Group shot of the full HE.I team from left to right: Ekelemnna Obiejesie, Safa Al-musawi, Sarah Khavandi, Joyce Omatseye, Rachel Lee, Felicite Mukeshimana, Lamide Akinwuntan
As external intercalating undergraduate students when we first started the year, we both knew that we wanted to leave Imperial College Business School having done more than just an Intercalated BSc programme. So we hosted a conference at the Business School called Delivering Healthcare in the 21st Century: Innovation, Entrepreneurship and the NHS.
Having already each spent five years studying medicine, we both knew and appreciated that this opportunity to study our Intercalated BSc – Management pathway at the Business School was not one to be wasted. Our joint vision meant we put our minds together to achieve just that.
The research project we were allocated was titled ‘Should entrepreneurship be encouraged from within the NHS own ranks’. From the very first meeting, we knew that we wanted to go above and beyond and suggested hosting a conference to the rest of the group.
Although there was apprehension at first, we were confident the Business School would support us as student ambassadors to host an event and help put the intercalated course on the healthcare map. As student ambassadors, our role is to represent, raise awareness and positively contribute to the Business School ecosystem and we were determined to do this via our conference.
We both have experience in leadership roles in many societies and enjoy organising student-led conferences. We started planning the conference in January. This process involved working closely with the student experience team at the Business School, contacting speakers, setting up promotional pages on social media and liaising with students from different universities. Before we knew it we had set up a group called Health Entrepreneurship Imperial Group (HE.I) with our six fellow final group project team members.
Our event Delivering Healthcare 21st Century: Innovation, Entrepreneurship and the NHS sold out. It was a one-day event about delivering healthcare in the 21st century. With Imperial being at the forefront of technology, science and medicine in the UK, it is important for the conversation to start here.
As a historically pioneering institute, what are we doing to match the pace of other industries and individuals who are progressing rapidly into the 21st century?
As we are both medical students this line of thought led us to beg this question: after all is it not our duty to make sure that the healthcare of our patients is in safe hands? Do we not vow to ‘first, do no harm’?
Our aim was to get bright minds from a variety of disciplines in the room who are interested in and want an open and unbiased discussion about the benefits and drawbacks of encouraging entrepreneurship in the NHS. We had speakers from across the board including policymakers from the NHS, VC investors, consultants, founders and many others from the field.
They were all animated and our delegates really enjoyed the panel discussion which gave them a variety of perspectives (including some conflicting!). We were pleased that Dr Harpreet Sood and Dr Melek Somai who are both our lecturers were happy to support us and gave up their Saturday to speak at the conference.
After the first panel, we had our workshops, one which was run by Imperial’s very own Imperial Enterprise Lab. Then it was lunchtime and networking. For the second panel of the day, we invited current entrepreneurs in healthcare from organisations including HS., Medicalchain and Medic Footprints, so we could give our delegates real-life cases and deeper insight into their journeys.
Key takeaway messages from the conference:
- There is room and need for open discussion about moving forward in healthcare
- Multidisciplinary collaboration is key – healthcare is not just about medics and if you’re interested you should get involved!
- Networking is incredibly valuable
Entrepreneurship is a challenge, especially in the healthcare industry where patients should be at the centre of what you do. But as all the entrepreneurs mentioned on the day: work tirelessly, put in the hours, pivot when necessary and do not be shy about reaching out for help!
Studying BSc Management has broadened our perspectives on the benefits of applying business and management within medicine. As future healthcare practitioners, we have gained skills and knowledge that we realise can be applied at many different levels within the healthcare industry and beyond.
This conference and the HE.I Group we have set up at Imperial is an embodiment of what we’ve gained this year and we hope many students can benefit from it in the future.
More on what we study on the Intercalated BSc
The Intercalated BSc – Management pathway, is a programme that allows internal and external medical students to work and study alongside fellow undergraduate students studying across other disciplines, which in itself is a refreshing experience. We believe the Business School does a wonderful job of practising what they preach. As our teaching reflects: healthcare problems cannot be solved in silos.
Modules we cover include health economics, managing healthcare organizations, health informatics, as well as the pure business modules such as business strategy, entrepreneurship, marketing and sustainable business.
This combination gives us a unique perspective, and at the end of the year we submit a final group project – an amalgamation of everything that we have learnt applied to our research question related to healthcare.
Our Intercalated BSc programme is available to 3rd or 4th year medical students from Imperial College London or other institutions. As a medical student, you can opt for the management pathway as part of your BSc modular degree.
With a specific focus on healthcare, the idea of the programme is to complement your scientific and clinical skills with business acumen