Through connecting with the Mac alumni network, Mara Robertson ’12 defined her career path.
At Mac, I majored in neuroscience with a plan to study medicine, but I became interested in public health through working at the Health and Wellness Center. The summer before my senior year, I started meeting with the CDC staff and asked for a list of alumni worked in healthcare fields and started contacting them. Many of the alums recommended companies for me to try, and some even referred me to their friends who were working at those companies. If there was any way to have an in-person meeting, I arranged one—those are always better. In some cases, I met people over the phone but stayed in contact with them and then met them in person while I was traveling. The CDC was a wonderful resource, and the alumni were tremendously helpful.
A formative internship
During one conversation, a Mac alumnus referred me to the Clinton Foundation internship program, and in January 2012 I began an internship at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in New York City. CG, one of The Clinton Foundation’s eight initiatives, is a conference that puts together organizations working in global development as well as a platform spotlighting innovative global development programs. During my internship I worked with two staff members of the global health team. I also had longer projects, including one in which I used my Macalester neuroscience and psychology education to promote global mental health as a CGI topic, resulting in a mental health session at the CGI’s mid-year meeting.
At the Clinton Global Initiative I saw the high number of nonprofits seeking funding. That observation helped me decide that one way I could give back to the community was by joining a private company, since profitable ventures often have more leverage. I got inspired by the idea of a triple bottom line: profit, environment, and social. I set my career path in the hopes that I could someday help run a company with a for-profit strategy that was also in line with social and environmental interests. Because health is my primary interest, I decided to do healthcare consulting.
The job search
This spring I’ll start working at Huron Consulting Group, a Chicago hospital consulting firm. I got the job by going on LinkedIn, finding a friend from CGI with a contact who had worked there, and asking her to connect me. The former employee put me through the employee referral process there.
I will be working in hospitals to help increase their efficiency. I’m hoping to be on a clinical track, assisting clinicians to improve their communication and processes. In recent years the business and clinical sides of hospitals have become very separate entities. I believe that the future of healthcare depends on bringing them back together. I look forward to interacting with clinicians and hope to get both clinical and business perspectives in the health systems in which I’ll work.