The Health Sector Management Bootcamp at Duke Fuqua MBA

Duke MBA students who are also part of the Health Sector Management (HSM) program arrive on campus a week early for an intensive, 5-day, healthcare bootcamp. It serves as a primer of the US healthcare system and is the launch pad for our entire Duke MBA HSM experience. Half of the HSM folks do not come from the healthcare industry. Even for those of us who do, most only have experienced one or two different areas of a very diverse industry. While I was familiar with pharma and biotech, I had much to learn on the provider, payer, and regulatory aspects of the US healthcare system.

I get asked this some times from prospective students - the Duke MBA HSM bootcamp and the HSM courses focus on the US healthcare system in general. Sometimes comparisons are made to UK, Canada, Japan, China, etc, but I'd say more than 90% of the time our topics focus on the US. However, we have classmates from all over the world who share rich healthcare experiences overseas. Also, the HSM bootcamp amounts to 3 academic credits, so the hard work does end up paying off!

The HSM bootcamp was a nice preview of the Duke MBA experience, and I'm thankful for that - having been out of school for a few years. We began with a lecture at 8am after breakfast. After lunch, we had more seminars and a handful of external speakers that talked about diverse issues such as health policy, ethics, tech transfer, venture capital, and global health, etc. In the evenings, we had a company-sponsored dinner and heard about post-MBA opportunities in these healthcare companies.

The fall terms were definitely fast-paced and many would consider it the most stressful period in the Duke MBA. During HSM bootcamp, on 3 of the 5 days we left campus around midnight and had to get back for class at 8am. This was not something I was used to doing since graduating from college. Having the HSM bootcamp (and also the Global Institute) before the fall terms started was helpful in getting back to the academic mindset.

Another benefit to the bootcamp was that the 90 or so HSM students could meet and engage with one another before the entire 400+ class was on campus. Everyone was passionate about healthcare and I definitely learned a lot from classroom discussions, especially on the provider and regulatory aspects. After the entire first year class arrived, we were divided into 1 of 6 sections, so the HSM bootcamp gave us the opportunity to connect with folks across the different sections early on.

The HSM bootcamp provided a great overview and brought everyone up-to-speed on general knowledge of the US healthcare system. It is a rapidly evolving industry with many stakeholders and governed by powerful forces. Coming from an R&D background the bootcamp was a great primer to get a first look at some of the issues impacting the business of healthcare. That, and the food was awesome all week!

Happy New Year everyone, and best of luck to those applying to MBA programs in round 2!

Read my classmate Heather Langerman's blog post on the 2013 Duke MBA HSM bootcamp here on the official Duke Fuqua MBA blog.


  1. Hi Steven, I couldn't find a contact form on your blog, so trying you here. :) runs an interview series ( with b-school applicants and students in which we feature your blog and talk about some of the successes and challenges you faced in the application process as well as discuss your current b-school experience. We’d love to feature you and your blog and Duke. Are you available to answer 6-7 questions via email? Can you please email me at Hope to hear from you soon!


    Sarah Pritzker Blog Writer & Editor

    1. Hi Sarah, thanks for the note. I'd love to have this blog featured on your site. I'll send you an email now.

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