Courses & Curriculum

Chart Your Own Path

The health care curriculum at Tuck is designed for students who have an in-depth interest in health care and for those who want to understand the health care system in preparation for careers such as consulting, banking or entrepreneurship. The curriculum includes specific courses focused on health care, opportunities to design independent studies in health care and the chance to participate in formal health-related projects. Health care elective course offerings at Tuck cover a broad range of topics and industry segments, including health care services and delivery, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and medical devices.

Elective Courses


Professor Donald P. Conway

Recent feedback from T’14s and earlier reports that Tuck graduates entering into consulting and finance have a very high probability of being on a health care engagement early in their career.

This course focuses on the intersection of for-profit business and medicine. As the U.S. population ages, an entirely new demographical stress will be put on our health care system. The U.S. spent $2.6 trillion in 2010, nearly 20 percent of our Gross Domestic Product and twice as much per capita on the second placed country - Norway. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the Health Care Panel added jobs every month of the 2008 financial crisis through today. Growth in health care employment is expected to even accelerate over the next three decades. Within this context, new business opportunities will emerge. The demand for health care will increase significantly over the next 25 years. New products and innovative delivery systems must be initiated to minimize the pressure on our fragile hospital system. The course will be framed within the context of the U.S. employer-based system. The issue of increased costs must be addressed in developing any solution. The U.S. system will be compared against our single payer and universal coverage systems in terms of costs, quality and health outcomes. The course will focus on real world business opportunities for health care providers, doctors, and hospital systems, products (e.g. pharma, biotech, medical devices) and health care services (health IT).

As health care is a highly regulated industry worldwide, emphasis will be put on understanding regulation and formal requirements which impact commercial success of an enterprise. Variations in strategies for development and commercialization will be highlighted.

The primary objective will be to understand the business side of health care and be able to answer the following questions:

  • At what point (Phase I, II, III, and IV) and what data would you require to invest in a health care product/company?
  • What factors would you consider and which variables would have the most impact on your investment decision?

These questions will be analyzed from both a business and also an entrepreneurial point of view. There will be 7 – 8 guest speakers who have achieved commercial success in the real world: They will draw from their experience to teach what has actually worked in the market. By highlighting the current issues confronting the health care industry it is expected that any student will feel comfortable and confident in any health care interview. Overall, this course is intended to prepare managers, investors, and consultants in the health care field for success in an important industry which represents an ever increasing part in our GDP.


Professor Donald P. Conway; Professor Steve Gillis; Professor Michael Zubkoff

As a relatively new field of commercial endeavor, biotechnology has had more impact (perhaps with the notable exception of computer hardware and software) on society than any other business enterprise in the past thirty years. The advent of genetic engineering has revolutionized drug discovery and development, adding tens if not hundreds of novel therapies to physicians’ arsenals for treating and preventing disease. In this mini-course, students will gain an appreciation for the biotechnology industry, its premise and continued promise as well as what is required for biotechnology entrepreneurs in the 21st century to attract investment capital. Areas ripe for investment and development will be explored as will lessons that have been learned over the past three decades that have been witness to the creation of thousands of biotechnology companies and the very way that innovation is supported by the pharmaceutical industry and regulated by worldwide governments.


Professor Michael A. CarusiProfessor Michael S. McIvor; Professor Michael Zubkoff; Suzie Rubin

This interactive mini-course will introduce students to the complexities and inner workings of the health care ecosystem. It will provide a practitioner's point of view on the players, how they interact, and ultimately, how these players partner and transact. Students will be introduced to different sectors within health care. The course will describe the path for venture capital and private equity-backed companies from creation to exit. The goals and incentives of various stakeholders (i.e., venture capitalists, private equity and institutional investors, entrepreneurs, management, board members, corporations, etc.) will be discussed. The course will highlight different types of investing and deal making transactions and will introduce "real world" strategies, tactics, and analytical tools which are used as part of these transactions (e.g., mergers and acquisitions, strategic partnerships, LBO, IPO). The impact of regulation and health reform on investing will be discussed. This course is appropriate for students interested in health care and investing.


Professor Paul B. Gardent

This minicourse is appropriate for students who are interested in careers in health services management or who will be working in companies serving health care service organizations including consulting, banking, and medical supply companies. Enrolling students should have some background in the health care industry or have taken Structure, Organization & Economics of the Health Care Industry (SOE). Contact Professor Gardent with questions relating to the course or individual eligibility.

The health services industry is a large and dynamic sector of the economy with many unique characteristics. It includes hospitals, health systems, ambulatory clinics, medical group practices and other organizations providing health care services. Successful health care leaders must be well grounded in traditional management knowledge and practices, yet at the same time appreciate the unique aspects of the health services industry. Suppliers to the health industry (e.g. consultants, bankers, medical supply companies) must understand the strategic and financial issues facing leaders of health care organizations in order to successfully compete in this market. Among these issues are the unique character of organizational relationships, the dynamics of the health care workforce, multiple reimbursement arrangements, important supply chain relationships, and distinct regulatory requirements. The goal of this course is to provide students with the knowledge and understanding of key leadership and strategic challenges within health services organizations. This course will cover important functions of health services management, including strategy, finance, and operations. It will introduce students to leadership issues in performance improvement, change management, organizational leadership and strategic alliances.


Professor Paul B. Gardent; Professor Michael Zubkoff

Employer-sponsored health care plays a significant role in the US health system. It is a critical factor impacting the competitiveness of companies from the largest corporations to new start-ups. With the passage of the Accountable Care Act (ACA) business leaders are faced with new and important decisions regarding how they approach and finance health benefits for their employees. The challenge is not simply managing the cost of health care but also choosing the best strategy for recruiting and retaining a productive workforce in a competitive labor market. In the new ACA environment this has become a major strategic issue for businesses of all sizes and in all industries. Medical Care and the Corporation (MCC) will examine the critical issues facing business leaders today related to health care. It will build an understanding of the structure, economics and dynamics of the employer based health care system from the perspective of corporate leaders. Students will learn how the ACA has fundamentally changed the strategic landscape for businesses. Through this course you will understand the alternative approaches being considered by businesses including large corporations, small businesses and start-up companies. Students will learn how consulting firms and health insurance companies are analyzing the current market and advising their corporate clients. Finally, MCC will examine new approaches being offered to businesses to help them cope with these strategic issues. The course features cases and guest speakers who will demonstrate the diversity of ideas for meeting the business challenges created by our new health care environment. Our course includes Tuck School MBA students, medical students from the Geisel School of Medicine, and graduate students from The Dartmouth Institute. Previous MCC students have indicated that a unique aspect of the course is the opportunity to interact and hear the perspectives of students other graduate programs.


Professor Donald P. ConwayProfessor Paul B. Gardent; Professor Michael Zubkoff

Health care is a major area of interest for business leaders today and in the future. Health care represents the largest sector of the U.S. economy with health care spending now at 16% of the gross domestic product and projected to be at 20% by 2015. Health care organizations, and corporations serving those organizations, are a major business sector offering significant career opportunities in management. Biotech research and development is one of the most dynamic areas of entrepreneurial and small business activity. Health care represents a major focus for investment banking and consulting. Health care benefits and financing are major issues of concern for all U.S. businesses. This course is designed to provide business leaders with a fundamental understanding of the health care industry and critical issues in health care today. It will provide an industry-wide view from the differing perspectives within the health care value chain, including providers, suppliers, payers and consumers. The course will examine the unique market dynamics among these players. It will introduce students to the structure, organization and financing of health care in relationship to business and the economy. This course is appropriate for students who are contemplating careers in companies serving the health care industry such as consulting, private equity or banking, or who have an interest in careers in health care (pharma, medical devices, biotech, or health delivery).


Tuck students develop a global mindset through immersion into different cultures. TuckGO (global opportunities) features a set of carefully designed immersive, experiential courses that take place in various countries around the world and to fulfill this requirement, each student must participate in at least one such course in a country that is new to them. Four activities satisfy this requirement: a Global Insight Expedition, a qualifying First-Year Project, an OnSite Global Consulting assignment, or an Exchange Program with one of Tuck's partner institutions. Students can also propose an alternative means of meeting the requirement that must be approved in advance. See Experiential Learning for more information on how students in the past have designed their own academic pathways in health care as a part of TuckGO.

Independent Study

Independent Study projects allow students to explore a health care topic of their choosing for credit. Each study is approved and supervised by two faculty members and graded at its conclusion.  Some of the recent topics explored by student through independent study projects include:

Accountable Care Organizations

Economics of Health Care Benefits

Digital Health Technology and Investment

Health Care Transparency

Business Models for International Health Care Services

Drug Pricing

The Dual Eligible (Medicare/Medicaid) Market

Value-Based Health Care Delivery

Investment Opportunities in Antibacterial and Antifungal Drugs

Specialty Pharmaceuticals

Health Care Enterprise Technology

Exploring the Business Case for Cancer Consulting

Technology and Mental Health

DHMC Cardiology Optimization

Experiential Learning

In addition to classroom learning, many Tuck students expand their health care industry experience by participating in experiential learning opportunities with a health care focus. These may include the First-Year Project, OnSite Global Consulting, Global Insight Expeditions, and other health care projects.
Learn more.