Wanted: Managers With A Human Touch

ESSEC’s Master of Science in Management of Health Industries program offers a unique Asian take on the healthcare industry and gives students a chance to launch exciting careers.

AsianScientist (Jun. 12, 2018) – Although healthcare professionals deal with patients rather than products, healthcare is an industry like any other, and should be governed by sound management principles. Given their narrow disciplinary training, medical professionals often lack exposure to training in management per se. Likewise, business-centric managers might not understand the complexities of the healthcare sector.

In response to this need, as well as feedback from multinational companies that were having difficulty recruiting healthcare professionals in Asia with a good understanding of the business models in healthcare, ESSEC Business School, Asia Pacific launched its Master of Science (MSc) in Management of Health Industries program in 2014.

Its academic program director, Professor Gérard de Pouvourville, noted, “There are good masters and MBA training programs around but they are mainly oriented towards public health—there was nothing specifically dedicated to pharma, medical devices and the wider healthcare industry.”

Bridging the gap

Unlike other programs, ESSEC’s MSc in Management of Health Industries program offers a unique mix of world-class management training and insights from industry experts, de Pouvourville said.

“Apart from being the only one in the region focused on the healthcare industry, we blend courses from our highly knowledgeable management sciences faculty with professional speakers from industry,” he explained.

This two-pronged approach is critical, de Pouvourville added, as many healthcare professionals would not have received any prior management training, while management track executives might not have a holistic understanding of the entire healthcare industry outside of their own realms of business analytics or regulatory affairs, for example.

As academic program director, de Pouvourville himself comes from a background that seamlessly combines the managerial with the medical. Having begun his career as a healthcare scientist in a public institution before moving on to consulting for large multinational companies, de Pouvourville has experience in health economics from a public sector perspective as well as a keen sense of what the industry needs.

“Over the past two decades, I’ve gained a deep understanding of how the industry works, valuable experience that gives me many case studies and stories to share with students and explain to them how things work,” he said.

Opening up new options

The MSc in Management of Health Industries program, which is targeted at high-potential executives hoping to make a career switch or expand their options, is designed for working adults, with fortnightly evening classes that can be completed within a year. Recently, video conferencing has also been added to allow participants from outside of Singapore to follow the course from the comfort of their own homes.

Through the years, the program has welcomed not only executives from pharmaceutical companies hoping to climb the career ladder, but also researchers who have completed their PhD degrees and are interested in starting their own companies, as well as executives from both private and public hospitals, among others.

“We have quite a variety of students who join us with different motivations. This diversity adds to the learning experience; students can learn a great deal from each other and not just the course instructors,” de Pouvourville said.

Equipped with their rigorous and industry-relevant training, which requires them to submit a thesis under the mentorship of an academic professor and an industry leader, graduates from the program have gone on to take on new responsibilities, advance their careers and even launch their own start-ups.

Meeting needs in Asia

Ultimately, de Pouvourville hopes that graduates from the program will make a positive impact on Asia’s healthcare sector as a whole, rising to the challenge of dealing with some of the region’s most pressing issues. In particular, he identifies Alzheimer’s disease as a major challenge for Asia-Pacific’s rapidly aging population.

“At the moment, Alzheimer’s disease is known as the cemetery of innovations because, despite extensive efforts, researchers have not been successful at finding a drug. Even if a drug is found, figuring out how to pay for it—what is known as market access—will pose a possibly even greater challenge,” he said.

“Asia includes both highly developed countries like Singapore and countries that are still struggling to build up universal health coverage. A major challenge for both wealthy and less developed countries is ensuring access to innovative treatments, with implications on how companies align their pricing strategies to the relative capacity to pay,” he continued.

The edge that ESSEC graduates will have in negotiating Asia’s extremely heterogeneous market is that they will have a wide range of international examples to draw from, not just a single national model as is the case in most other business schools.

“Our experience is European, so I am not here to sell the ‘French model’ but to inform the students about what is going on in Europe on issues like market access and how different governments pay for drugs,” de Pouvourville said.

“Students can then take what they learnt from France on cancer and what they learnt from Germany on financing innovation, for example, and tailor it to their own situations. This international perspective is what sets us apart.”

About ESSEC Business School

ESSEC Business School, founded in 1907 in France, is one of the world’s top international business schools. In 2014, ESSEC Asia-Pacific launched the MSc in Management of Health Industries program in its Singapore campus located in one-north. This one-year part-time program is Asia’s first-of-its-kind program that combines global health insights with regional best practices. The next intake is in October 2018. For more information, please download our program brochure.

Asian Scientist Magazine is a media partner of ESSEC Asia-Pacific.


Copyright: ESSEC Asia-Pacific.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

Asian Scientist Magazine is an award-winning science and technology magazine that highlights R&D news stories from Asia to a global audience. The magazine is published by Singapore-headquartered Wildtype Media Group.

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