By Prem Ramkumar, MBA '15

What were you doing before Cornell Tech?
I was a 3rd year medical student at Baylor College of Medicine and research engineer at the Institute of Orthopedic Research and Education.

Why did you decide to come to Cornell Tech?
I would not have pursued an MBA if Cornell Tech did not exist. My goal has always been and always will be to be the most skilled and innovative orthopaedic surgeon inside and outside the operating room. I knew I wanted to augment my perspective before my approach to patient care was cemented in residency. At the same time, I did not want to pursue a broad MBA for generic or superficial reasons. To become the surgeon I envision, I was desperate for a practical handle of business fundamentals, specifically in the areas of technology and entrepreneurship. Cornell Tech filled that gap.

Cornell Tech and I share the same value system. We want to create, inspire, and lead. We believe a deep understanding of business and technology lays the foundation to do so in today’s economy, and we know experiential and team-based learning to be essential in doing so.

Furthermore, Cornell Tech did not try to change me. Rather, they allowed me to feel at home. When I was accepted, the admissions staff were incredible in encouraging me to continue doing the things I am passionate about throughout the curriculum. As such, I performed unique translational and clinical orthopaedics research at the Hospital for Special Surgery in parallel with the MBA curriculum. Everybody at Cornell Tech was supportive and allowed me to be myself.

What have you been doing since graduating from Cornell Tech?
I could not be more excited and grateful to be joining the Cleveland Clinic Orthopaedic Surgery Residency program this July. I have also been working on a startup in orthopaedic surgery related to outcomes measurement and wearable technology.

How did your time at Cornell Tech prepare you for your career?
My education at Cornell Tech taught me the conceptual skills to improve my approach to orthopaedic research with a fresh perspective that takes technology and business into account. As a medical student simply trying to absorb all the material, it can be very challenging to take a step back and view the healthcare ecosystem as a whole.

Second, Cornell Tech offered me the unique ability to learn how to transform an idea into a real world product with market fit. In my specialty, implants and surgical instrumentation change seemingly every week as new techniques and procedures are borne. I aim to be on the leading edge advancing patient care from the micro level of creating new techniques with new developed tools to the macro level of improving policy to make the health care experience more practical and sustainable.

Third, while leaders certainly do not necessarily need MBAs or a business background at all, I feel better equipped to lead after attending Cornell Tech. Having gone down a path of medicine and science until recently, working with classmates from such wide background has prepared me to thrive on any interdisciplinary team by learning and conversing in the fundamental language of business.

Finally, I met some of the greatest people in my life I know I will continue to learn from and count on down the road. Some students may consider this a product of “networking” in business, but these people are more like family and less like instruments for personal gain.

What is something interesting people may be surprised to learn about you?
I used to shop at Hot Topic.