Winning Approaches: Kellogg Biotech & Healthcare Case Competition

Winning at Kellogg: Eric Fishcer, Emily Mou, David Kagan, Jennifer Wong, Champ

Winning at Kellogg: Eric Fischer, Emily Mou, David Kagan, Jennifer Wong, Champ Suthipongchai

The competition: Kellogg Biotech & Healthcare Case Competition, Jan. 25

The outcome:
Haas placed first

The team: David Kagan, MBA/MPH 15; Jennifer Wong, M. Engin. 15; Champ Suthipongchai, MBA 15; and Eric Fischer and Emily Mou, both MPH 15.

The Field: A total of 32 teams applied, from which 11 were selected to compete. They represented four countries and nine schools, including Cambridge, University of Chicago Booth, Rutgers, and Mexico’s IPADE Business School.

The challenge: Teams were tasked with determining how to allocate funding to reduce childhood mortality from pneumonia in developing countries, particularly Uganda.

The winning approach: “We took the classic design-thinking innovation approach, which allowed us to focus on what the patient experience was like, to be able to really craft solutions that worked within the context of a third-world culture,” says Kagan. “The idea of design thinking is that you spend most of your time trying to understand who your customer is and what their needs are. In this case, we labeled five major points in a mother’s journey for trying to take care of a sick child. Our plan was about trying to create mobile medical clinics and empowering villages with trained health care providers to improve local access to health care.”

What made them winners: Judges lauded the Haas team’s insight into the patient experience and innovative approach to economic sustainability via micro-financing.

The H factor: “Haas really teaches you how to think outside the box,” said Kagan. “If you break down a problem through the eyes of a customer and not through the eyes of yourself, you can generate a much more creative solution to help that customer.” (This is the third time a team from Haas won the competition; Haas teams also won in 2007 and 2013.)

Why it matters: Pneumonia is the leading case of childhood mortality worldwide, killing an estimated 1.1 million children under the age of five every year—more than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined.

Berkeley MBA Team Wins Competition, Creates Case

entrepreneurship in global health 3

Case winners: Priya Mehta, Annie Murphy, and Katrin Cox

Travelers may bestow whimsical names upon the affliction, but diarrhea-related complications kill more than a million children a year worldwide. A Berkeley MBA team shedding light on a possible solution won a recent competition and created a new teaching tool in the process.

Katrin Cox and Annie Murphy, both MBA/MPH 14, and Priya Mehta, MBA 14, won the annual Business School Alliance for Health Management Competition, this year hosted by Harvard and focusing on entrepreneurship in global health.

“The competition was different in that we wrote and presented a case, rather than ‘solving’ one,” says Murphy. The teams were challenged to write a paper and make a final presentation profiling a company uniquely tackling a global health issue. Haas placed first, followed by Carlson and Wharton.

The Haas team found a solution in Napo Pharmaceuticals, a small Bay Area biotech company that focuses on discovering new drugs derived from plants and adapting tropical indigenous knowledge to modern technology. Cox, Murphy, and Mehta interviewed senior leadership at Napo, whose first commercial drug recently received FDA approval for the treatment of chronic diarrhea in adults with HIV/AIDS, but has the potential to treat many kinds of diarrhea in both adults and children.

Judges encouraged the team to convert their paper into a case study, which they are working on, with the help of California Management Review Managing Editor Kora Cypress. Faculty members Whitney Hischier and Kristi Raube also helped the team strengthen its presentation and expand its knowledge of the industry.

Haas Innovations Shine in Big Ideas @ Berkeley

From left to right: Judge Andrik Cardenas of the Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership; Haas Undergrads and Cashify team members Justin Chu, Shuonan Chen, and Virginia Chung; Team Mentor David Williams, assistant director, UCB's Financial Aid and Scholarships Office; and Judge Andrew Rudd, chair of the Rudd Family Foundation.

Grand Prize Winners, Cashify

A team of Haas Undergraduates won the Big Ideas @ Berkeley grand prize and two other Haas teams took first place in their categories, all emerging from an original field of 160 teams and 550 students across 75 majors and 5 UC campuses.

Cashify, a team made up Shuonan Chen, Justin Chu, both BS 13, and Virgina Chung, BS 12, took home $7,500 for winning the Financial Literacy category and $5,000 in grand prize money for their plans to develop an online “edu-tainment” platform designed to teach new students about finances.

As part of the Cashify curriculum, users will complete tasks for points that can be put toward purchases, such as campus supplies or event tickets. “We’ve all seen fellow students really struggle with their finances,” said Chu. “Our goal is to reach as many minds as possible and make learning about personal finances accessible, fun and useful.” (Read more about Cashify in this post on the Undergraduate Student Blog.)


Emmunify, First Prize in Maternal & Child Health category

Emmunify, a team made up of MBA students Sanat Kamal Bahl, Anandamoy Sen, and Erik Krogh-Jespersen, all second-year students in the Evening & Weekend MBA Program, and members from the Schools of Information and Public Health, won first place in the Maternal & Child Health category and took second in the grand prize competition. Their venture simplifies the immunization process for villagers and health workers in rural India through SMS text and voice messaging technology and has the potential to decrease the number of preventable child deaths. (Read about this team’s win in the UC Berkeley Digital Health Hackathon.)

AMASS Media, with Haas team members John Chang, Clayton Yan, and Hannah Yang, all BS 12, and Carolyn Kao, BS 14,  won in the Creative Expression for Social Justice category. AMASS will connect nonprofits with amateur and early-career videographers seeking to build portfolios to create a way for both to advance their agendas and bring greater public awareness to social justice issues.

Now in its sixth year, Big Ideas @ Berkeley aims to encourage student engagement with the world, helping them develop innovative projects with the potential to solve pressing societal problems in communities at home and abroad. The competition is made possible through the generous support of key donors, including the Andrew and Virginia Rudd Family Foundation.

Cashify photo L. to R.: Judge Andrik Cardenas, Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership; Haas Undergrads and Cashify team members Justin Chu, Shuonan Chen, and Virginia Chung; Team Mentor David Williams, UCB’s Financial Aid and Scholarships Office; and Judge Andrew Rudd, chair of the Rudd Family Foundation.

Emmunify photo: Emmunify’s Berkeley MBA students are Sanat Kamal Bahl (far l.), Anandamoy Sen (3rd from r.), and Erik Krogh-Jespersen (far r.), all MBA 14. They are pictured with their Public Health partners Jessica Watterson, Professor Julia Walsh, and Emily Murphy.

Five Things: Business of Healthcare Conference

Conference Co-Chairs Tara English and Darya Rose with Steve Burrill

Conference Co-Chairs Tara English and Darya Rose with Steve Burrill

Each year, more than 1,000 students, academics, and industry professionals build knowledge and expand networks at conferences organized entirely by Berkeley MBA students. This series will take a look at recent conferences, starting with the Business of Healthcare:

1. In charge: Co-chairs Tara English, Darya Rose, both MBA 13.

2. In attendance: A mix of about 30 percent students, 50 percent professionals, and 20 percent academics/other. People from more than 120 different organizations come, split evenly between small companies and large ones that include Kaiser, Genentech, and UCSF.

3. Questions: How are companies helping consumers manage complex healthcare decisions? How are organizations changing business models to adapt to increasing consumer choice? And who will consumers ultimately choose to meet their healthcare needs?

4. Answers: Keynote speakers Steve Burrill, CEO of the life sciences financial services firm Burrill & Co.,and  Ken Shachmut, EVP  & CFO of Safeway Health, a company founded upon the supermarket chain’s experience in controlling healthcare costs, were joined by attendees, and a host of experts in tackling healthcare’s big questions.

5. Food for Thought: 85% of people who look at their genetics with @23andMe (a personal genomics co.) choose to share their data. An Assumption that people cling to privacy is wrong.

Winning Approaches: Understanding Both Patient and Physician Pain Points

Second Place in Emory Healthcare Competition: Felice Espiritu, Christine Chu, Alana Tucker, and Alex Leung.

Second Place in Emory’s Leadership in Healthcare Case Competition: Felice Espiritu, Christine Chu, Alana Tucker, and Alex Leung.

The competition: Emory Leadership in Healthcare Case Competition at Goizueta Business School, Feb. 15.

The outcome: Second place.

The team: Alex Leung, MBA 15 in the Evening & Weekend MBA Program, and Christine Chu, Felice Espiritu, and Alana Tucker, all MBA/MPH 14.

The field: Included Emory, Vanderbilt, and USC, with Vanderbilt coming in first.

The challenge: Provide a recommendation on whether to implement a Computerized Provider Order Entry (CPOE) system at a hospital in the Emory Healthcare system (CPOE provides for electronic entry of physician instructions for patient care). In the final round, the top three teams presented their recommendation and strategic plan to hospital physicians to gain buy-in for CPOE implementation.

A winning approach: “We addressed the impact of a CPOE on both patient care and physician workflows,” says Tucker. “Physician resistance appeared to be the biggest hurdle, so we conducted root cause analysis to understand underlying concerns and developed corresponding recommendations.” The team’s ideas included providing on-the job training rather than classroom training to save physician time and engaging peer champions to promote adoption. In Round 2, Berkeley-Haas was the only team to create an entirely new presentation in the hour allotted. “We completely tailored our tone, presentation format, and content to physicians rather than hospital administrators,” says Tucker.

A winner because:  Judges hailed the team for understanding the pain points for both patient and physician and the resulting opportunities for a CPOE to improve their experiences. They also called out the team’s grasp of current healthcare regulations.

The H factor: “Not only were we able to bring our own work experience to the case, but we also tapped into the work experiences of our classmates,” says Tucker. “These included a physician who had practiced in the UK’s National Health Service and a former employee of a leading electronic health record software company.” Tucker also notes that Haas Healthcare Association activities, such as career treks, enabled their team of like-minded people to find each other from across programs.


Winning Approaches: First AND Third Place, Kellogg Biotech & Healthcare Case Competition

Kellogg biotech first place team

First place winners Yelena Bushman, MBA 13, Kristian Lau, MBA/MPH 13, Ken Su, MBA/MPH 13, Brian Feth, MBA 13, Ji-Hong Boo MBA/MPH 13

The competition: Kellogg Biotech & Healthcare Case Competition, held on Jan. 26.

The outcome: Haas teams placed first and third.

The teams: First place: Yelena Bushman, MBA 13, of the Evening & Weekend MBA Program; full-time MBA students Ji-Hong Boo, Kristian Lau, and Ken Su, all MBA/MPH 13; and Brian Feth, MBA 13. Third place: In third place were Nick Mascioli and Darya Rose, both MBA 13; Anthony Baldor and Chris Burke, both MBA 14; and Alana Tucker, MBA/MPH 14.

The Field: A total of 38 teams applied, from which 10 teams were selected to compete: two teams each from Haas, Booth, and Kellogg, plus teams from Harvard and Cambridge.

The challenge: “We were asked by a large pharma to value the lead drug in development at a smaller biotech acquisition target,” says Brian Feth. “The drug was in development for obesity and had a number of risks that made the valuation not straight-forward. ”

The winning approaches: Team Goldenbear Biosciences, which placed first, built a bottoms-up valuation model based on narrowing the potential patient population to an addressable market and ultimately to revenues. “Given the short timeline, and the nature of the deliverable (powerpoint presentation), we realized that the ability to communicate the process clearly would be far more important than getting every detail of the model perfect,” says Feth. “We spent the early part of the week preparing and reviewing the model together, and the latter half of the week building the story and populating slides. We did make sure to sense check assumptions and try and triangulate various assumptions against each other. It was clear that some teams had not done this by the unrealistic valuations they presented.”

What made them winners: “We were told by the judges that we had the best overall mix of logical valuation methodology, communication style, strategy, and patient understanding,” says Feth. “One judge told me that we built the model and told the story in exactly the same way that they would at Abbott/AbbVie.

The H factor: “Confidence without attitude helped us to present our findings and answer questions candidly and with confidence, as we would with a client or management,” says Feth. We were noted for discussing the “patient journey” which is something that has roots in the course Problem Finding Problem Solving, as well as being discussed regularly in pharma companies as a key element of their customer focus. Tucker says skills from PFPS and Leadership Communication also played a role in the third-place team’s strong showing and in their ability to put together a succinct and compelling story. “Most importantly,” she says, “we worked well as a team to test one another’s assumptions and come to consensus, which Haas emphasizes throughout the curriculum.”

Why it matters: “The increasing rates of obesity in the US are driving much of the increasing healthcare costs – obesity is one of the huge problems facing our generation that will require path-bending leaders to solve.,” says Feth.

A Weekend in the Life of a Part-time MBA Student: From Health Hackathon to Tough Mudder


This past Saturday and Sunday were a productive 48 hours for Erik Krogh-Jespersen, a student in the Evening & Weekend MBA Program. On Saturday, he was part of the team that won the UC Berkeley Digital Health Hackathon, with a way to track child immunizations in rural India. On Sunday, he was one of eight evening and weekend MBA students completing the Tough Mudder. Get the dirt on Tough Mudder in this Haas Achieves post and read on to learn about the winning Health Hackathon team.

Krogh-Jespersen teamed with Sanat Kamal Bahl and Anandamoy Sen, both MBA 14, and with software programmers Shinto Manuel and Jeremy Rahe, Public Health Adjunct Professor Julia Walsh, and mechanical engineering student Srihari Yamanoor to win the 24-hour competition, which challenged students to “build apps that change lives.” The event, held at Skydeck, is co-hosted by the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship, the Haas Entrepreneurs Association, and UC Berkeley’s CITRIS.

…preceded by Saturday strategizing at the Hackathon–Krogh Jespersen with Julia Walsh

It began with a 60-second elevator pitch on Friday evening to attract teammates. In this case, Bahl, Krogh-Jespersen, and Sen made the pitch and Manuel, Rahe, Walsh, and Yamanoor signed on. The team then worked through most of Friday night and most of Saturday, coding, designing and building—to make a 6:00 p.m. Saturday pitch to judges.

Team Immutrac proposed a way to track child immunizations in rural India using only a feature phone (aka a “dumb” phone) on the side of the rural villagers and a smart phone on the side of the Healthcare providers.  A readable/writable device would allow a villager to keep electronic medical records for her child on her phone, to receive text message reminders about the upcoming need for a shot, and to have the record updated with each visit.

Anandamoy Sen makes the pitch

“We were targeting the over 160,000 child deaths that occur from vaccine preventable diseases in India with an extremely cheap solution that could function without power cords or internet connections,” says Krogh-Jespersen. He credits the diversity of the team for making the event “so amazing.” A chemistry team leader with Nanosyn, Krogh-Jespersen says, “You can imagine that  as an organic chemist, I have no clue what technology solutions are possible, but both Haas and this event bring these people together–and big things happen.”

The winning Haas Hackathon team, top row, l. to r.: Erik Krogh-Jespersen, MBA 14, Shinto Manuel, Julia Walsh, Jeremy Rahe; bottom row, l. to r.: Sanat Kamal Bahl, MBA 14, Srihari Yamanoor, Anandamoy Sen, MBA 14

Haas Achieves: A Video Year-in-Review

Congratulations to the full-time MBA classes of 2012 and 2013. In just one year you have accomplished an extraordinary amount, from organizing conferences and international treks to winning case competitions. We are so proud of all you achieve at Haas–and have captured what we could (i.e. some, certainly not all!) in this Haas Achieves video. We know you have many achievements yet to come and wish you the best.

Video produced by Tritone Media

Everything I Need to Know, I Learned in IBD

Students Cull Life Lessons from International Consulting Course

Members of the full-time MBA class of 2012 are just back from three weeks spent on international consulting projects across the globe. The students were part of International Business Development (IBD), one of the courses fulfilling the experiential learning requirement of the Berkeley-Haas Innovative Leader Curriculum. This year a record 26 teams took on projects, from improving the sustainability of a school feeding program in Ghana to working on an expansion plan for a New Zealand Bio-IT startup, and expanding vocational training opportunities in a Cambodian coastal village. You can read their adventures in full on the Haas in the World blog, but here is just some of what they learned:

Reality Differs from Rankings, Republic of Congo
A team assisting the Wildlife Conservation Society in growing ecotourism at Nouabalé Ndoki National Park in the Republic of Congo has traveled by dugout canoe and been charged by a gorilla and swarmed by ants. While the consulting project has “been a great opportunity to apply lessons from Strategy, Marketing, Accounting, and Problem Finding Problem Solving,” blogged one student, “I have gained just as many insights about operating in a developing country. Seeing a country’s corruption ranking from Transparency International in class doesn’t always prepare you to pay bribes before you even leave the airport.”

Technology has Boundless Reach, Ghana
A team working in Ghana had extensive contact with farmers and has “witnessed the poor life conditions of some of the farmers we are trying to help,” blogged one team member. “Farmers who live in a shack in the middle of a farm. A shack with no electricity, no water, and no sewage system. A shack with 30 minutes walk to the closest street. But then I also witnessed the reach of technology—these very same farmers somehow owning and using cell phones.”

On the Ground Means in the Know, Ecuador
Like all IBD teams, a team on a health care project in Ecuador spent months on research ahead of landing in their destination. “We started our field work in Quito, where we interviewed government officials, public health experts, and doctors…” wrote one blogger. “With each successive interview, we had a step-change increase in our understanding of the health care landscape and our client’s situation. We realized that the organization was not at all ready for the sexy technology-based health care models we had spent months researching. What they needed were the basics: Better equipment, resources, curriculum, and communication processes. We decided to scrap the research we’d done and start from scratch, using what we had seen, heard, and learned on the ground as a basis for our recommendations.”

Haas is Global, China
A Beijing stop for one team included a mixer held by the Haas Alumni Association at a restaurant and bar in Sanlitun. The event also included the School’s Mayfield Fellows and some new admits. This, blogged one teammate, “served as a warm reminder that Haas is truly all over the world.”

Soccer Unites, South Africa
On a drive to visit Orange Farm (One of South Africa’s largest and poorest informal settlements), one IBD student described the view as bleak: “We saw hordes of kids walking in the highway, trying to jump into pick-ups to save walking kilometers to their homes through a semi-desert, and improvised stalls…selling food covered in dirt.” But it was in Orange Farm that this student found a teenager who could name the three key players from the student’s beloved Bilbao soccer team, “Something that nobody from outside Spain, even in Haas had ever done in my life!!!”

New Zealand

From Madagascar to Ghana to New Zealand (top to bottom) Who makes you proud to be Berkeley-Haas? Tell us in the comments below or share your stories with

Forecasting Pharma

Part-time, Full-time MBA Students Team up to Take Second in Biotech Challenge

Berkeley MBA students Huzefa Neemuchwala, Avi Roop, Rachel Sherman, Sameera Chilakapati, and Rajat Rajgarhia

Impressive analytical thinking led a Berkeley MBA team to claim second place in the Kellogg Biotech and Healthcare Case Competition on Jan. 22. Evening and weekend students Huzefa Neemuchwala and Avi Roop, both MBA 13, and Rajat Rajgarhia, MBA 12, combined forces with full-time students Sameera Chilakapati and Rachel Sherman, both MBA 12, to best 10 other teams from U.S. and international business schools.

“We scored the highest of any team on analytical thinking,” says Neemuchwala. The competition challenged students to develop a 2015 revenue forecast for a new Amgen drug. “The Abbott judges also scored us high on our research and initiative and commended us for benchmarking our estimates,” says Neemuchwala.

Members of Team “Bear Cross Bear Shield” connected through the Haas Healthcare Association, with each bringing four to 14 years of experience in health care consulting, R&D, sales, and regulatory affairs to the effort.

Who makes you proud to be Berkeley-Haas? Tell us in the comments below or share your stories with