Vicki van der Westhuizen ’18

Post-MAM Position: Senior Business Analyst, Jembi Health Systems NPC

When I was in high school, I worked in a private hospital, and we had an emergency where we had to borrow some coagulant from a neighboring public hospital. I had to step over patients waiting on the floor just to get the drug. It was a scene of complete disarray all around me: there wasn’t any visible structure, and clearly there was plenty of suffering. I took away this sense of unfairness that has stuck with me over the years. There were these people in society who really needed their own advocate to make things work. Why can the system work on one side and not on the other?

After working in technology and the financial sector, I wanted to find something that felt more meaningful and find a way to help people in the healthcare space. I applied to the MBA program at the University of Cape Town to access curated material, learn from highly regarded academics, and collaborate with contemporaries. While on Global Network Week at Yale, studying the behavioral science of management, I learned of the Master of Advanced Management program and decided to enroll to enable me to confidently pivot from finance to healthcare, keeping technology as the golden thread.

The MAM has helped me to think about the bigger picture. At SOM, the rest of Yale comes to you. I’ve had classes where I sat alongside students from the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, Yale School of Medicine, Yale School of Public Health, and others; this provides a cross-campus experience and different perspectives on how to approach different types of problems. Classes allowed me to apply my professional expertise while providing room to look at an issue from the perspective of a private, nonprofit, or startup organization. It was truly a privilege to learn from the highly regarded faculty as well as my awe-inspiring classmates.

At Yale, New Haven is your laboratory and your community. For example, I joined a daylong Design + Innovation Club workshop at the Yale Center for Engineering Innovation and Design. Within five hours, our multidisciplinary group were not only designing, but also testing an idea on optimizing healthcare with people on the streets of New Haven. It was one day, but I had some meaningful takeaways that I can apply to my whole career. It’s not an exaggeration to say that Yale presented me with opportunities like this every week.

Interviewed on April 3, 2018