2021 Best & Brightest MBAs: Corrine Marquardt, U.C.-Berkeley (Haas)

Corrine Marquardt

University of California-Berkeley, Haas School of Business

“Passionate about people development and improving mental health through technology innovation and adoption.”

Hometown: Spokane, WA

Fun fact about yourself: In my first job, as a fifteen-year-old, I worked as an “Ecology Youth Corp Worker,” which is an elaborate title given to teenagers paid to pick up garbage on the highway. While on the job, I found a pipe bomb on the side of the road!

Undergraduate School and Degree: Georgetown University, BS in foreign service; Major: Science, Technology & International Affairs

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? I was a technology senior consultant at Deloitte Consulting.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2020? Vida Health, San Francisco (internship held remotely).

Where will you be working after graduation? I am a dual-degree MBA/MPH candidate so I will not be graduating until December 2021. Post-graduation employment plans are still being finalized.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

Haas Healthcare Association, VP of Careers: Organized career-oriented events in healthcare; created a new set of resources to help Haas students accelerate their career exploration into different healthcare verticals (e.g. digital health, providers, biotech, global health, etc.)

Lead of the John E. Martin Mental Health Tech Challenge: Planned and coordinated the first annual John E. Martin Mental Health Tech Challenge, a cross-MBA case competition focused on creating solutions in mental health. For this Google-sponsored event, we selected and hosted 12 finalist teams from 10 different MBA programs to create solutions around improving mental health for data center construction workers.

Haas Healthcare Conference Co-chair: Defined the vision, selected the leadership team, and led planning efforts for the 14th annual Haas Healthcare Conference. The team brought together leaders across pandemic response, climate change, healthcare equity, and healthcare innovation to reflect on recent healthcare hardships and provide insights into how we can collectively move forward toward a better healthcare future.

Haas Admissions Interviewer: Conducted over a dozen interviews with prospective Haas students and provided admissions recommendations to the admissions committee. I deeply enjoyed getting to know prospective students, listening to their professional and life stories, and sharing about why Haas is special to me.

Haas Ambassador for healthtech hunches: healthtech hunches is a new community of professionals who provide advice and insights to students looking to build careers in healthcare and technology. As the Haas ambassador for this community, I have planned multiple healthtech hunches sessions and helped to connect my peers with professionals in my network by matching them up as moderators for “Ask Me Anything” sessions.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am most proud of my role in leading the first annual John E. Martin Mental Health Tech Challenge. This event was a highlight of my MBA experience because it blended my passions for healthcare and software, brought speakers and students together to help solve an extremely urgent and important cause, and accelerated conversations for future investment in mental health innovation.

I really enjoy the tangible nature of software development and am passionate about the power of technology to support meaningful improvements in healthcare. While mental health has generally started to gain attention as an important area in which patients need more help and support, we seldom discuss different worker populations and their most prevalent mental health challenges. I am proud of the conversations and inspirational dialogue that the competition started among my peers across MBA programs. Since the competition, the event has catalyzed additional investment in mental health innovation programming at Haas.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? When I was at Deloitte, I was actively involved in informing the early stages of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Software Pre-Certification Pilot Program. As part of this effort, I led planning for a full-day design session where we brought in digital health stakeholders from across the country to imagine and articulate important components for a future regulatory pathway for software-based medical devices. Based on the insights from this session, we helped FDA consider ways in which they could accelerate the review process for low-risk devices, while still maintaining safety and efficacy of medical devices for patients. The work has continued since I left for my MBA; it has been exciting to follow public updates on this program and discuss potential impacts with my peers (both inside and outside of the classroom).

Why did you choose this business school? Haas’s culture and commitment to its four Defining Leadership Principles (DLPs) made the school stand out to me. The DLPs are more than a marketing tactic at Haas – when I met with Haas alumni and current students, it was obvious that the students and faculty at Haas take “Beyond Yourself” to heart. Several individuals told stories of how their classmates had come together to support them through major life challenges, both professional and personal in nature. The students I met had impressive professional accomplishments, but rather than start conversations with their elevator pitches, they took the time to get to know me and what made me excited to make an impact. Their “Confidence without Attitude” was evident in their openness to share with me what made Haas important to them, even when I asked what felt like simple questions. Students were genuinely excited to “nerd out” with me about the latest digital health innovations, operational efficiency models, or startup best practices. Even alumni recounted with impressive detail their learnings from within the classroom, emphasizing the “Student Always” mentality. Finally, I met multiple students who came to Haas not to learn how to succeed in the current business landscape, but instead to learn how to mold the future of business for the better. I was inspired by their courage to “Question the Status Quo”.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? My favorite MBA professor is Kim MacPherson. Not only is Kim well-versed in multiple domains within healthcare, whether it be health technology, providers, biotech, payers, or PBMs, but she explains this complex ecosystem in a way that is understandable and breaks down silos between professionals from each domain.

Like many Haas professors, Kim uses real-world cases as a foundation for most of her lessons, and she also often brings in alumni and other healthcare leaders into her classes to add another perspective to the cases we discuss. For example, in her class in trends in biotech and pharma, she brought in several executive leaders at Novartis to discuss market access in the pharmaceutical industry.

Finally, Kim is more than a professor. She is a life coach and advisor. She constantly goes above and beyond to help healthcare-interested Haasies make professional connections and find their right fit in the range of healthcare organizations and roles.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? The MBA experience is overwhelming in many ways. That said, if I could go back, I would make a more intentional effort to stay connected with my pre-MBA network. For example, while I have scheduled a couple of catch-up calls with former mentors and colleagues, these calls have been few and far between due to the jam-packed nature of the MBA. Now that I am getting ready to re-enter the workforce, I wish I had carved out more time to keep these relationships warmer.

What surprised you the most about business school? I underestimated how many opportunities I would have to work with high-impact organizations and to meet influential thought-leaders. For example, just this week, one of my classes learned about organizational innovation models from Arati Prabhakar, former head of DARPA. Additionally, I have had the opportunity to conduct consulting projects for multiple digital health startups through class projects, internships, and part-time work opportunities. These opportunities have given me the ability to organically grow my network, learn more about nuances in the industry, and prove my ability to add value to companies making investments in healthcare innovation. I thought I would have to search for these opportunities, but many have been introduced through classes and posts from our career center. I have needed to be selective about which opportunities I ultimately pursue, which is a challenge in and of itself, but one I have embraced.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? I spent several days reflecting on the defining moments in my life and tried to tell a story about these moments in my application essays. I worked to strike the balance between making my stories compelling, highlighting the impact I had made in my career, and being authentic in the telling of my stories. Finally, more specifically to Haas, I knew the Defining Leadership Principles were important in the school’s culture and tried to make sure each of my essays exemplified one of these defining principles in my own life experiences.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? My Haas classmates are impressive overall, but the one I most admire is Aishwarya “Aishu” Sukumar. Aishu creates deep and genuine friendships and pursues work that allows her to blend her love for life sciences research with high impact for patients. Aishu manages to juggle academics, a part-time job with Gates Ventures, and club leadership roles. Even with the COVID-19 pandemic and need for social distancing, Aishu still has made it a point to plan regular walks and distanced hangouts in a centralized Berkeley park. She regularly texts her friends to make sure they prioritize their own mental health as we all struggle with the ambiguity and challenges associated with the global pandemic and social isolation.

Aishwarya has worked with impressive organizations and people, but in talking about her experiences, she focuses on the projects and impact, rather than the fame of some of the people with whom she has worked. Still, Aishu is not shy to ask for opportunities to lead and grow – I admire her courage and ability to speak up for what she most needs from her leaders in order to excel in any role she is in.

How disruptive was it to shift to an online or hybrid environment after COVID hit? The shift to a mostly remote experience was disruptive, but as a dual-degree student also pursuing an MPH, I greatly appreciate and respect UC Berkeley’s emphasis on safety and slowing the spread of COVID-19 within our community. Some of the greatest challenges with remote learning have been in the form of “Zoom fatigue” and hardships associated with social isolation. And of course, some of us have faced grave personal challenges with friends and family members who have become sick or who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic.

Still, while disruptive, there have been some positive aspects to our virtual MBA experience. We have had even more guest speakers in many of our classes, as professors can tap their networks beyond the Bay Area for speakers. Professors regularly utilize Zoom’s break-out rooms feature, which prompts us to interact in small groups with classmates whom we may otherwise have never had the opportunity to meet. And finally, at Haas we benefit from generally good weather year-long, providing the opportunity to meet in small groups for outdoor walks or picnics. The MBA experience is quieter now, but many of us have still done what we can to make the most of it.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? I was most influenced to pursue my MBA by one of my managers at Deloitte: Chris Comrack. To help me to think through my professional growth trajectory, Chris shared learnings from his own MBA experience and encouraged me to take a break from client-facing work to focus on my own personal development, friendships, and leadership. Chris is exceptional at mentoring others and is not afraid to take on bold initiatives – both qualities I wanted to develop in my own leadership style. Chris also introduced me to basic financial models and inspired me to learn more about how to best build and use models to make strategic decisions.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? 

  • Manage the development of a product or feature that moves the needle in improving mental health.
  • Be asked to keynote at a professional conference; having led a conference myself, I know how much esteem we hold for our speakers. I look forward to the day when I have a perspective that others are excited to hear about, especially in a large-audience context.

What made Corrine such an invaluable member of the Class of 2021?

“As the Executive Director for Health Management, I am writing to enthusiastically support the Poets & Quant nomination of Corrine Marquardt. I am her primary faculty advisor and have had many different forms of interaction with her since she started in fall 2019, ranging from a student in class, a reader for 2 of my current courses and as a collaborator on important initiatives that benefit the community.

Corrine’s contributions have been invaluable to our healthcare community and she has been a major force since she started the MBA MPH program – the true epitome of Beyond Yourself.  She was in my fall 2019 Healthcare in the 21st Century class, where her prior experience from Deloitte gave her great insights to share in case discussions and a wonderful way to draw out our guest experts. We also valued her consistent efforts to amplify and support her peers and she was always instrumental in helping to maintain a strong climate in class. Her depth of knowledge and student empathy made her a clear choice when I need to hire a reader for my two spring 2021 Haas classes. To date, her partnership on those classes has been phenomenal and has really enhanced the learning experience for the students.

Outside the classroom, during her first year Corrine launched what is becoming her legacy of critical contributions through HHA. She immediately saw a need for more supportive professional development tools around healthcare roles and led the creation of new career path resources to help students explore novel ways to accelerate their understanding of the ecosystem. She has particularly focused on health tech, a huge area of interest for many students, offering 1-1 mentoring, ways to share experiences and fostered industry connections as the Haas liaison to healthtech hunches.  Corrine has regularly upped her commitment level, taking on key leadership roles and recently had an enormous success as the lead for the November 2020 inaugural JEM Mental Health Tech Challenge. From that highly successful case competition, we are now in conversations with major corporate donors to develop a center around mental health innovation – without her strong commitment and efforts on that event, we would not have secured the quick approval for the second run or this chance at a securing funding for a major research and educational center. She isn’t resting on that success and is currently serving as one of the two co-chairs for the 14th annual Business of Healthcare Conference.  This is our signature healthcare event at Haas and the complexities from the pandemic required a very creative pivot to a multi-day virtual model that Corrine has been gracefully leading. Overall, her passion for excellence and desire to curate a high impact conference experience is amazing to see and her peers know that when she is involved, it will all happen in a way that is inclusive and respectful of everyone’s contributions. In short, she is a total gem and Haas benefits in so many ways from her being a part of the community. I have no doubt that will continue long after she graduates!”

Kimberly MacPherson
Executive Director
Health Management
Haas School of Business



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