On October 21, Saint Mary’s University students, were given tours of Mayo Medical Laboratories and the Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator, both located in Rochester, Minnesota. The trip, sponsored by the Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at Saint Mary’s, was the perfect pairing of science and business entrepreneurship.
Joe Malinao, a student at Saint Mary's, had chosen to major in biology, thinking he would follow a typical pre-med route. But after shadowing physicians, he decided that while he enjoyed patient care, he was even more interested in the business aspects of medicine. That’s where his pairing of a science major and a business minor has been invaluable to Malinao, who hopes one day to become a hospital administrator.
Olivia Osterbauer has always loved writing, photography, and working with people. Although she knows she wants to go into public relations, it hadn’t occurred to her how many job opportunities exist within health care organizations.
Calling the trip “interesting” and “a real eye-opener,” Osterbauer and Malinao said their eyes have been opened to the many possibilities their career trajectories can take.
At Mayo Medical Laboratories, Malinao said he was impressed with how Mayo handles an average of 33,000 specimens a day. “It was eye-opening to see how how technology is used in the labs for a streamlined process, which results in quicker results for doctors and patients,” he said. Osterbauer added that she saw how many strict procedures and safeguards needed to be followed, and how every department needed to work together in order for the complex process to work.
At the Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator, Malinao said, the class was able to talk to a CEO and a CFO of two startup health care companies: Sonex Health and ApriHealth. “I was able to talk to them about their products and companies and could apply what we are learning in class,” he said.
One of the startup health companies, ApriHealth, derives and delivers health care value through an analytics platform, which seeks to reduce clinical variation and health care waste. “ApriHealth does data-assisted medicine using business intelligence and data analytics, which paired well with my interests with health care,” Malinao said. “The presenter (CEO Mark Ereth, M.D.) was once a physician with Mayo.”
“It was interesting to see where their backgrounds have led them,” Osterbauer said, adding that the second entrepreneur they spoke with, Aaron Keenan, CFO of Sonex Health, was an engineer with General Motors, then became a hospital administrator, and then an entrepreneur.
Both students learned more about business incubators/accelerators and how these are organizations that assist startups with finding their footings and help in keeping their startup costs down.
Malinao called the tour an “insightful experience.”
When he asked one of the presenters if he should go on to medical school or obtain an M.B.A. with a health care emphasis, he was given practical advice that put his mind at ease: Every experience you have helps you develop as a person; there is no wrong path.