak to full-time recruitment. A number of companies come to campus in the Fall from a large variety of industries. I personally found a great variety of healthcare companies and received my offer for Medtronic’s Leadership Development Program through on-campus recruiting. A lot of students also participate in off-campus recruiting, which tends to happen in the Spring. This type of recruitment is largely student-led and can be a great opportunity to tap into the Kellogg alumni and peer network.
MBA students have a reputation for loving travel! Have you participated in any school or peer-organized trips during business school?
Megha: That reputation is pretty accurate! The two organized trips I’ve been on were my KWEST trip to Finland and Estonia and my Spring Break trip to Kenya for our Med Tech in Developing Countries class. The first was a great way to get to know a small group of people right at the beginning of my Kellogg experience and get to explore countries and do activities (like motor paintball!) that I otherwise may have never done.
The second was much more oriented towards our specific goal of learning about neonatal wards and medical devices in Africa. It was an incredible opportunity to preview some of the work I will be doing full-time and also get to know a group of Kellogg students passionate about understanding healthcare delivery around the world.
If you had an extra hour each day, how would you spend it?
Megha: I’ve been trying to use Duolingo to learn a new language – if I had an extra hour I would do those lessons more regularly!
What language are you trying to learn and how do you hope to use it?
Megha: I’m learning both Hindi and a bit of Swahili. Hindi is more for personal use, since I can understand it well now but want to also be able to speak it. I started trying Swahili after coming back from a class trip to Kenya over Spring Break. I will likely be going to East Africa more for my new role at Medtronic and always like to be able to speak at least a little bit of the local language when I’m traveling!
How do you hope to combine healthcare and business in your future career?
Megha: After Kellogg, I’ll be taking all that knowledge of the device purchasing landscape and applying it in emerging markets as a Leadership Development Rotational Program member at Medtronic Labs. My time at Kellogg has helped me understand healthcare in a new light – particularly as I think about structuring new businesses in emerging markets.
My Healthcare Strategy and Strategic Challenges in Emerging Markets classes have both helped me think about solving fundamental health issues through sustainable businesses that account for the varied incentives of physicians, government entities, and inconsistent local infrastructure.
Do you have questions for Megha? Questions for us? Do you want to be featured in our next What is Business School Really Like? post? Know someone else who you’d love to see featured? Are there questions you’d like us to ask our students in this series? LET US KNOW!
You can learn more about Megha by connecting with her on LinkedIn.
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