Anne-Marie Schoonbeek, 27--MBA candidate, Harvard Business School
Schoonbeek didn't come to the medical device industry via the traditional routes of engineering or medicine. She became familiar with the industry while working as a strategy consultant at McKinsey and was attracted to the vitally important role its challenges play in society.
Schoonbeek chose to enroll at Harvard Business School to, among other things, understand how Boston's community of medical innovators is tackling healthcare problems. At an MIT-organized event, she met members of the GoodSIRS team who were developing a device to treat sepsis patients using blood filtration. In her first year at HBS, Schoonbeek worked with GoodSIRS to help develop a commercialization strategy. Earlier this year, the GoodSIRS team won the MIT Healthcare Innovation Prize.
What's next--in her own words: "After we successfully competed in MIT's Biotech Innovations competition as team GoodSIRS, we are strengthened in our confidence that we are working on something that could really have an impact. Furthermore, the public exposure following our win allowed us to get in touch with key stakeholders in the Boston innovation scene.
I am currently completing a business development MBA internship with a Series A mental health startup in the Bay Area, Lantern Health. Lantern developed a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)-based online solution to improve mental health outcomes, which is currently actively being used by thousands of people. I anticipate being able to use my experience gained at Lantern to take the next commercialization steps for GoodSIRS."
What are the biggest factors that helped you become a young innovator? "The largest contributing factor has been exposure to the Boston area academic community through my enrollment at HBS. Boston is home to a number of leading academic institutions, with excellence across different specialties. GoodSIRS is a great example of a diverse set of people from different academic backgrounds, but a shared interest, and working together in such a heterogeneous team has felt very empowering.
My entrepreneurial efforts within this ecosystem have been catalyzed through Harvard's facilities like the Rock Center and the Harvard I-lab--which allowed me to tap into the expertise of experienced serial entrepreneurs."
What is the biggest challenge you have faced so far? "I feel like my career has only just started--so I expect the biggest challenges are still to come. However, to the extent it pertains to my involvement in the healthcare industry, I initially saw my lack of an engineering or medical background as a challenge. I was afraid that it would hinder me in having an actual impact. However, through my experience with GoodSIRS and currently at Lantern Health I have come to appreciate the power of complementary skill sets. I am focusing more on the unique skills and background from HBS and my previous experience at McKinsey that I can bring to a team, rather than emphasizing the background training that I do not have.
Providing good and cost-effective healthcare is a broad societal challenge that I think is best met by a diverse set of brains and backgrounds."
|[Image courtesy of ANNE-MARIE SCHOONBEEK]|