Over 150 alumni and students gathered at the Columbia Club for the kick-off of the CBS Healthcare Alumni Initiative on February 20. Featured as part of the Industry Networking Series, the event engaged CBS alumni from all segments of the healthcare industry.
According to Professor Cliff Cramer, director of the healthcare and pharmaceutical management program, this initiative is designed to “leverage the aggregate strength of the Columbia Business School community involved in the healthcare sector, to promote business, social and intellectual growth among its participants.”
CBS Board members Russ Carson ’67, co-founder and general partner of Welsh Carson Anderson & Stowe, and Dan Cain ’72, founding partner and CEO of Cain Brothers, delivered the evening’s opening remarks. Drawing from over 30 years experience as investors and advisors to the sector, they addressed the challenges and opportunities facing the healthcare industry.
Cramer then profiled the Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Management Program, discussing the program’s expanded course offerings and career services goals. “There is tremendous excitement among current and incoming students… [the program] provides students with unique knowledge and insight to position them to play important roles in this sector,” he said.
He described some of the initiative’s objectives, which will include:
•Organizing events in various locations to keep alumni abreast of the latest developments in the healthcare industry and to provide learning and networking opportunities.
•Developing an enhanced database of information on CBS alumni in the healthcare industry to facilitate alumni communication.
•Functioning as a resource for current MBA and EMBA students interested in careers in healthcare-related fields, as well as for faculty members conducting research in this sector.
After the opening remarks, a panel discussed challenges facing the global pharmaceutical industry. Featured on the panel, titled “Facing the Cliff in 2010-2012: What Big Pharma Needs to Do Now!” were CBS alumni Kristin Peck ’99, VP worldwide strategic planning for Pfizer; Carole Kahrs ’83, VP worldwide oncology for Johnson & Johnson; and Ken Hitchner ’92, partner and head of healthcare investment banking at Goldman Sachs.
A networking reception concluded the event, which was hosted by Alumni Relations, the Healthcare Industry Association, the Career Management Center, and the Office of Student Life. Pfizer was the event’s corporate sponsor.