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Read Three Harvard MBA Essays

A Healthcare Manager

Home Country: USA
Previous Industry/Profession: Consulting

Analysis: In this essay, the author begins by describing how witnessing a selfless act from her nine-year-old mentee, led her to decide to challenge herself to make an impact in Healthcare, a field affecting all Americans. She uses a particularly difficult turnaround situation which she was put in charge of as exemplifying her strongest skills: building relationships and uniting people around a common goal. In the process of resolving this turnaround project, she also displays her willingness to speak out across leader-ship levels and companies.

When I originally became a mentor, I thought I understood the impact I could have on someone else’s life but did not believe that someone half my age would have much to teach me. Freshman year at [Private College], I signed up to be a Community Friend and was soon introduced to a nine-year-old named [Female]. She had long brown hair, large dark eyes, and barely said a word that first day. I was proud to witness the kind, smart, hilar-ious girl who slowly emerged through Taylor Swift sing-a-longs and nights out at my favorite pizza restaurant where we soon ate regularly. I was helping to build her self-confidence, but had not fully understood how she was changing me.

Several months after we met, [Female]’s mom dropped her off for one of our routine visits and as she climbed out of the car my immediate reaction was one of surprise. Where had her beautiful, long hair gone? [Female] explained, “My four-year-old neighbor has cancer and has been going through chemo, so she lost all her hair. She told me she didn’t feel pretty anymore, so to make her feel better I decided to shave my head.” I was blown away by the selflessness of that gesture. I still am not sure that I would have the confidence to do something as thoughtful as what [Female] did for her neighbor, but she made me want to try.

I have found that I often learn the most about who I am and who I want to become through dedicating my time to those around me. That is why I am a mentor, and that is why I am passionate about healthcare, an industry that impacts every person in the United States.

My work experience has convinced me that the healthcare industry must change in profound ways. I began my career at [Healthcare Non-Profit], where my most meaningful assignment was an IT initiative at the [Healthcare Non-Profit] that transformed how the nation’s largest blood collection organization operates. Inspired by that experience, I joined [Healthcare Corporation] to focus exclusively on healthcare and learn from a company with a passion for innovation.

On a daily basis I witness the difficulty that providers face as they attempt to prioritize patients but are bogged down by outdated systems within their practice that cannot communicate with one another. At [Healthcare Corporation] I have collaborated with other vendors to implement solutions that break down the walls between these systems, allowing providers to focus on patient needs rather than data entry. My greatest strength is my ability to build relationships, through which I am able to unite stakeholders with a wide range of motivations. This skill has played a critical role in my success at driving the complex projects I manage to completion.

Last January I learned that the fate of [Healthcare Corporation’s contracts with twelve practices and its relationship with [Health Care Provider Company], the largest healthcare provider in [Northeastern State], rested on the success of one project. As [Health Care Provider] affiliates, the practices were obligated to transition from doing 14 all of their work in [Healthcare Corporation] to completing certain tasks in the [Health Care Provider] system. The project objective was to build an interface to transfer patient data from computer software systems to [my Healthcare Corporation]’s online system, which would spare the practices from having to enter the same information in both systems. More than a year into the project, the interface was now five weeks from the agreed upon go-live date, behind schedule, and at high risk of failure. My assignment was to turn it around.

Through experience I understood that ensuring an interface works from a technical standpoint often obscures the equally critical mission of training end users on how to leverage the interface to support their needs. While assessing the project, I immediately observed that there was no plan to guide the twelve practices through the significant changes in their daily workflows that would soon occur. This worried me far more than the myriad technical issues.

I insisted that the interface not go live without end user training, and was surprised when [Health Care Provider] leadership maintained there was no time to complete training and no option to delay. I feared the project would fail but was determined to do everything in my power to make it successful. I called an emergency meeting between [Healthcare Corporation] and [Health Care Providers] leadership to draw attention to the existing issues and determine a path forward.

I initially believed that the two organizations had fundamentally different priorities, but during that meeting I realized I had been wrong. As we discussed the motivations behind each organization’s position, it became clear that both [Healthcare Corporation] and [Health Care Provider] sought to make the practices successful; the disagreement stemmed from differing opinions on how best to do so. With common ground established, the tension between both sides quickly subsided. We agreed to keep the go-live date, prioritized key technical fixes, and identified a training plan.

The interface went live on schedule and without major issues. A few weeks later, I received a call from a Practice Manager who had been particularly resistant to the change. She informed me that her practice had mastered their new workflow and appreciated the support that both [Healthcare Corporation] and [Health Care Provider] had provided. Of all the things that we accomplished during those last weeks, I am proudest of that moment.

Word Count: 937

Comments: I think the most important thing with the essay is to iterate. I probably wrote 25 drafts, some of which resembled the previous version and others where I tried to think about what I wanted to convey through a completely different lens or series of stories. Because the question is so open-ended, it is important to reflect as much as possible and give yourself the time (in my case two months) to go on the journey necessary to realize what you care most about communicating and how to do so in the most effective way. I also cannot overstate the importance of finding someone who will give you honest feedback.

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