Carlson School of Management

Pulse - Winter 2014


Institute news

Pari Passu - By Mike Finch, PhD, Acting Director

Each new year brings a new time, new opportunities, and new choices. When the history books are written, the discussion of health care in America in 2013 will surely be defined by the struggles of implementing the ACA.

This year also will be marked out as a tumultuous, confusing, and often disheartening year when decision-making under uncertainty was not just an academic discipline. Firms were forced to operate in increasing precarity, weathering ambiguity as timelines were moved, previous decisions rescinded, and policy tweaks implemented.

The difficulty of making decisions in such an environment was foreshadowed by Nobel Laureate Amos Teversky and his colleagues, who noted that, under such conditions, decisions emphasize the decision maker's confidence in his or her knowledge rather than hard, actuarial facts. They called this approach "comparative ignorance." In 2014, we will begin to learn who made profitable decisions and who made costly ones. For the survivors, it will be a time of adjusting, making up for losses, and girding for more challenges. While these struggles persist, the real questions facing us are not why or how the wrinkles of health care implementation arose, nor even how they will be conquered, but by what health care finance and delivery will look like in 2016.

Not 2014, not 2015 - 2016.

Our speakers for our lecture series over the next two years will be those who are already looking forward to how things might be, not how things could have been. David Knutson, our first speaker on this topic (read more below), provided an insightful view of current approaches for measuring and managing risk and why they aren't sufficient for the health care landscape of 2016.

We will keep you informed as this most interesting series unfolds. We hope to see you there.


New Devices Competition

The Emerging Medical Innovation Valuation Competition, to be held during the annual Design of Medical Devices Conference (hosted by the University of Minnesota's Medical Devices Center, College of Science and Engineering, and Academic Health Center) will provide a way for researchers and inventors to get immediate project feedback from leaders in medical technology research, engineering, and development.

This competition is for inventors (including students, faculty, staff, and corporations) seeking investor support to reach the next stage of development. Initial submissions should be no more than 10 slides summarizing the medical innovation. Judges will review and invite six inventors to give succinct, eight-minute presentations at the DMD Conference in April 2014.

Faculty and fellows from the Medical Industry Valuation Laboratory will provide feedback and determine the top three innovations - those that hold the greatest return on investment and investment potential. The top three presenters will be awarded a full valuation, including a presentation and report, of their technologies from the University of Minnesota's Medical Industry Valuation Laboratory, valued at $15,000 per project. Winners will be announced at the conference's keynote luncheon.

More information on the Medical Industry Valuation Laboratory and the service can be found here and more information on the DMD Emerging Medical Innovation Valuation Competition can be found here.

Submissions and questions should be directed to


MILI Introduces New Resource for Health Economy Data

The Medical Industry Leadership Institute (MILI) has launched a free, web-based resource for educators, policymakers, students, and professionals to gain a better understanding of the most pressing health care issues in the United States today. The Medical Industry Leadership Institute Open Education Hub offers primers, presentations, and raw data describing the core forces and trends in the current economy.

"Introducing this platform provides a critical component for health care leaders to study best practices," says MILI Director Stephen Parente. "At a time of dynamic change in the health economy, the demand for access to expert analysis and industry data has never been greater."

The platform also allows users to collaborate on creating and sharing content and then publish materials that users can later access. The Hub aims to generate and share knowledge around health care issues ranging from the government's role in health care to health and poverty. Anyone can create an account on the site.

The resource was developed by Dr. Christopher Conover of Duke University and the American Enterprise Institute in cooperation with the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, Duke University, and the Carlson School.


UnitedHealth Group Actuarial Seminar

In October, MILI hosted the latest in our series of UnitedHealth Group Actuarial Seminars, funded as part of the UnitedHealth Group Actuarial Scholarship Program. David Knutson, senior research fellow in the Division of Health Policy & Management at the University of Minnesota, presented "Understanding Risk under Health Reform: How Do Insurance Exchanges and Payment Reform Require New Approaches for Measuring and Managing Risk?" In 2011-12, while on leave from the University, he served as a senior policy and program analyst in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C. Knutson helped the audience understand the actuarial challenges - that is, the changes to determining risk - that have and will come with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. His presentation can be viewed online at


Research Seminar: Bianca Frogner

A professor in the Department of Health Services Management and Leadership in George Washington University's School of Public Health and Health Services, Bianca Frogner is early in her academic career but already recognized for her top-level research and consulting contributions to the health care landscape. Frogner takes a broad view of the health care industry in the U.S. and abroad, using comparative data to see what works where and how it can be improved. In September, she presented a MILI seminar on the Affordable Care Act and its impacts on the health care workforce. In the seminar, Frogner explained her recent findings that, assuming the persistence of today's distribution of races and ethnicities across the health care industry's workforce, the job growth and career opportunities opened up by ACA may lead to a truly diverse economic sector. Her research team reports that many people of color are now in or will soon have access to jobs in what ACA has made one of the fastest-growing industries in the U.S., and believes that they will soon comprise a full third of the American health care industry's staff.

A copy of the final report can be found here:


New Advanced Learning Opportunities for Professionals

Carlson Executive Education is excited to offer professionals access to cutting-edge classes offered in partnership with the Medical Industry Leadership Institute (MILI). These medical industry courses provide accomplished professionals the skills and knowledge needed to advance in their careers.  "Carlson Executive Education gives you direct access to what's best at Carlson - you can engage with faculty at the forefront of the scientific, technical, legal, ethical, and entrepreneurial aspects of the dynamic medical industry," says Mark Bergen, Associate Dean of Carlson Executive Education. Participants can choose to take a course or register for the Carlson Executive Education MILI Certificate. "We're thrilled to announce that three of our earliest participants have already completed and received MILI certificates with dozens more expected in 2014," says Karl Johnson, Assistant Dean of Carlson Executive Education. 

Why enroll? Success in every profession requires intelligence, drive, and curiosity. Our Executive Education program caters to mid- to high-level professionals who are looking to expand their skill sets, stay up to date, and explore fast-changing fields. As you know, MILI is marked by its investment in lifelong learning, valuing the mutual benefits of interaction among students, faculty, and global industry executives. Together, the Carlson School can help you build your expertise, resume, and career in health care.

Programs start on January 27, 2014, register now at


The List of Benefits for Minnesota Cup Participants Continues to Grow!

MILI is excited to expand its sponsorship of the Minnesota Cup. This past year, the MILI Valuation Laboratory selected three projects from the Life Science & Health IT Division to participate in its fall program. The course provides companies with an investment opportunity assessment that examines such issues as market size, regulatory approval, intellectual property, and financial return. Each firm received a written report as well as a PowerPoint presentation of report highlights. The MILI Valuation Laboratory is an interdisciplinary course consisting of students from eight different colleges across the University of Minnesota campus.

MILI is excited to continue working with the Minnesota Cup in its commitment to supporting entrepreneurs.


Get Social with MILI

Have you connected with MILI online? It's the best way to stay up to date on our events, networking opportunities, and developing courses. It may even help connect companies and prospective hires! Get in on the action here:

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Students in Focus

2013 Platou Awards

The 5th annual Carl N. Platou Leadership Competition Awards were announced on November 25, 2013. The awards recognize the leadership skills and innovative thinking of an elite group of students who are complementing their MBA education with a medical industry specialization.

Taking first place and a $2,000 award was Jennifer Hong. Janessa Nickell won second place with a $1,000 award, and third place and a $500 award went to Marissa Szody.

These students were among seven student finalists who competed by submitting leadership statements illustrating a high-value exposition of their experiential learning or real-world, firm-based project. Leadership statements detailed the student's contributions and accomplishments as well as insights gained for application in the medical industry. An external review committee determined the three winners.

Carl Platou, who passed away in 2012, was a visionary healthcare executive who was inducted into the Minnesota Business Hall of Fame in 2009. The competition, produced by MILI, evokes his vision and leadership in the medical industry.


BAHM Competition

Last April, the Harvard Business School hosted the 2013 Business School Alliance for Health Management (BAHM) student case competition, Entrepreneurship in Global Health. Ten teams worked for four months, focusing on "global health organizations or ideas to address an unmet health need, an underserved community, or the development of a novel technology." The Carlson School's team - Jennifer Cutshall, Hilary Johnson, and Marissa Szody - took home second-place honors.

Press officer Cara Sterling with the Harvard Business School writes, "Carlson's team focused on a cardiovascular device that can 'acoustically detect turbulence in a narrowing artery,' alerting a doctor to a possible blockage. The handheld device, developed by a biomedical engineer who lost her husband to a heart attack, can be easily used across the globe and could replace current diagnostic tools." The student team brought home bragging rights and a cash prize provided by BAHM.

Judges were selected from six business schools and included our own Stephen Parente. This year's competition will be held in April, and the HBS Healthcare Initiative is expected to reveal the details of the case soon.


6th Annual Medtronic Interdisciplinary Health Care Case Competition

In December, MILIsa hosted the sixth annual Medtronic Interdisciplinary Health Care Case Competition (MEDIHCC). The competition, in which students apply their skills to a real case challenge presented by a medical device industry leader, brings together students from various colleges at the University, including the School of Public Health, the Medical School, the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, the College of Science & Engineering, the College of Biological Sciences, and the Carlson School.

Medtronic, which sponsors the event, provides the case as well as generous cash prizes. Teams work for 36 hours to develop recommendations to help the company best formulate a strategy, then present their plans to industry judges and Medtronic representatives in two rounds. Round one took place at the Carlson School, and the top three teams presented in the second round at Medtronic.

Ryan Marthaler participated in this year's event and called it, "the highlight of my fall semester." He went on to say that "the case was complex and required a team to leverage knowledge in international strategy, marketing, finance, and regulatory affairs - a great introduction to the challenges faced every day by medical device companies." MILI graduate Dan Gilbertson, who has gone on to work in business development for competition sponsor Medtronic, remembers, "As a first-year MBA student at Carlson, competing in the case competition… provided me an opportunity to grapple with the global opportunities. From the Medtronic perspective, this competition serves as a unique platform to expose students to the company, receive input on ways to overcome a business challenge, and meet some of the best and brightest students from all areas of the University." Consider the competition one of the toughest, but most rewarding, job interviews out there.

MEDIHCC was developed by and is administered by MILIsa student leaders and Medtronic representatives.


Student Spotlight: Jennifer Hong

In this issue of the Pulse, there's a bit of an emerging theme: physicians looking to MILI to help bridge medicine, industry, and patients. Jennifer Hong, MD, has just finished her first two semesters as a MILI student, and she believes she's well on her way to becoming a leader in forging those connections.

"My primary objective in becoming a physician was to offer better care and access for low-income and indigent patient populations, but the disconnect between community resources and medical care became evident in my clinical years. I often felt that efforts in medicine lack to make a larger impact, since personal factors can limit a patient's ability to take care of his or her health. I want to assist the nonprofits that will provide non-health services to my patients and to ensure the sustainability of their missions," Hong explains.

Now, she says, she comes to class alongside a wide range of students, each bringing his or her own talents to the table. "Both within the MBA and MHA programs," Hong has found that her cohort shares an evolving "ability to overcome barriers and issues quickly, engage in high-quality discussion, and deliver meaningful conclusions." The fast-paced challenge of the Valuation Lab has, thus far, been her favorite course. "The client was a large corporation, and the fact that it found the evaluation valuable was meaningful - I like to see projects through to the next steps to understand its impact to the organization or key stakeholders. The fact that the MILI lab provided the opportunity to gain an initial insight into a company was unique," she says.

Hong tells us MILI has helped her develop her thinking in three ways: education, connections, and leadership experience. It's given her "exposure to the current health care climate, regulatory and reimbursement structures, and common barriers among health care nonprofits," supplementing her medical knowledge; access to alumni and experts; and a chance to share insights and build knowledge across her cohort. "My expectations have been exceeded," she reflects.


Course Spotlight: Introduction to Integrated Health Systems (PubH 6563)

An elective open to students from the Masters of Healthcare Administration, Masters in Public Health, and MBA students on the MILI track, Daniel Zismer's Introduction to Integrated Health Systems is interdisciplinary by design and hands-on out of necessity. That is, to understand the "design, operations, strategy, and physicians" involved in integrated health systems, today's students will become tomorrow's "engaged leaders" by getting their hands dirty and tackling a real, semester-long case.

"Fewer, larger health care systems are forming, and our students need to know the best practices if they are going to be leaders in the field," Zismer explains. He is the Chair and Director of the MHA and Executive Studies programs at the U of M's School of Public Health, and he's worked on the practice and policy side of health care administration, even being named one of the most influential health care leaders in Minnesota by Minnesota Physician.

The class itself is in its sixth year, and it's been a favorite with graduates, particularly those at the Executive MBA level. They report, even years later, that the course was very complex, but truly introduced students to the language and culture that are specific to integrated health care systems. Organized into a series of modules including topics like organizational design, financial management, and positioning in consolidated markets, the class asks students to apply each module in a team setting and bring the picture into focus over the course of the semester. They must work together, think and write critically, and present solutions for approaching a given problem in a specific context. In short, it's just like the real world, but with grades.


MILIsa Fall 2013 Update

By Marissa Szody ('14 MHA/MBA), MILIsa President

Planning for the 2013-14 academic year got underway last summer, as the newly elected MILIsa Board convened over the summer to define the board's collective goals, mission, vision, and strategic plan that will guide MILIsa's year. We are proud to announce our new mission: "Developing leaders to advance a global, connected medical industry." We hope that it embodies the value MILIsa provides to students, alumni, industry, and the broader university committee, and we will pursue our mission through programming focused on our development, education, networks, and community.

While we're on the topic of community, MILIsa added a new officer to the board, Vice President of Community Stewardship Janessa Nickell ('14 MBA). MILIsa felt it essential to formalize a commitment to service in both our structure and in our activities. In our first effort, a team of 10 MILIsa students and MILI Affiliate alumni volunteers contributed to packaging more than 5,300 meals at a November service event with Second Harvest Heartland. Stay tuned for additional opportunities to serve our community with MILIsa this spring!

In September, MILIsa held a kickoff meeting to welcome students across the University as MILIsa members. This meeting provided an introduction to our officers, programming for the fall semester, and a forum for great student feedback. MILIsa represents a diversity of programs from the Academic Health Center, Carlson School, Law School, Engineering, and Public Policy programs, so getting to know our student members and their interests within the medical industry is fascinating. The board has taken the feedback to our Professional Development and Industry Relations Committee for help in planning a stellar spring program.

In October, we hosted the annual Medtronic Interdisciplinary Healthcare Case Competition (MEDIHCC), with eight interdisciplinary student teams from across the University competing in a live, 48-hour marketing case competition for sponsor Medtronic. Three teams advanced to the final round held at Medtronic, and presented their recommendations. Each team had innovative, sound recommendations and rated the experience as nothing short of "awesome."

MILIsa student members and MILI Alumni Affiliates have also mixed and mingled at networking socials at Coopers' Pub and the Life Science Alley Conference in November and the Gopher vs. UNLV football game in September. The fall semester concluded with a visit to the Visible Heart Lab, a live electrophysiology research laboratory in December, site visits to Medtronic and Boston Scientific for first-year internship candidates, and the first of the new "Happenings in Healthcare" brown bag luncheon series to be held monthly by MILIsa Board members.

Focus on Faculty

Faculty Spotlight: Archelle Georgiou

Dr. Archelle Georgiou is the latest instructor to join MILI's faculty. Her path to the front of the classroom can be described either as incredibly straightforward: "I met Steve Parente several years ago and we connected over health and public policy issues - We didn't stop talking!" Or, and this is the more interesting way, we can look at the winding path Georgiou has taken in creating a truly unique career.

"By training, I am a physician who specialized in internal medicine," Georgiou starts out, as if this is, itself, a simple feat. She practiced medicine for five years before realizing, as she puts it, "two dynamics collided: my love of math and data and my intense disdain for the managed care industry." She decided to beat 'em by joining 'em. That is, she dove headfirst into managed care, where she felt she could use data to drive better decision-making. Having risen through the ranks at UnitedHealthcare, Georgiou went on to start her own consulting firm. Now her clients "come from outside the traditional healthcare industry," reflecting her "belief and bets" that the "biggest changes will come from outside the medical establishment."

A natural educator, Georgiou is emphatic about her love of skillful communication. Ever since taking an undergraduate course in the language of health behavior, she's had faith in the power of words and the importance of choosing the right ones. Whether it's talking to patients, clients, policy-makers, or students, Georgiou is careful to take her time and keep looking for the best way to make her point.

Soon, having been a Platou Award judge, a Valuation Lab client, and a guest lecturer, Georgiou will put her skills to use as the instructor for MILI's Anatomy and Physiology for Managers course. "The primary concept I hope students will remember throughout their careers is that healthcare devices, technologies, and services must all be designed to treat a patient, not a disease or an organ system." To her, MILI is the perfect place to get this message across: "MILI offers a chance for students to learn theory and application," preparing students to become "fresh, unbiased, smart thinkers" and "well-trained talent" who will become leaders in service and technology innovation.

When asked what direction she thinks MILI will head next, Georgiou brings it right back to communication: "I'd like to see MILI create a course on health care communication, strategic selling, and, well, 'the language of health behavior!'"

Alumni & Friends

Affiliate Spotlight: Amaza Reitmeier

MILI Affiliate Amaza Reitmeier knows the benefits of our program first-hand: when she looks back on her experience as a Part-Time MBA student at the Carlson School, one of her most, well, valuable experiences was in MILI's Valuation Lab. "I enrolled in the Valuation Lab at a time when my day job was evaluating early stage companies and technologies for possible investment or acquisition - in some cases, the technologies I was evaluating for class and work were practically identical" Reitmeier recalls.

Reitmeier has been with Medtronic for over a decade now, and she says that being an affiliate lets her be an ambassador for MILI within her company. "The med tech field has some unique considerations that require a different mindset and specialized training; MILI graduates have a head start when they join med tech companies" she says. That means MILI can become a good recruiting pool for her team, while her interactions as an affiliate let her give back to the program that's changed her career trajectory.

"I am most proud of the work that we did when I was an affiliate a few years ago, initiating and securing Medtronic funding for the Interdisciplinary Case Competition, which gives talented students exposure to a critical business challenge we're facing and gives our company's leadership exposure to talented Carlson students," Reitmeier says. "I face challenges exactly like the ones we present to the student competitors, and I work with colleagues from finance, technology, regulatory, and health economics to solve those problems. The competition really does mimic the work we do day-to-day - tight deadlines and all!" She also appreciates the chance to expand her horizons as a MILI affiliate: "I've had the benefit of many wonderful mentors who provide invaluable wisdom when I meet options and opportunities. I am always delighted to meet with MILI affiliates - my door is always open!"

Having had such good experiences as a student at the Carlson School and now as a close partner with MILI, Reitmeier says she loves working in the medical industry. "I never dreamed that I would find myself in such a satisfying field. I regularly meet people who have benefitted from our therapies, and there's nothing more motivating. I am often moved by tears - and that's why we do what we do" she says.

Reitmeier went on to cite one particularly memorable experience in her time at Medtronic: the first time she saw a deep brain stimulation implant. "I was in the operating theatre at St. Andrew's War Memorial Hospital in Brisbane, Australia, with an amazing, passionate team. There is a portion of the procedure where the patient is awake and a series of tests are performed. I could see, firsthand, the benefit of the therapy; the patient responded as his tremors slowed, then stopped. The next day, I received a video of the patient doing jumping jacks in the hallway - the day before he could barely walk without assistance. The pinnacle came when neurologist Peter Silburn sent me a letter from the patient's wife, thanking him for 'giving her children their father back.'" Summing up, she marvels, "I can't imagine a more satisfying way to spend a career than contributing to moments like this."


MILI Affiliate Executive Board Update

Stephen Dunning

Since our spring 2013 update, the Affiliate Board has met regularly to plan a regular set of networking opportunities to develop and maintain medical-industry relationships and dig in to current issues. Events have included a roundtable discussion on the Medical Device Tax, Gopher Football tailgating, happy hours, and a meet-up at the recent Life Science Alley Conference, as well as other special LSA perks exclusive to MILI Affiliates.

Affiliate events are offered every month, so be on the look-out for your next opportunity to engage! We want to be sure you are learning about these great opportunities. To do so, we will soon contact all affiliates to review and confirm their contact information. Not yet an affiliate? Become one!

Institute Affiliates are members of the medical industry community interested in engaging with MILI and supporting student development through guest speaking, mentoring, and more. By becoming a MILI Affiliate, you gain ongoing access to perks such as the school's faculty research, lifelong learning programs, students passionate about the medical industry, and opportunities to network with other industry leaders.

You can find the Affiliate application online at For more information or to make a suggestion, please email the Board at


Become an Affiliate

Institute Affiliates are members of the medical industry community interested in engaging with MILI. By becoming an MILI Affiliate, members gain ongoing access to the school's faculty research, lifelong learning programs, students interested in the industry, and opportunities to network with industry leaders. In return for their volunteer service, Affiliates have access to:

  • Cases from student experiential learning projects and work site innovations
  • Medical industry data resources
  • Affiliate member directory
  • Networking opportunities
  • Discount on medical industry Carlson School Executive Education courses
  • Opportunity to visit a MILI class session
  • Subscription to The Morning Consult, emails focused on current news, op-ed, and academic articles
  • An Invitation to the Medical Industry Valuation Laboratory open house to see public disclosures of new innovations

You can find the Affiliate application online at For more information or to make a suggestion regarding the kind of events you would like the Affiliate Board to focus their efforts on, please email the Board at


The Medical Industry Leadership Institute is funded by the generous support of the National Industry Council, Valuation Lab partners, alumni, and friends. Through community support, MILI is able to offer unparalleled classroom experiences and industry-impacting events. To make a tax-deductible gift to MILI's Program Support Fund (#5295), please visit

If you would prefer to support a specific program, please select a fund number below and contact Cortney Carlson at

  • Research Support Fund (#3609): General research expenses. Contributions provide funds to further MILI's research portfolio which includes seminars, publications, and research data.
  • MILI Discovery Fund (#6087): Support experiential learning of the Medical Industry Valuation Laboratory course. Contributions provide funds for initiatives and educational experiences that facilitate market valuations of new innovations for the medical industry and enhance the potential to bring new technologies to market.
  • Carl N. Platou Leadership Competition Fund (#6357): Contributions support the scholarships awarded to the winners of the Carl N. Platou Leadership Competition, where students are recognized for their skills in leadership traits and innovative thinking, as displayed by an elite group of students in the spirit of Carl N. Platou.

Donors will receive stewardship gifts based on giving levels.

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