Every year for the past 12 years, students from Yale SOM, along with colleagues from Yale’s health professional schools, have organized the Yale Healthcare Conference, which brings professionals from a variety of sectors within the healthcare industry to New Haven for a day of panels and talks. This year’s conference theme was “Creating Value and Sustaining Gains: The Next Decade in Health Care.”
Work on the conference begins nearly a year in advance. Two students are selected to co-chair the event; they make a major commitment beyond their schoolwork and other responsibilities, leading more than 30 fellow students through the process of choosing and booking speakers, lining up sponsors, and marketing the conference to healthcare professionals across the country. We followed co-chair Freddy Zhang ’16 on the day of the conference in April as he made sure that speakers were in the right place, PowerPoint decks were cued up, and audiences were well fed.
The Healthcare Conference is one of several major student-run conferences at Yale SOM each year; together with smaller conferences and other events organized by more than 50 student clubs, they offer a wide array of leadership opportunities for students. Zhang called the year of work he spent on the conference “the best pure leadership experience I’ve had here at Yale.” He added: “This is really what managing managers is all about.”