Health Sector Management at Duke MBA (Mentored Study)

Almost all Duke MBA students choose to do a full-time internship during the summer (10-12 weeks). For students looking for something in the fall or spring, Fuqua’s mentored study program offers an internship for one semester (12 weeks). For students in the Duke MBA Health Sector Management (HSM) program, there are many opportunities in health care.

How it relates to health care:

Many Duke MBA HSM students do a mentored study in health care, as there are a lot of local biotech, pharma and consulting firms in the Research Triangle Park (RTP). It's a great way for students from health care to explore a different area of the industry. For students without health care backgrounds, it's a great way to gain hands on experience in the industry and see how previous skills can transfer.

If done in the first year, it's a great way to build skills that prepares students for success in the summer internship. First year Duke MBA HSM students can choose to do this in either fall or spring semester. This is also an option in the second year. While I'm doing a mentored study in the spring semester of my first year, I'm likely going to do another in the fall or spring of my second year.

The process:

Students attend a mandatory seminar in the fall semester to learn about how the program works. After that, the professor helps students match up with companies. Duke Fuqua currently has an extensive list with companies that have established relationships with the program and are looking for interns. I found the company that I'm doing my mentored study with on this list. Students can also set up a mentored study with companies not yet on the list. After a company is interested, an interview is set up. Overall the process is very efficient and the opportunities are abundant.

The Fuqua mentored study program is structured as a 6 credit course, but there is no lecture component. Students spend a minimum of 8 hours per week on a company project and write a paper summarizing their experience to obtain credit. For biotech and pharma, students must pick a local company and physically spend at least 2 hours at the company per week. In other industries, such as venture capital, this isn’t always possible. In these cases, students can do the internship completely offsite.

The Duke MBA is a great place to try new things. The mentored study program is a structured way for students to gain these a diverse experiences and also apply classroom learnings in the real world. For me, it was a way to experience what it was like working in industry and also apply the finance, marketing and strategy skills gained in the core coursework in the fall terms.

This is part of a blog series on HSM opportunities outside of the classes and seminars. I wrote this series because a reader asked, so please leave your questions and comments on the blog!

Read Part 1. Health Sector Management at Duke MBA (Program 4 Entrepreneurs)
Read Part 3. Health Sector Management at Duke MBA (Week in Cities)
Read Part 4. Health Sector Management at Duke MBA (Health Care Club)
Read Part 5. Health Sector Management at Duke MBA (Fuqua Client Consulting Practicum, Duke University Hospital Internship)

How do you like these blog posts? Would appreciate your feedback in the comment section below!


  1. Hi Steve, as always, another great post :).

    a) Are there deliverables that have to be submitted to the company towards the end of this program (like, a marketing strategy, market research findings or R&D prioritization plan etc.) or is it just summarizing your experience during the course?

    b) Without giving out any confidential information, could you please share some specific examples? Like companies that participated in this program, the kind of projects carried out, the deliverables and if these were taken up and executed by the company.

    c) Can we do this in an Investment bank? (an extension of this question, I could find a few IBs which operate in Healthcare in NC (HRP, LMC, Jacobs Capital etc.), whats Duke's interaction/engagement with them? Typically, how many Duke HSM grads go into IB for internships and jobs?)

    Thanks for taking time and educating us on these aspects of Duke. I really appreciate it Steve :)

    1. Thanks for your questions Sathya! Here are my answers:

      a) The value of the mentored study program to the sponsoring company is definitely to solve a business problem. The final deliverable to the company will vary depending on the project, but a presentation to senior management on project findings and strategic recommendations would be an example, as you mentioned. The paper is more of a reflection on the experience and a way to get course credit for the student.

      b) I'd say that the majority of firms in the health care mentored study are in the RTP area. You can also visit the ncbiotech directory for local health care firms: The type of project will vary and depend on the business needs of the company and your goals on the types of skills you'd like to develop.

      c) You can definitely do a mentored study with a financial institution. There is a mentored study with VC/PE as well as asset management. I'm not too familiar with local IBs but there shouldn't be any issues with doing a mentored study with them as long as they have a position available for an intern. As you probably already know, Fuqua is very student-led and the mentored study program has been very accommodating and is flexible to meet your developmental needs.

  2. Steve,

    A couple of questions.
    What kind of focus does the Healthcare program offer for people more interested in services side of healthcare? What have you found to be your best class or professor so far?

    1. Hello! Thanks for reading my blog. Hope this helps:

      1) There is a rising trend for Fuqua students to enter into the provider space (what I assume you mean with services). Hospitals recruit for administrative roles on campus and we're seeing more students entering into full time positions in hospitals after graduating. For a full list of companies, see: and click on Daytime.

      2) At Fuqua, we have what's called the Duke University Hospital Internship where MBA students are matched with senior leaders and work on projects within the Duke hospital for 12 weeks (2 terms). Students meet with the CEO and can really get a sense of what it is like managing a hospital. This is a fantastic opportunity for folks entering into the provider side and is an example of how the MBA program interfaces with big Duke.

      3) Our Faculty Director, Prof. David Ridley (, often brings in physician leaders and hospital administrators to talk to students about current issues in hospitals, managed care, etc. In the past we've brought in providers to speak and this term we have two seminars that will discuss managed care and Medicaid.

      4) In my Program 4 Entrepreneurs (P4E) project and other students' P4E projects, we've had many opportunities to engage with physicians and administrators at local hospitals. I wouldn't be surprised if you could coordinate a mentored study or individual study at Duke hospital or another health system in the US.

      5) For the Fuqua Client Consulting Practicum (FCCP), there are many projects that providers, both within and outside the US, are sponsoring. This would be another opportunity-in addition to the Duke University Hospital internship-that would give you a real world opportunity to work with hospitals and help them solve a business problem or two.

      Overall, at Fuqua we're immersed in health care and you have the opportunity to tailor your experience to target any specific area within the industry.

      Favorite class: definitely P4E or Prof. David Ridley's Health Care Markets course (there will be a future blog post with more information on Spring 1 term health care related courses and seminars).

    2. Hi Steve,
      Doing a very specific mentored study program may be extremely beneficial to gaining market intel/information for my potential P4E project. How did you balance your time to do all of these programs?
      Alan Ma

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