Investing in You, an MBA’s Experience in Healthcare

There are many ways MBAs can support the life-changing work accomplished across the healthcare industry.

REACHING YOUR POTENTIAL     |    Feb. 6, 2023

Junchu Du first heard of Abbott as a young girl growing up in Shanghai.

“Abbott is a global company, and the brand is highly visible at supermarkets, pharmacies, and billboards in China,” she recalls. That association lingered for decades and across continents, ultimately lead Du to a rewarding career at the company.

A Strategic, Meaningful Career

Du came to the U.S. to study economics and dance at Denison University, a private liberal arts college in Ohio. After graduation, she pursued a career that was global, strategic, and impactful. This led her to a multinational group of businesses outside of Philadelphia that spanned the healthcare, information technology, manufacturing, and international industries.

Through her work in Philadelphia, Junchu soon became aware of medical tourism, which is when patients visit other countries seeking more accessible care.

“I learned that a patient’s journey is not only about the patient but also the patient’s support systems, including their families,” Du said. “I realized that healthcare was an ever-changing industry that introduced new challenges every day. Being alongside hundreds of families and positively impact their medical journey was a truly honorable and personal experience. I found fulfillment by being a part of the change within the global healthcare industry, one patient at a time. That's why I decided to stay on the healthcare path.”

Junchu decided to seek higher education and wanted to build upon her experience with an MBA program that was nationally recognized healthcare. Du found such a program at Vanderbilt University and earned her MBA in the summer of 2021.

A Talent Pipeline to Leadership

While in her MBA program, Du began researching and planning for her post-graduation career.

“One day I was looking through job positions, and I saw an opening for Abbott’s MBA Internship Program,” she said. “I also saw that Vanderbilt had several alumni who were working at Abbott. I scheduled coffee chats with a few of them and they all had good experiences at the company.”

Abbott’s MBA Internship Program offers MBA students access to direct hire opportunities in commercial management. Interns are assigned to leadership positions in marketing, market research, or business development, where they work on a project that impacts the business. The program provides an overview of the healthcare industry, access to industry experts and senior leadership, and networking opportunities.

Interns typically complete a 12-week assignment, including MBA Intern Week. At the end of the program, they present their project results to senior leaders, business executives, and colleagues.

“My MBA enhanced my quantitative skills in analytics to help me make data-driven decisions, so I really wanted to practice these analytical skills during my internship,” she said. “I was able to do that at Abbott—not only working with data, but also coming up with business decisions and strategic recommendations for a Similac go-to-market strategy based on insights, which was ultimately adopted post internship.”

The projects that Abbott assigned were real business scenarios, which provided interns full autonomy to be business owners of their projects and present their solutions. Du embraced the challenging project and enjoyed other aspects.

“Abbott offered an amazing three-layered support system that consisted of an intern manager, an MBA mentor, and a director mentor, all of whom were willing to set me up for success,” she said.

Investing in Yourself

After her summer at Abbott, Du decided to return full-time after graduation. In 2021, she began her current role as a Nutrition associate brand manager in Columbus, Ohio.

“I’m already putting my MBA and previous global healthcare experience to good use by negotiating business terms and launching marketing campaigns for many different product lines and working between different cultures and their approach to business on different sales channels and platforms,” she said. “The local socio-economic knowledge is crucial in global communications and stake holder management.”

While Du’s career at Abbott has just started, she sees a wide range of opportunities ahead across Abbott’s many business units.

“My goal is to grow with Abbott by building onto my responsibilities and having rotations within and outside the nutrition teams.” Du said.

Du said she is proud of the risks she’s taken—and the lessons she’s learned along her personal and professional journeys.

“The biggest and best investment you can make is in yourself,” Du said. “You are investing in the next step in your career or life. You can always find ways to make it work. As someone who learned about healthcare through field experience, an MBA with a healthcare focus provided me a well-rounded industry perspective and an opportunity to make impact at one of the top healthcare companies—Abbott.”