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By Michael Phillips and Amanda Schmid

On Saturday, January 23, more than 250 students, alumni, and healthcare industry leaders came together for Kellogg’s 16th annual Business of Healthcare Conference. As co-chairs of the event, it was incredible to see the past nine months of work finally come together in such a successful way. Reflecting back on the process, we feel lucky to have been part of such an amazing team of healthcare leaders at Kellogg.

The process started in April 2015, when we applied to co-chair the conference. We both felt passionately about giving back to the healthcare community at Kellogg and were excited to be selected to lead the conference team.

As first-year students, the healthcare conference was an integral part of our MBA experience and an introduction to the supportive community at Kellogg. We really appreciated the insightful programming, networking opportunities and clear demonstration that Kellogg is committed to training healthcare leaders of tomorrow. We wanted to make sure the next generation of Kellogg MBAs benefited from the 2016 conference in a similar way.

At Kellogg, collaboration and teamwork are part of everything we do. Therefore, we knew that one of the most important things we would do as co-chairs would be to assemble a phenomenal team. Luckily, Kellogg has no shortage of motivated and talented healthcare students, and we recruited the best of them.

To ensure we were all working toward a common goal, the newly formed team created a vision for the conference that would guide our work:

  • To create a conference for students and alumni that distinguishes Kellogg at the forefront of healthcare programs among top-tier MBA programs
  • To facilitate meaningful networking and recruiting interactions for all attendees of the conference

Working with this vision in mind, we committed to the guiding principle that with great content comes a great conference.

Before leaving for our respective summer internships, we had to decide on a theme. In an industry as diverse as healthcare, it was key to pick a theme broad enough to be of interest to all sectors but deep enough to drive meaningful discussions. After reviewing several options, we settled on Consumer Directed Healthcare: Improving Our Health System By Empowering Patients.

In September, we were thrilled to welcome in a new group of first-year students who brought unique talents and perspectives to the team. Over the next months we watched the speakers team recruit fantastic speakers, the sponsorship team raise record-setting levels of support, the marketing team sell out the conference, and the logistics team plan and run a flawless event. We lent support where needed, but each of the teams were truly self-motivated and dedicated to our common vision.

The conference was full of thought-provoking sessions and meaningful networking opportunities. From Peter Harrison’s discussion of how better segmentation will help health insurers connect with their customers, to Lee Shapiro’s optimistic vision of technology’s role in the future of healthcare, the day exceeded our expectations.

Our four panel discussions provided insight into the future of insurance exchanges, genomics, direct-to-consumer marketing, and healthcare pricing and quality transparency. We know the conference was a success because attendees stayed late into the afternoon for further discussions at our networking event.

We were honored to be part of this process. As the healthcare industry continues to evolve, and Chicago increasingly becomes a hub for innovation, it is extremely important to us that Kellogg maintains its position as a thought leader in health enterprise management. We believe the 2016 Kellogg Business of Healthcare Conference demonstrated this commitment to students, alumni, and industry leaders, and we know that next year’s team will continue this legacy.

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