Student Profile: Bridging Disciplines
Nick Encina MBA-e '10
Founder and Managing Partner, Wingu
Founder, Yale Healthcare Ecosystem
My specialty is in creating value at the intersection of science, business, and technology. There is a communication gap at this juncture that limits the exchange of ideas and hinders decision-making. I have helped start two pharmaceutical companies and have founded two health technology startups. I have a masterís degree in computer science, one in cell biology, and I am doing an executive MBA at SOM now.
The MBA for Executives: Leadership in Healthcare program at Yale was ideal for me. I am here to accentuate what I am already doing, so the idea of leaving it to return to school didnít appeal to me. Managing two full-time commitments is nearly overwhelming, at times, but I love what I do and wouldnít have it any other way. What drew me to the program at Yale was the flexible schedule that allowed me to keep a professional life and, at the end of two years, graduate with a full MBA. It has been a phenomenal experience.
Every class that I have taken has had a profound impact on how I view my role as a manager and entrepreneur. Having run my own businesses, I know itís entirely possible to do business without an MBA, but now I have a better appreciation of how I can mold business forces more effectively. I can think through the immediate and long-term ramifications of choices around everything from economics and finance to accounting, negotiation, and contract law. Itís so valuable to put some formality around the different forces that can be working in your favor or against you.
The professors at SOM are pioneers in their fields and disciplines. They are often the source of the very material that you are learning. When you are taking classes with people like Ed Kaplan, Victor Vroom, or Art Swersey you are drinking straight from the well.
Beyond the faculty, one of the true benefits and pleasures of the program is that my classmates are experts in different areas of healthcare. They range from managers in pharmaceutical and insurance companies to nurses and surgeons. We cover such a broad swath of healthcare that it creates a rich and dynamic environment. During case study discussions, for example, people invariably comment with personal experience, whether from the operating room, a sales-side view, or a policy perspective. We all have our own opinions and biases, but we learn from each other and develop a better understanding of how different, yet valid, perspectives can co-exist.
About halfway through the program it occurred to me that, although I was meeting very interesting people at SOM, I was missing the opportunity to meet other interesting people across the Yale campus. The schools of medicine, public health, nursing, and law are all just down the street, yet we donít just naturally come into contact with each other. Each of those schools is producing people who will go on to have important careers in healthcare. It was with this in mind that I started the Yale Healthcare Ecosystem as a medium for people interested in healthcare across the campus to come together around challenging problems in health. We bring students and faculty together several times a year for cross-disciplinary discussions of critical socio-economic and political issues in healthcare. It has really opened up a forum to meet and network with people from other parts of the university. Putting together the Ecosystem was really a way of connecting people. It was a way of building bridges that allow people to learn and benefit from each other, to communicate across disciplines ó which is exactly what I do in my working life.
Interviewed on October 27, 2009.