Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Avery Waite, University of Michigan (Ross)

Avery Waite

University of Michigan, Ross School of Business

“A public health professional passionate about leveraging innovation to improve access to equitable healthcare globally.”

Hometown: Rye, New York

Fun Fact About Yourself: I have loved comedy from a young age and could recite every line from Monty Python and the Holy Grail at the age of five.

Undergraduate School and Major:

  • Duke University – Public Policy
  • Johns Hopkins University – Master of Public Health (MPH)

Most Recent Employer and Job Title:

  • Full-time: Senior Associate at the Clinton Health Access Initiative
  • Part-time: Graduate Intern at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of Michigan Ross’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? The strong commitment to action-based learning is one of the many things that led me to choose Michigan Ross. Coming to business school from a less traditional background, I am excited to have the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills that I am learning in the classroom to relevant projects and assignments. At Ross, there are countless opportunities to engage in hands-on learning opportunities. Personally, I am most excited about the Social Venture Fund, Sling Health, and the Multidisciplinary Action Projects (MAP).

What has been your first impression of the Ross MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far. Tell us your best Ross story so far. Everyone in the Ross community is incredibly welcoming, supportive, and willing to share their time and resources because they want you to feel equipped to achieve your unique goals. After I was admitted to Ross, I had countless students and alumni working in similar fields reach out to me to offer advice and answer any outstanding questions I had about the school, life in Ann Arbor, or anything else that would be helpful. My conversations with these thoughtful, genuine, and engaged individuals gave me confidence in my decision to join the Ross community.

What course, club, or activity excites you the most at Michigan Ross? Given my background in healthcare innovation and financing in low-and middle-income countries, I am really excited to work with the William Davidson Institute (WDI), a nonprofit entity that focuses on unlocking the power of business to create sustainable economic and social prosperity in emerging markets. WDI offers courses through Ross such as Healthcare Delivery in Low- and Middle-Income Countries and provides opportunities to contribute to consulting projects across the energy, healthcare, and education sectors. I have been familiar with WDI’s work for several years and am looking forward to learning from and working with inspiring thought leaders in the healthcare field.

When you think of the Michigan Ross MBA program, what is the first word that comes to mind? Why? Impact. Ross is committed to educating purpose-driven leaders who seek to leverage business-minded approaches to make a positive difference in the world. I strongly believe that the business community can develop groundbreaking solutions that will help move the needle on many of the social issues that have gone unsolved for decades. At Ross, I am not alone in this belief. Creating positive impact through business is a common thread that unites Ross students, faculty, and alumni, irrespective of people’s backgrounds or career interests.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Since the start of my career, I have had the opportunity to work on the response to several infectious disease outbreaks including Ebola, Zika, and COVID-19. One of my biggest career accomplishments was during my time with the Clinton Health Access Initiative working on the COVID-19 response. In collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners, my team and I helped introduce simpler, safer sample collection products for COVID-19 testing. We negotiated with Chinese manufacturers to offer these kits at a price point almost 70% cheaper than those on the market in low- and middle-income countries. These efforts led to countries being able to test more people at a reduced cost, saving close to $0.5B through the first two years of the COVID-19 response.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? I recently watched The Dropout, which depicts the story of Elizabeth Holmes and the creation and demise of her healthcare technology company, Theranos. Not only is the show entertaining, but it also presents a cautionary tale about prioritizing perceived success over sound business decisions. While Theranos was founded with the intention of creating sweeping social improvements, greed, deception, and lack of empathy ultimately led to the company’s downfall.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? Six years into my career, I decided it was time to return to graduate school so that I could gain the knowledge and skills that I will need to achieve transformational impact in the healthcare industry. After completing my Masters in Public Health (MPH), I was excited to start an MBA to learn best practices in business across different industries from my faculty and peers. After business school, I hope to work for a global market access team at a pharmaceutical company. Having tackled global health challenges from both the government and nonprofit sectors alongside Ministries of Health, healthcare providers, patients, and product developers, I have a deep understanding of the types of solutions that work in these markets. However, I want to learn how private sector companies approach organizational and product management, particularly in the context of emerging markets. I plan to apply the leadership and management skills from my MBA at Ross to achieve meaningful social impact in a profit-driven organization.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? In addition to Michigan Ross, I applied to Harvard, Wharton, Yale SOM, Duke, and Kellogg.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Michigan Ross’s MBA program? Throughout the application process, take advantage of all the opportunities to engage with Ross students, staff, and faculty to learn as much as you can about the program. Through your conversations with members of the Ross community, try to get a feel for the culture of the school and picture yourself here. What excites you most? How do you picture yourself engaging and making an impact on campus? Channel that excitement into your applications and lean on the Ross community when you need support. You can do this!


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