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Bentley on Bloomberg: Finding the Proper Dose of Skills for Success in the Health Care Industry
With a new presidential administration taking over in a matter of weeks, people are frantically wondering what will become of their care, medicines, bills and more. Regardless of the changes in Washington, one thing is certain to remain constant: health and biosciences industries will continue to grow.
According to a 2016 report from the Biotechnology Innovation Organization and TEConomy Partners examining the economic value of bioscience innovation, U.S. bioscience firms employ 1.66 million people. Not only are job openings in this sector increasing, but wages of those employed in the industry are higher on average than those in the private sector, growing at a rate of 19%.
With job opportunities continuing to expand, it is up to colleges and universities to prepare the next generation of graduates for successful careers in this innovative industry.
Bentley President Gloria Larson joined Bloomberg Radio’s Carol Massar and Cory Johnson, along with guest experts, to discuss how universities are blending business and science studies for the most effective undergraduate curriculum and how students can take advantage of these opportunities.
Business and healthcare rely on the same framework
The business of healthcare makes up 17% of all economic activity in the United States. While it is well known that business practices should be efficient, put customers front and center, and provide value, universities need to explain to their students that STEM industry relies on the same framework. The health care industry needs not only doctors and nurses, scientists and technicians, but also IT specialists and analysts, accountants and investors, HR specialists and managers. Some of the most important advances in healthcare today are coming from the application of advanced management practices.
Universities must educate students on STEM careers
It is extremely important that college students understand the importance of this sector and how it will offer more opportunities and promise in the future. With this in mind, it is important to encourage students to take part in STEM subjects and show them how the sciences and business relate. If these two sectors can be integrated with technology, problem solving, and an understanding of ethics and social responsibility, students can leave college well prepared for a job in the healthcare industry.
Take advantage of opportunities for interdisciplinary study
I chose to attend Bentley because I could integrate both business and science into my education through the Health and Industry Liberal Studies Major that I paired with a business major (Corporate Finance and Accounting). Instead of learning about business and healthcare separately, my entire education has been focused on how the two interact. This integrated approach has been aided through course offerings such as the economics of health care but also through my professors who have worked in the industry and bring real world examples into the classroom. To students who are going through the college selection process, I would recommend finding schools that don’t just offer the prospect of a double major, but actually integrate the areas of student in trans-disciplinary ways. As I applied to internships and jobs, what set me apart from my peers at other schools was that I not only understood business, but could apply my business lens to what people might consider a “non-business field” like health care.
- Stephanie Hall ‘17, Corporate Finance and Accounting and Health and Industry double major, Bentley University
Soft skills are essential for achieving success
Biopharma is an incredibly diverse and ever-evolving ecosystem, which means skills and techniques change at an ever-increasing pace. Outside of occupational skill requests, which MassBio/MassBioEd details in their reports, companies we’ve spoken to decry the widespread gap in soft skills – communication, writing, leadership, etc. – that they desire to see in new hires. A fundamental understanding of the principles of science are always in high demand, but companies want workers who are adaptable and can use their critical thinking skills to solve problems on the fly. Business majors who choose to double major in a biotech or biology area look great to these companies as they tend to have good development in these skills that we do not always see in people who choose to study strictly science. Additionally hands on learning, co-op programs, and internships are vital to students who plan to work in the healthcare industry.
Learn more about Bentley’s PreparedU Project, which examines challenges facing millennial workers, the companies that employ them and the colleges and universities that prepare them.
The Yawkey Foundations have recognized Bentley University’s longstanding commitment to service-learning and awarded the university $500,000 to educate students to effectively lead nonprofit organizations and expand student efforts to help community groups.