How to Get Hired in Healthcare with Your MBA

How to Get Hired in Healthcare with Your MBA main image

A career in the healthcare industry is both professionally and personally rewarding, with workers able to make a positive impact on society and enjoy well-paid jobs and career advancement.

Now is also a time of great challenges and opportunities in the global healthcare industry. Aging populations are placing a strain on systems and digital technology is reshaping how care is delivered. 

If that piqued your interest, one of the top MBA recruiters on your list should be Cigna, the US health insurer; the company has increased the number of MBAs it’s hired in each of the last three years. “The opportunities are vast,” says Daniel Robinson, medical economics manager at the company, who hires MBAs from several US schools.

It’s not easy to get hired though, with several rounds of interviews awaiting Cigna job candidates. A 10-week internship is also usually required, during which you must solve a specific business problem and present a solution to senior Cigna leaders.

We asked Robinson for his top inside tips on how to stand out in the interview process and get hired.

Why does Cigna hire MBAs?

We believe they have the combination of financial acumen, communication and interpersonal skills, and strategic big picture thinking to be able to push our business forward in an increasingly changing environment.

Can you provide an overview of the MBA recruitment process?

We divide our time between eight target schools, several diversity MBA conferences, and online applications to the Cigna website. We travel to the target schools several times to meet with students and explain why Cigna would be a great place to work. We then return to campus to interview selected applicants that applied.

We also travel to diversity conferences to interview applicants and interview applicants remotely. People who excel in this first round interview are then brought together at our corporate office for an all-day event that includes interviews with several senior leaders and a group case study. We then select our finalists and send them offers.

Do you have an MBA internship program? How does it work?

Yes, the interns are selected from the above process for a 10-week internship at our corporate office. We discuss with them before the start of the internship what skills or part of the business they are interested in and try to match them to the appropriate manager.

They are given a 10-week project to solve a specific problem related to that part of the business. They then have to give a final presentation in front of senior leaders to discuss their results. We expect to hire all of our high performing interns for full-time work.

Why do you think MBAs want to work for Cigna?

We’re a mission-driven company that wants to improve healthcare around the world. We also offer challenging work and the potential for support, growth and career advancement.

What are some common job roles for MBAs?

Business analysts working in marketing, strategy, operations, finance or other fields. Management roles [are available] across the company in similar departments. The opportunities are vast, and there’s a high amount of flexibility and variety in roles, titles, and locations.

What do you look for in MBA candidates?

People skills, communication skills, [the] ability to work in teams [and] to handle ambiguity, [as well as] drive and initiative, big picture thinking [and] the ability to execute, [and] desire to become a future leader within the company.

What are MBA candidates looking for from you?

Challenging work, [the] ability to grow, training, opportunities for advancement, [a] good work environment, investment in their leadership potential, [and] ability to make an impact.

Has the number of MBA hires gone up or down over the past year?

Our MBA hiring has increased over the last three years, spiking last year, with a slight reduction expected for 2018.

How can MBAs make a good impression?

Be articulate, interested in the company and its mission, [and] be passionate about healthcare and making a difference. Have a clear story about [your] career and how it led [you] to want to work at Cigna.

How can MBAs make a bad impression?

[If they are] not interested in or knowledgeable about the company, have poor people skills, [or] seem uncertain about what they want or where they’re going.

What are some common misconceptions that MBAs might have about Cigna and the healthcare industry? 

The healthcare industry is changing rapidly. People are often surprised [by] how passionate we are about improving our customers’ health and the new, innovative, high tech ways we help improve their lives. They are surprised that our company’s incentives are 100 percent aligned with the customers’ desire to live a healthy life, with access to affordable care.

As the “payor” of medical expenses, we have the power to adjust policies and outcomes within the healthcare ecosystem to better align with and fulfil the customer’s needs.

Seb Murray
Written by Seb Murray

Seb is a journalist and consulting editor who has developed a successful track record writing about business, education and technology for the international press.

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