In early January, Wharton offered its first ever course in India: “Innovation and the Indian Health Care Industry.” This three-day mini-course, held at the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad, covered the full range of health care issues in India – hospital management, medical tourism, pharmaceuticals, and more. Nine executive MBA students attended, joining 21 full-time MBA students, and three undergraduates. The course was directed by Wharton health care professor Lawton Burns, but lectures were given by eleven executives and leaders in Indian healthcare, many of whom have ongoing ties to Wharton.
Dr. Prasad Kilaru was one of three medical doctors in the EMBA program to take the course. “From a physician’s standpoint, there was really great information on hospitals, non-profits, pharmaceuticals, and more,” he said. “I also really enjoyed the lectures on medical tourism, including the presentation from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.”
Rajani Veeramachaneni, a first-year MBA Exec student who runs her own strategy consulting firm claims it was “one of the best academic courses she has ever taken, as it approached the issue from so many angles.” Veeramachaneni enjoyed not only the lectures on hospital management and medical tourism but the presentations on cutting-edge technologies, including e-Help, mobile health, and wireless medical technology. “I was impressed by the low-cost structure of India’s healthcare system,” she said, “from which the U.S. can learn a lot.”
Robert Zwolinski, a second-year EMBA student in San Francisco, took the course with the aim of applying his findings to his current job. As the Director of Operations of a small pharmaceutical company in the Bay Area, Zwolinski wanted to explore the possibility of outsourcing development work – including formulation development, clinical development, and clinical trials. “The course provided me an excellent opportunity to find out what I need to send work over there,” he said. “India is not just a low cost option. India offers many advantages – the education, talent, and intellectual capacity for specific activities – all of these advantages combine to make India a high quality option that can facilitate speed to market for products in development.”
Aside from its academic insights, the trip provided an important cultural immersion experience for students. “There is no way you can gain a full appreciation of what it’s like to live and to work and operate in India without going over there,” said Zwolinski, who traveled to India for this first time.