Inaugural health services networking trip to Chicago introduces students to a growing industry

Over spring break, 16 students traveled to Chicago to take part in the first-ever health services and sciences-focused networking trip to the Windy City, led by the Soll Center for Student Opportunity at Claremont McKenna College.

The week in Chicago (March 12-17) was filled with excellent learning and networking opportunities for students at host workplaces. Host organizations ranged from traditional hospitals, to research facilities and science incubators.

“The trip was very helpful. My biggest take-aways were the visits that had to do with medicine. I’m glad I got to see different sides of healthcare and other fields such as the environmental sector, because it broadened my view of different industries,” Shaneli Jain ’18 said. “I had a great opportunity to network with a physician who works for the American Medical Association now, and learn about the medical and business side of his career.”

Students visited Environmental Systems Design, Inc., Falcon Consulting, MATTER, Northern Trust’s ESG Investing unit, the American Medical Association, Illinois Medical District, ContextMedia, Emmi Solutions, and World Business Chicago. Just to highlight a few companies, Falcon Consulting is a comprehensive health care consultancy, while MATTER is a start-up healthcare incubator. A science incubator is a city-funded facility to help technology start-ups in the health services industry.  

“This trip had a broad array of career options for the science-healthcare field,” Soll Center for Student Opportunity Assistant Director Gary Salata said. “As we hoped, the students were exposed to both traditional and non-traditional career opportunities. I believe every student had at least one massive take-away personalized to their goals, at some point in the week.”

Salata and Soll Center Associate Director Beth Milev ’05 led the trip to Chicago.

The group arrived in Chicago on Sunday, March 12, and trip activities began immediately. From 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day, the group visited different companies. Activities ranged from guided tours of a facility to panel discussions with industry professionals. Although the formal visit concluded on March 16, the students spent March 17 networking with individuals they met during the week. Many set up informational 1-on-1 meetings with our industry connections, continuing their professional growth.

One of the many highlights was the group’s visit with Dr. Suzet McKinney, executive director of the Illinois Medical District (IMD) Commission. She took the time to talk about her background, how she came to her role with IMD, and what the future holds for IMD.

With the first health services networking trip in the rearview mirror, Salata said there are plans to do the trip again with a return to Chicago at the top of the destination list. The Soll Center is also exploring other science-healthcare hubs for a future networking trip destination.

“I would recommend this networking trip for students who are interested in the sciences,” Jain said.