The Business of Healthcare

Maine Business School students are tackling real-world problems in the healthcare industry for the first time. Through a partnership with Northern Light Health, ten students spent the fall 2022 semester working closely with human resource professionals to offer solutions around recruitment and engagement. This special topics class originated from a conversation between MBS internship coordinator Taylor Ashley and Paul Bolin, ’92 and ’99G, Chief People Office and SVP, Northern Light Health.

“Northern Light Health wanted to work together to increase internship opportunities with our students,” Ashley says. He worked with MBS Interim Executive Dean Dr. Jason Harkins to create a Research Learning Experience that included a high-impact experience.

“We want to encourage students to take advantage of as many internship opportunities as possible during their time here,” Dr. Harkins says. “The opportunity to partner with Northern Light Health and develop a novel way of enabling students to get hands-on experience by rethinking the clinical rotations used for clinicians to expose business students to the healthcare industry was very powerful.”

This unique pilot program has allowed Maine Business School students to get practical experience in the business of healthcare. Students in this class visited the Northern Light Health Ciancette Building in Brewer three times throughout the semester. They also worked closely with team leaders and experts in the NLH human resources, IT, and marketing departments.

Annika Nicholas, a senior majoring in management, spent time working in a nursing home during high school and some of college. “I loved every minute of it but quickly discovered that the clinical side of healthcare was not for me,” she says. Nicholas chose to take this class to gain insight into healthcare administration. She plans to pursue her master’s degree in this field. “I have thoroughly enjoyed this class,” she says. “I was challenged in ways I haven’t been before. The project my team worked on was rewarding, and the research we have completed is something I’ve never been exposed to before.”

Buffie McCue-Quinn, lecturer in management and marketing, built the curriculum and led this class.

“Having students work with members of organizations to help accelerate business and solve business challenges is integral to the mission of the Maine Business School,” McCue-Quinn says. Her students leaned into the research process and developed recommendations to help Northern Light Health increase employee engagement and talent acquisition. The unique opportunity allowed students to grow not only from an academic standpoint but personally, too.

“This class has not only taught me what it takes to be a leader, but I’ve also learned more about what it means to be a teammate,” Nichols says. “My team was incredible, and I am grateful to have worked with them while learning how to respond to the challenges the healthcare industry faces today.”