MBA Applicant Voice: Biologist Turns To MBA To Innovate Healthcare

Biology graduate Ivan De La Torre hopes to leverage an MBA to better serve the world's growing healthcare needs.

Ivan De La Torre, a former biology student at the University of California, Los Angeles, and San Francisco State University, took up a career that allowed him to witness innovation in healthcare.

Wanting to better understand and explore how healthcare can benefit from technological changes, he wants to begin an MBA program. And not just to gain business acumen and become a better leader, but also to find better ways of meeting patients’ needs. 

Why do you want to begin an MBA program?

I am at a stage in my career where I feel that I have developed some valuable professional skills, but know that I have a lot of room for improvement.

I don't come from a traditional business background, but know that many of the skills that are developed in an MBA program would transfer over to any level of management.

At the same time, I see a great opportunity to leverage an MBA within the healthcare sector for career advancement opportunities.

What do you hope to gain from an MBA?

Ultimately, I hope to develop my business skills. Coming from the ambulatory side of healthcare, I’ve never had to consider issues like accounting, finance and marketing.

While I would like to tell myself that I would make a capable manager, I know that a solid foundation in business principles would allow me to become an exceptional leader.

Additionally, an MBA would allow me to explore and learn about how new technology could be implemented within healthcare.

Which business schools will you apply to?

[UCLA] Anderson, Haas [School of Business], Kelley [School of Business], [Cornell] Johnson, Tepper [School of Business] and Tuck [School of Business].

What factors did you take into consideration?

As I knew that I would be applying through the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, I [knew I] would be selecting from a pool of 18 member programs. Naturally, I poured over the rankings from different publications to get a general idea of each program’s strengths and weaknesses.

Once I started to narrow choices down to a manageable number, I reviewed what each program had to offer in terms of concentration and tracks that best fit my goals.

Now, as I delve into the essay portion of the application stage, I have spent a lot of time reaching out to MBA students, reading publications and visiting student blogs to understand the unique culture of each program.

Ultimately, my wife and I will make a selection based on the program that offers the best fit, both in terms of academics and community.

You have already taken the GMAT. How did you prepare for the exam?

I took it twice. Originally I utilized the Newton [GMAT Prep course], but was not seeing the results I wanted. I really felt it was well put together, but my wife and I were planning our wedding at the same time. Ultimately, I believe that the outside stresses were holding me back. 

The second time around I utilized books from PowerScore [Test Preparation] and Manhattan[GMAT] to target what I interpreted as my weak points. With the wedding planning behind me, I was able to make some strong improvements. 

I did well enough to make [myself] a competitive applicant at my target schools and, honestly, I was just happy to have finished.

What is the benefit of applying through the Consortium instead of applying to business schools individually?

The Consortium is committed to increasing the representation of under-represented minorities in American business schools and corporate management. So, on top of wanting to support the Consortium’s view, it does provide a few perks.

First, with one application prospective students are allowed to apply to up to six of the 18 member schools, saving both time and money.

Secondly, students are eligible for partial and full merit-based fellowships, though not guaranteed, that they would otherwise not have been considered for.

Lastly, it provides admitted students, as well as Consortium alumni, the opportunity to connect and network with the Consortium’s corporate sponsors, as well as attend career development seminars at its annual orientation program.

What are your career goals and how do you plan to leverage an MBA to achieve them?

My professional goal is to not only lead projects that implement technology in healthcare, but that target unmet opportunities to create a better way of meeting patients’ needs.
While healthcare relies on cutting-edge technology to treat patients, the technology has not been successfully utilized to help patients effectively manage their own healthcare.
As technology continues to evolve and become more complicated, there will be an increasingly bright opportunity to leverage those advancements to better serve the population’s growing healthcare needs.

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