Institute News

Pari Passu - By Mike Finch, PhD, Managing Director

What a year for MILI! Where do I start? How about our students walking away with first place in the Business School Alliance for Health Management’s case competition, beating out teams from Harvard, Duke, Yale, Vanderbilt, and Berkeley? Or how about another team of our students placing second in this year’s Medtronic Case competition?  

Or how about the fact that of all Carlson’s 2014 MBA graduates, more than 25% went into health care – twice the number going into the next highest category?

Or the changes MILI is undertaking at the advice of our National Industry Council? These include increasing our course offerings, expanding our emphasis in global markets, and instituting a consulting service for short-term projects. I cannot overstate the contributions of our National Industry Council as we seek to extend MILI’s reach and strengthen our brand.

In other news, we’ve added a new course on Health Care Law and we are pleased to announce three new Executives in Residence: Archelle Georgiou, Bill Knutson, and Paul Gam.

And kudos to MILI staff Jessica Haupt and Cortney Carlson who, working with the Carlson School’s Graduate Business Career Center, have created a successful new series of monthly luncheons for students to hear first-hand accounts from friends of MILI working at firms such as PwC, Medtronic, HealthPartners, Accenture, Coloplast, Optum, Boston Scientific, and Piper Jaffray.

The Carlson School is now offering a full-fledged Health Care MBA for full- and part-time students.

Not a bad year! Our goals for the next year are just as lofty. We look forward to working with all of our partners to achieve them.

Mike Finch
Managing Director

UnitedHealth Group Actuarial Seminar Awards and Seminar

In September, Professor Jon Christianson, the James A. Hamilton Chair in Health Policy and Management at the University of Minnesota and Vice Chair of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, presented “Risk Adjustment Issues in Medicare Payment” to a diverse public audience in the Carlson School’s Executive Education Center. By bringing the careful work of actuaries to the fore in discussing past and present payment of health costs, Christianson underscored how measurement and reporting increase transparency and value for health care customers, providers, and insurers. Further, he highlighted the importance of context—whether in terms of policy or public perception—in choosing the right metrics to best inform the payer-payee relationships in the health care industry.

The next UnitedHealth Group Actuarial Seminar will take place in Spring 2015.


Design of Medical Devices Conference April 13-16 2015

The Emerging Medical Innovation Valuation Competition, to be held during the annual Design of Medical Devices Conference (hosted by the University of Minnesota’s Medical Devices Center, College of Science and Engineering, and Academic Health Center) will provide a way for researchers and inventors to get immediate project feedback from leaders in medical technology research, engineering, and development.

This competition is for inventors (including students, faculty, staff, and corporations) seeking investor support to reach the next stage of development. Initial submissions should be no more than 10 slides summarizing the medical innovation. Judges will review and invite six inventors to give succinct, eight-minute presentations at the DMD Conference in April 2015.

Faculty and fellows from the Medical Industry Valuation Laboratory will provide feedback and determine the top three innovations—those that hold the greatest return on investment and investment potential. The top three presenters will be awarded a full valuation, including a presentation and report, of their technologies from the University of Minnesota’s Medical Industry Valuation Laboratory, valued at $15,000 per project. Winners will be announced at the conference’s keynote luncheon.

More information on the Medical Industry Valuation Laboratory and the service can be found at and more information on the DMD Emerging Medical Innovation Valuation Competition can be found at

The 2014 winners were William Wustenberg of Biospheres, Inc., with his presentation “Reduction of Medical Implant Infections”; Robert Brooks of the Center for Image Guided Innovation and Therapeutic Intervention with “Notes on Closure of Esophageal Punctures and Fistulas Using Suction Countertraction and Nitinol Clips”; and Grand Prize winner Joshua Gafford of Harvard’s Biodesign Lab with “Smart Micro-Instruments for Advanced Intraluminal Interventions.”

Submissions and questions should be directed to


Nashville Field Trip

In October 2014, MILI made its Nashville debut! No, we didn’t take the stage at the Grand Ol’ Opry (though we were tempted). Instead, we spent three days meeting with key members of the Nashville Health Care Council, an association of industry leaders working to solidify their city’s reputation as the nation’s health care capital. Vanderbilt University kindly welcomed us as we joined their healthcare MBA students for speakers and site visits.

Traveling to different sites throughout Nashville, our group was pleased to meet with and hear presentations from executives at Healthstream, Aegis Sciences Corp, DiaTech Oncology, Community Health Systems, Heritage Group, Cigna-Health Spring, and the Hospital Corporation of America. In this intensive schedule, students, professors, and professionals shared best practices and the newest areas of health care innovation, opening up areas for collaboration and future research.

Morgan Finley, an Executive Education student, told us, “I am so grateful to have made the trek to Nashville!” Finley works on the payer side of health care, and says “I don’t normally get to see much on the delivery side.” Thus, “This short, two-day trip expanded my perspective, and it was all done through a very fun, welcoming program at Vanderbilt.” Full-time MBA student Tarun Jain and Bryana Meyer also joined the trip, returning to Nashville just six months after winning first place with Svetlana Sandberg, at the 2014 Business School Alliance for Health Management’s Annual Case Competition, held in the same city in April.

And in case you were worried, some of us did take the time to stick around to visit legendary Hatch Show Printing and the Country Music Hall of Fame!


Patient Innovation Forum

With the Carlson School’s Supply Chain and Operations Management department, MILI was pleased to host The Patient Innovation Forum in November. The international gathering brought together scholars and innovators who shared exciting stories of forging new paths in health care. With tag lines like “the man who fixed his own heart” and “the artist who 3D prints fingers and hands,” the presentations gave first-hand experiences and a glimpse into the world of “user innovation.”

Keynote speaker Pedro Oliveira, who directs the Lisbon MBA program (a joint venture between the Catolica-Lisbon School of Business and Economics, NovaSBE, and MIT’s Sloan School of Management), started the day by describing user innovation, while his colleagues Helena Canhao and Leid Zajnilovic showed how those innovations disperse in their talk, “When Patients Set Out To Help Themselves… And End Up Helping Many.” The morning finished with a first-person account from Tal Golesworthy, an engineer and entrepreneur who set out to address his own Marfan’s syndrome and now works in researching and developing devices to let other sufferers avoid major surgeries and lifelong drug therapy.

The afternoon sessions and roundtable focused on bringing such patient-inspired developments to the marketplace by finding expertise in collaboration, interest in social networking, and market success through cross-sector work.

All told, the event not only put a spotlight on some of the stars of user-innovation and development in health care, but also showed MILI’s students and other stakeholders the real-world experiences of interdisciplinary thinkers, designers, and innovators. The session was a great success and an even greater inspiration.


New Executives in Residence

This year, MILI will welcome three new executives in residence.  Joining Dr. Susan Alpert are Paul Gam, Archelle Georgiou, and Bill Knutson. The position, which Alpert readily admitted was often hard for people to grasp, is a melding of three primary goals. First, the Executives in Residence provide a resource to help students bridge the gaps between academia and the business world into which so many of them will launch. Second, they will help develop and foster outreach efforts such as MILI’s lunch-and-learns, of which Alpert said, “These have become a consistent place where the student and others in the Carlson community can gather for in-depth discussions about policy and practice right now.” Finally, the Executives will strengthen MILI’s international efforts.

Georgiou is currently a MILI instructor who, by training, is a physician specializing in internal medicine. From her practice, Georgiou moved into managed care, using data to drive better decision-making, and consulting. Having also served as a Platou Award judge, Valuation Lab client, and instructor for Anatomy and Physiology for Managers, Georgiou has deep ties to MILI and will greatly enrich our students’ experience.

Bill Knutson, MBA, is an executive and consultant whose experience spans internal hospital operations, destination healthcare, geriatric services, critical access planning, and federal-level payment servicing. Now the CEO of a Care Choice Cooperative, owner of a wound-care startup, a partner in a physician practice and consulting group for post-acute services, Knutson will truly help MILI’s students see the big picture—and all the players within it.

Gam is a graduate of the Carlson School, co-founder and chairman of Zurich Medical, Inc., and managing director of Grace Associates, LLC, a strategic advisory firm in the medical technology industry. A respected business leader in China and the U.S., Gam’s resume includes time in top positions at St. Jude Medical and Medtronic. His working knowledge of the evaluation, regulation, and marketing of medical devices is an invaluable resource for MILI.


Show your MILI support

Every gift to MILI makes an immediate impact. 

The Medical Industry Leadership Institute is funded by the generous support of the National Industry Council, Valuation Lab partners, alumni, and friends. Through community support, MILI is able to offer unparalleled classroom experiences and industry-impacting events.

Show your support by making a gift today.  Make others envious of your MILI swag!  Donors will receive stewardship gifts based on giving levels.

Making a gift to MILI will ensure that great things continue to happen.

To make a tax-deductible gift to MILI's Program Support Fund (#5295), please visit


Social Media

Have you connected with MILI online? It's the best way to stay up to date on our events, networking opportunities, and developing courses. It may even help connect companies and prospective hires! Get in on the action here: 



Advanced Learning Opportunities for Professionals

Carlson Executive Education is excited to offer professionals access to cutting-edge classes offered in partnership with MILI. These medical industry courses provide accomplished professionals the skills and knowledge needed to advance in their careers.  "Carlson Executive Education gives you direct access to what's best at Carlson—you can engage with faculty at the forefront of the scientific, technical, legal, ethical, and entrepreneurial aspects of the dynamic medical industry," said Mark Bergen, Associate Dean of Carlson Executive Education. Participants can choose to take a course or register for the Carlson Executive Education MILI Certificate. "We're thrilled to announce that three of our earliest participants have already completed and received MILI certificates with dozens more in 2014," said Karl Johnson, Assistant Dean of Carlson Executive Education. 

Why enroll? Success in every profession requires intelligence, drive, and curiosity. Our Executive Education program caters to mid- to high-level professionals who are looking to expand their skill sets, stay up to date, and explore fast-changing fields. As you know, MILI is marked by its investment in lifelong learning, valuing the mutual benefits of interaction among students, faculty, and global industry executives. Together, the Carlson School can help you build your expertise, resume, and career in health care.

Register now at


Students in Focus

Lunch Series

MILI and the Carlson School’s Graduate Business Career Center are teaming up to host a monthly Medical Industry Career Lunch Series. The first session with Optum was held in September, followed by Coloplast (October), Accenture (November), PwC (December), and Medtronic (January). The next session, led by HealthPartners will be February 17.

The series is designed to let organizations showcase their companies to top students and future leaders in the health care industry, providing a forum for recruiting, hiring, and networking. It will be held on the third Tuesday of each month in room 2-206 at the Carlson School. Tentatively, the upcoming schedule features Allina Health System (March), a health care consulting panel (April), and Boston Scientific (May).

Students and instructors are encouraged to attend in order to learn about the most up-to-the-minute developments in practice and make connections with established leaders in the health care industry.



In December, MILIsa hosted the seventh annual Medtronic Interdisciplinary Health Care Case Competition (MEDIHCC). The competition, in which students apply their skills to a real case challenge presented by a medical device industry leader, brings together students from various colleges at the University, including the School of Public Health, the Medical School, the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, the College of Science & Engineering, the College of Biological Sciences, and the Carlson School.

Medtronic, which sponsors the event, provides the case as well as generous cash prizes. Teams work for 36 hours to develop recommendations to help the company best formulate a strategy, then present their plans to industry judges and Medtronic representatives in two rounds. Round one took place at the Carlson School, and the top team competed against the University of Michigan in the second round at Medtronic. Teams were tasked with a case that falls under Medtronic’s Global Healthcare Initiative: preventing and treating Type II Diabetes in Mexico.

This year was the first year in which our students competed against University of Michigan students.  It was a tough decision for judges as Michigan edged out Minnesota for the win. MEDIHCC was developed by and is administered by MILIsa student leaders and Medtronic representatives.


BAHM Case competition

Formed in 2010, the Business School Alliance for Health Management (BAHM) was created to transform the health sector by advancing education, research, and practice across the nation’s top management schools. Member schools share a commitment to applied education as a driver of health care innovation and, ultimately, solutions. In BAHM’s annual case competition, MILI has fared extremely well against powerhouses like Duke, Harvard, and Berkeley.

The next BAHM case competition will take place on April 18, and MILI teams are already preparing for the challenge, in which 10 university teams work for four months on a case study revealed in late December. Judges are drawn from six business schools and have, in the past, included professors from the MILI program.


Student spotlight:  Bryana Mayer

Bryana Mayer has always been curious about health care. Now at Merck, her position puts her in an ideal spot to explore—and operationalize—many facets of the evolving medical technologies and care delivery systems. “The MILI program was a perfect fit,” she says.

“I first heard of MILI when I saw Stephen Parente quoted in some news articles. I attended some of MILI’s events after that to be sure it was the best program for me,” Mayer tells us. After doing her due diligence, she came into the program ready to hit the ground running: “I had clear goals: the MILI Fellowship, teaching assistant work, and getting involved with MILIsa right away.” Not only did she accomplish those goals, she says, she’s “had more opportunities for applied learning” than she ever expected, and reports, “I’m truly thankful for the time and energy the professors put into the courses and outside learning activities. I consider it a true honor and privilege to learn from them.”

When we asked for a highlight of her time in the program, Mayer was brimming with examples. She said that participating in the BAHM case competition in Nashville gave her the chance to meet with the CEO of Ambient and inventors of the technologies used at the Mayo Clinics—and her team brought home the first-place prize. She also pointed to participating in MILI’s Global Business Practicum courses in Brazil and China. “There was an immediate sense of accomplishment after my team presented our final analysis and recommendations, when one of the Chinese investors said, ‘This is exactly what we need to guide innovation in China.’” Feedback like that, Mayer says, goes beyond anything she could have gotten from a traditional classroom or even the boardroom of a multinational corporation.


Course spotlight:  Healthcare Law and Management Impact

In much the same way future leaders need to know the language of physicians, they also need to understand the language and viewpoint of the lawyers and regulators looking out for their businesses and patients. Shira Hauschen’s course, “Healthcare Law and Management Impact,” aims to translate and apply health care law for non-lawyers using practical, applicable examples and simulations.  Hauschen notes in the syllabus that “This course is not solely a law course, nor does it delve comprehensively into all of health care law.” Instead, the class emphasizes major laws that apply to a variety of businesses, from those regarding fraud to privacy and provider self-referral. The idea is to promote students’ competency with “legalese” so that leaders might avert a costly regulatory snag late in the game.

The class aims to be an interactive seminar with group discussions and the inclusion of frequent guest speakers. Hauschen says, in this way, “the students will become attuned to how various health care regulations can impinge upon or promote certain business strategies.” She hopes that the course’s content will align with the students’ desired career trajectories, as well as with current industry trends.


MILIsa update

By Christine Muggee ('15 MBA), MILIsa President

Fall 2014 saw the continuation of MILIsa’s exciting programming and work towards our mission of developing leaders to advance a global, connected medical industry.  Fall 2014 semester planning got underway last year when the newly elected MILIsa Board met over the summer to define the board's collective goals, mission, vision, and strategic plan that will guide MILIsa's year.

In September, MILIsa held a kickoff meeting to welcome students across the University as MILIsa members. This meeting provided an introduction to our officers, programming for the fall semester, and a forum for great student feedback. MILIsa represents a diversity of programs from the Academic Health Center, Carlson School, Law School, Engineering, and Public Policy programs, so getting to know our student members and their interests within the medical industry is fascinating. We used feedback from our kick-off to finalize our fall programming to meet our member’s interest, planning a hospital site visit to focus on operations, and a cadaver lab visit.

In September, we hosted the annual Medtronic Interdisciplinary Healthcare Case Competition (MEDIHCC), with 12 interdisciplinary student teams from across the University competing in a live, 48-hour marketing case competition for sponsor Medtronic. The winning team advanced to the final round held at Medtronic to compete against the winning team from the University of Michigan. Each team had innovative, sound recommendations and received high levels of praise from Medtronic leadership.

Another notable event this fall included a community stewardship event at the Toast to Courage Gala, which benefits Courage Kenny (a nonprofit rehabilitation provider that is a subsidiary of Allina), which helped raise over $300,000 for the organization. MILIsa partnered with the MILI department to host a monthly speaker event, where speakers from Accenture, PwC, and Coloplast (among others) share their leadership experiences with our members. From a social perspective, MILIsa partnered with the Sports Business Club to host a fall tailgate and put on a happy hour at Town Hall Brewery. The fall semester concluded with site visits to Medtronic and Boston Scientific for first-year internship candidates, an Interview Advice Panel, and a community stewardship event at Second Harvest. Next semester, MILIsa looks forward to hosting a variety of educational and social events and partnering with the MILI Alumni Affiliates to continue to provide networking opportunities for our students.


Alumni & Friends

Affiliate spotlight:  Chris Atkinson

Christopher Atkinson is, perhaps, an ideal MILI Affiliate: he’s a Carlson MBA with a MILI specialization who’s gone on to work at PwC’s Health Industry Advisory sector. “I firmly believe,” he says, “that the MILI specialization gave my education—and my career—the focused acceleration I desired from my Carlson experience.”

Now Atkinson sees his primary role as a MILI Affiliate as serving as a connector, not only between students and the companies that will become their employers, but across companies and industries. “In my opinion, the MILI affiliates are not only some of the most effective professionals working in health care, but we are also positioned within some of the leading organizations creating change and innovation. With a community of so many talented and like-minded individuals, the true value is realized when we connect with each other to share in our challenges, ideas, and opportunities.”

Though he maintains ambitious goals for his professional life, Atkinson retains a grounded perspective, saying he’d rather talk about his failures than the highlights of his career. The failures, he says, are where the real learning happens. “That being said,” he continues, “most of my career highlights are directly related to choosing to take a big risk and bet big on an idea or an individual.” And when asked what advice he’d offer our current MILI students, Atkinson believes there are key factors critical to professional success. “These critical factors are honesty, humility, and hard work. By practicing these consistently and following your curiosities, I believe MILI students can achieve their professional aspirations.” Clearly, Chris Atkinson is accustomed to following his own advice.


Affiliate Executive Board Update

By Marissa Szody and Hilary Carruthers

We are excited to announce that the MILI Affiliates have added new leaders to the organization’s executive board.  Marissa Szody (’14 MHA/MBA) and Hilary Carruthers (’13, MHA/MBA) will be co-leading the board after a four-year tenure by board founder and outgoing chair Stephan Dunning.  On behalf of all the Affiliates, we’d like to extend immense thanks to Dunning for his contributions to MILI and to his outstanding development and leadership of the Affiliate program over the past six years.  Dunning has led the planning and facilitation of several roundtables, speakers, and site visits at the intersection of current issues and trends in the medical industry and the MILI program’s foundation in research and education.  Under Dunning’s leadership, the Affiliates have also had the opportunity to connect and network with one another and with students at happy hours, tailgates, and other social events.

Dunning and current board member Adrine Chung will remain members of the board, and with Szody and Carruthers, will welcome four new members: Chris Atkinson, Chris Gustanski, Mitch Mudra, and Brandon Cox. MILI Associate Director Jessica Haupt will continue to support the Affiliate Board as liaison to MILI and the MILI Industry Council, and MILI Student Association President Christine Muggee will serve as a touch point to the student association.  Alumni and friends of MILI are encouraged to contact our board members for more information about the Affiliate program and how to get involved.

Co-Chairs, MILI Affiliate Board
Marissa Szody & Hilary Carruthers

Marissa Szody
Senior Consultant, Strategy & Business Development
Allina Health

Hilary Carruthers
Director, Ambulatory Operations & Clinical Practice, Mental Health
Allina Health

Chris Gustanski

Chris Gustanski
Vice President
Finnesse Partners, LLC
’98 MBA

Mitch Mudra

Mitch Mudra
Director, Business Development
'12 MBA

Chris Atkinson
Health Industries Advisory Manager
’13 MBA

Brandon Cox
Global Product Manager
Boston Scientific
’14 MBA/’12 JD

Stephan Dunning
Director, Strategy & Business Development
Chronic Disease Research Group
Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation
’09 MBA

Christine Muggee
Christine Muggee
MBA Candidate, Class of 2015
President, MILI Student Association (MILIsa)
Carlson School of Management

Adrine Chung
Director of Business Operations
Chronic Disease Research Group
Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation
’11 MBA

Jessica Haupt
Associate Program Director, MILI
Carlson School of Management


Become an Affiliate

Institute Affiliates are members of the medical industry community interested in engaging with MILI. By becoming an MILI Affiliate, members gain ongoing access to the school's faculty research, lifelong learning programs, students interested in the industry, and opportunities to network with industry leaders. In return for their volunteer service, Affiliates have access to:

  • Cases from student experiential learning projects and work site innovations
  • Medical industry data resources
  • Affiliate member directory
  • Networking opportunities
  • Discount on medical industry Carlson School Executive Education courses
  • Opportunity to visit a MILI class session
  • Subscription to The Morning Consult, emails focused on current news, op-ed, and academic articles
  • An Invitation to the Medical Industry Valuation Laboratory open house to see public disclosures of new innovations

You can find the Affiliate application online. For more information or to make a suggestion regarding the kind of events you would like the Affiliate Board to focus their efforts on, please email the Board at



The Medical Industry Leadership Institute is funded by the generous support of the National Industry Council, Valuation Lab partners, alumni, and friends. Through community support, MILI is able to offer unparalleled classroom experiences and industry-impacting events. To make a tax-deductible gift to MILI's Program Support Fund (#5295), please visit

If you would prefer to support a specific program, please select a fund number below and contact Cortney Carlson at

  • Research Support Fund (#3609): General research expenses. Contributions provide funds to further MILI's research portfolio which includes seminars, publications, and research data.
  • MILI Discovery Fund (#6087): Support experiential learning of the Medical Industry Valuation Laboratory course. Contributions provide funds for initiatives and educational experiences that facilitate market valuations of new innovations for the medical industry and enhance the potential to bring new technologies to market.
  • Carl N. Platou Leadership Competition Fund (#6357): Contributions support the scholarships awarded to the winners of the Carl N. Platou Leadership Competition, where students are recognized for their skills in leadership traits and innovative thinking, as displayed by an elite group of students in the spirit of Carl N. Platou.

Donors will receive stewardship gifts based on giving levels.