Lawrence J. LaPorta
“A positive, curious, and driven self-starter. Also, a family man, an avid outdoorsman and adventurer.”
Hometown: Ridgefield, CT
Fun Fact About Yourself: I was offered a job making hand-made pasta with a top chef in Sicily, but I decided to go to Carnegie Mellon instead.
Undergraduate School and Major: Elon University – B.S. – Exercise Science focus in Public Health
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Ortho Clinical Diagnostics – Transfusion Medicine Business Manager – Southeast
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: After working for three years at Ortho, I had successfully completed our sales associate program, exceeded my quota as a local account manager in back-to-back years and then received a highly recognized promotion to a business manager position. It was a great achievement since the business manager positions were typically given to the most tenured and successful people in our organization. The business manager works with local representatives, technical specialists, and system executives to develop a strategy and execute to deliver growth to the bottom line of the organization. It taught me how to manage people who do not directly report to you, how to navigate the inner workings of large health systems and to execute on a strategy effectively. It was a tremendous experience to grow both personally and professionally.
What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Supportive. During my evaluation of Tepper, I reached out to four current students who quickly responded to my emails and had a conversation with me. I spoke with each student about their experiences for over an hour and felt very confident in Tepper. On top of my student experience, the class has created a WhatsApp group to help all incoming candidates acclimate to the area, stay up-to-date on deadlines for the program, and find roommates and apartments. Every Tepper student that I have met has been extremely supportive.
Aside from your classmates, what was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? Of all the MBA programs I applied to, Tepper stood out for a very specific reason: the quantitative rigor. Tepper does a great job of involving quantitative analysis and structure to each of its classes. Given my background in the health sciences, I knew I needed a program that would develop my quantitative and financial skills to prepare me for a career in Venture Capital. Tepper’s quantitative rigor, combined with their strong entrepreneurship presence and location that is surrounded by healthcare and technological innovation, presented a unique opportunity to do just that.
What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? Through the application process, I had the opportunity to interact with members of the Graduate Finance Associate (GFA). Within each conversation, I had with candidates at all levels of involvement. It was very clear that this club is invested in the success of its members to achieve their goals post MBA. They help candidates with interviews, provide insight and guidance for success in the MBA program and pursuing your finance career post-Tepper. I am very excited to join the GFA this fall.
What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? You seem like you have had a lot of international experience, tell me about a time where an international experience challenged you. What did you learn and how has it impacted your professional career?
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? My career goal has always been to be involved in healthcare and to improve the lives of patients. After an eye-opening experience on a Medical Brigade in Ghana, I realized that the business side of healthcare offered the opportunity to impact a greater number of patients. To me, it felt more dynamic, exciting and full potential to effect change.
Therefore, I pursued a career in medical sales, where I was able to see the day in, day out issues affecting the industry, build my operational skills, and understand the challenges of the industry. Through a networking opportunity, I was introduced to a Venture Capital firm focused in MedTech and BioTech, where I worked closely with a healthcare-focused start-up, Resility Health. It was at that point that I realized that I did not want to just operate within the healthcare system. I wanted to help change it. In order to achieve that goal and transition to working full time in Venture Capital, I needed to supplement the operational skills developed in my previous role with quantitative and financial skills.
It was through conversations with family, friends, and colleagues that it became clear that this could most effectively be achieved through pursuing my MBA.
What other MBA programs did you apply to? NYU – Stern School of Business, Boston University – Questrom School of Business, Fordham – Gabelli School of Business, Boston College, Harvard, Columbia
How did you determine your fit at various schools? In evaluating business schools, I had three criteria that were important: the locations and industries of the alumni network, the location of the school and the student culture. Of my first two criteria, it was easy to evaluate these via the school’s website. However, understanding the culture was more difficult. Therefore, I went to the campuses and evaluated the culture first-hand by attending classes, touring the schools, and speaking with current students to garner an understanding of what a day in the life is like. This helped me visualize myself in the classrooms and gave me insight into the current student’s goals and a more personal understanding of how the alumni network has truly helped each student. By visiting the campus and interacting with current students and admission center, I was able to get the most insight into what each school could offer me and how I aligned with their goals, which helped me to make a better-educated decision.
What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? During the summer of my junior year of college, I was part of a two-week medical brigade to Mfantsiman, Ghana. As a pre-med student, I was in charge of triaging patients as they entered the screening area. It was a classroom temporarily emptied of desks and partitioned by bedsheets. We saw people suffering from all types of ailments, the most common of which could have been easily prevented by proper medical access and care. Throughout the course of the brigade, we treated 2,000 patients and distributed over 1,500 prescriptions. While I interacted with literally hundreds of families, there was one that changed me forever.
A young mother holding her son – no older than three—entered our medical station. While his smile was contagious, my heart literally sunk as our eyes locked. There was an unmistakable hue of yellow in his eyes. After the physician I was assisting examined him further, she pulled me aside and said that his liver was solid as a rock and it was too late; he had no more than two months to live. In this moment, it became clear that even the greatest of doctors can only help a finite number of patients. To impact the quality of healthcare and change the greatest number of lives, I had to do more than practice medicine; I needed to find ways to change medicine.
Over the last three years, I’ve leveraged my background in biological sciences to build a foundation and expertise in medical device sales. Leading a cross-functional team of experts, I developed strategic annual business plans to deliver on the organization’s goals in the region. This has given me the opportunity to experience first-hand what it takes to build, manage and grow a business. Most recently, I have begun to work with innovative start-ups that match my drive to affect change in the industry. This has solidified my long-term goal, to continue working with healthcare start-ups but from the venture capital side to improve medical care.
Where do you see yourself in ten years? In ten years, I see myself as a partner at a venture capital firm focused on guiding investments into healthcare companies that improve patient care and experience.