Panel: "Consulting Across Industries: Healthcare"

By Puja Upadhyay

On Tuesday, March 18, the Wharton Undergraduate Consulting Club (WUCC), the Wharton Undergraduate Healthcare Club (WUHC), and the Penn Undergraduate Biotech Society (PUBS) hosted the event “Consulting Across Industries: Healthcare Panel.”

Four current and former Penn students spoke about their experiences as a consultant in the healthcare industry. Matt Adkins, Daphne Chang, Adam Hannan, and Jesse Lee (left to right) all agreed that the rapidly changing industry offered many consulting opportunities.

 Photo by Puja Upadhyay.

Photo by Puja Upadhyay.

The four guests, all current and former Penn students, included Jesse Lee from McKinsey & Company, Adam Hannan from ZS Associates, Daphne Chang from Accenture, and Matt Adkins from Simon-Kucher & Partners. The event was question-and-answer style with the opportunity for students to ask their own questions at the end, which allowed for an extremely helpful exchange of information for anyone looking to go into healthcare consulting, or consulting in general, in the future. 

When asked what interested them about the healthcare sector, all four panelists agreed that healthcare is a rapidly changing industry. 

“No other industry is changing as fast as the healthcare industry,” Chang said.

“The experience is rewarding because you get to work with really cool products and new innovations in an increasingly global industry,” Adkins explained.

Each of the panelists has already worked on a number of exciting new projects in their careers, including a pricing project for a new cancer drug and an emergency project for a flu vaccine manufacturer during the H1N1 crisis.

According to the panelists, the typical day-to-day life of a consultant involves a lot of travel and on-site work, though it can vary by firm. Lee explained that during his time at McKinsey, typically from Mondays through Thursdays, the team of consultants would fly to the clients. The mornings would consist of several meetings with different stakeholders at the organization to determine the key objectives of the project. In the afternoons, consultants would brainstorm with the managers and partners, creating models and calling in other experts for assistance. Thursday evenings, the team would fly back to their McKinsey branches and work back in the office on Fridays, giving them a chance to catch up with each other and share latest developments and best practices. Most of the week, consultants would be at the client site working to make sure that the clients are happy.

One thing that all four panelists agreed is extremely important for all future healthcare consultants is having a passion for health care and health policy. When writing out your resume, the most obvious indicators that you are interested in health care would be your classes, extracurriculars, and internships. But also simply stating what genuinely interests you in your cover letters can demonstrate that passion and drive to get more involved in the industry.

“You can tell almost immediately when someone is genuinely interested in healthcare during an interview,” Chang said.