Do you have a passion for healthcare and consulting? If so, healthcare consulting may be for you! As a healthcare consultant, you will be able to build out your consulting toolkit while getting an in-depth understanding of the healthcare industry. While you will focus on one sector as a healthcare consultant, you can still get exposure to several different function areas (e.g., operations, analytics, etc.).
This article will share more about what healthcare consulting is, what a day in the life of a healthcare consultant may look like, and how to land a job in healthcare consulting.
What is Healthcare Consulting?
You may be asking yourself – “what is healthcare consulting?” The main differentiator between a healthcare consultant and a generalist consultant is the area of focus. For example, if you are a designated healthcare consultant, you can expect your case work to be only within the healthcare space. On the other hand, generalist consultants can expect to take a random walk where they may get exposure across several verticals, e.g., consumer / retail, healthcare, industrials, etc.
However, while healthcare consulting focuses on a specific sector (unlike a generalist consultant), healthcare consulting, in itself, is still pretty broad. For example, within healthcare consulting, you can have several sub-sector focus areas, e.g.,:
- Pharmaceuticals / life sciences
- Medical devices
- Payers (i.e., health insurance companies)
- Providers, hospitals, and healthcare systems
In addition, within the healthcare space, you can potentially work across several different functional areas, including but not limited to:
- Long-term planning
- Organizational design
- Marketing redesign
- Operational efficiency
Generally, being a healthcare consultant is the first step to narrow down your areas of focus. As you get more senior within a consulting firm, you will be expected to “double click” and focus deeper within a specific sub-sector and functional area.
What Does A Healthcare Consultant Do?
The next question on your mind may be “so, what does a healthcare consultant actually do?” Well, the role of a healthcare consultant is pretty multi-dimensional. Generally, a healthcare consultant’s day-to-day responsibilities will mirror those of a generalist consultant. Examples of what a healthcare consultant can do include:
Real world example: For a pharmaceutical company, developing a marketing mix model to optimize their marketing spend
Real world example: For a healthcare system, analyzing patient-level data to provide critical insights to improve quality of care
Real world example: For a pharmaceutical company, developing a framework for client to understand which therapeutic areas to prioritize
Real world example: For a healthcare system, designing their telemedicine strategy and analyzing regulation towards telemedicine
Client counseling skills:
Real world example: For a healthcare payer, influencing clients such that they adapt more agile ways of working
Therefore, working as a healthcare consultant mimics working as a generalist consultant, with a more narrow focus. As a healthcare consultant, you will be able to build out your consulting toolkit while gaining expertise in a specific sector.
Types of Healthcare Consultants
As mentioned earlier, as you get more senior in consulting, you will need to “double click” on your focus areas within healthcare consulting. There are a few types of healthcare consulting, spanning sector-focus and functional-focus. The types of healthcare consultants are:
Sector Focus, e.g.,
Pharmaceutical / Life Sciences Consulting
In this role, your focus will be solely on one type of healthcare clients – pharmaceuticals / life science clients. In this case, you will work across functional issues within the pharmaceutical space, e.g., R&D strategy, marketing optimization, etc.
In this role, your focus will be solely on one type of healthcare clients – healthcare providers, which encompasses healthcare systems, provider groups, etc.. In this case, you will work across functional issues within the provider space, e.g., patient care journey, optimizing hospital operations, etc.
In this role, your focus will be solely on one type of healthcare clients – healthcare insurance companies. In this case, you will work across functional issues within the healthcare insurance space, e.g., optimizing spans and layers for payers, improving profitability, etc.
Within a specific sector, you can have several functional sub-specialties.
Functional Focus, e.g.,
Healthcare IT Consulting
In this role, you will focus on how to optimize clients back-end technology. For example, if a healthcare system acquired a local hospital, you may focus on technology system integrations
Healthcare Compliance Consulting
In this role, you will focus on how to ensure your clients are up-to-date with the latest compliance standard. For example, you may support a pharmaceutical client and ensure they are following the latest regulatory standards
Healthcare Strategy Consulting
In this role, you will focus on “blue sky” type projects and determining the long-term strategy for your client. For example, you may help a pharmaceutical company determine which therapeutic areas to prioritize
Healthcare Analytics Consulting
In this role, you will focus on leveraging big data to improve decision making for healthcare clients. For example, you may analyze claims data to understand the patient journeys for a healthcare system
Healthcare Marketing Consulting
In this role, you will focus on optimizing healthcare system’s marketing strategies. For example, you may help a pharmaceutical company develop its marketing mix model to optimize its spend
How To Become A Healthcare Consultant
If you are reading this article and feel excited about a career as a healthcare consultant, your next obvious question is “how do I become a healthcare consultant?” Well, there are several steps to become a healthcare consultant.
First, you need to be able to have all the interviewing basics down pact. Specifically:
It is important to have all of your stories ready to go, exemplifying why you would be value-add at the firm. Through these stories, it is essential to explain why you want to work in healthcare, and why you have a passion in the space. It is not enough for these answers to be generic. Instead, they should be authentic and speak to why you want to make an impact in the space. For the complete guide on fit interviews, please see here.
Similarly, it is important to really give an A+ performance during your case interview. Here, it is key to show your analytical skills. In addition, the case may be healthcare-focused, especially if you are applying to a healthcare-focused firm like ZS or Putnam. For the complete guide on case interviews, please see here.
If you are looking for 1:1 coaching to prep for a healthcare consulting interview, please click here.
Healthcare Consulting Internship
A healthcare consulting internship is very similar to a generalist consulting internship. Here, you will get an up close understanding of what a full time role in consulting will look like by serving on a client team. You will be able to develop your consulting toolkit, including quantitative and qualitative analysis skills and client coaching skills.
The biggest difference between a generalist consulting internship and the healthcare consulting internship is the area of focus. Specifically, during a healthcare consulting internship, you will serve healthcare clients, assuming a healthy caseload. To read a complete guide on consulting internships, please click here.
Healthcare Consulting Case Interview
The healthcare consulting case interview is similar, in structure, to a generalist consulting case interview. The biggest difference between a healthcare consulting case interview and a generalist consulting case interview is the area of focus. Specifically, healthcare consulting case interviews will present a business problem for a healthcare client rather than a client in say the CPG industry.
Regardless of the fact that the healthcare consulting case study has a narrow sector focus, you will still be evaluated on the same criteria you would be in a generalist case study. Specifically, the interviewer will be looking for quantitative and qualitative analysis skills, business judgment skills, communication skills, etc. For the complete guide on case interviews, please see here.
Healthcare Consultant Certification
There are no formal healthcare consultant certifications needed. However, there are some specific degrees that may lend themselves to healthcare consulting, e.g., a PhD in biology, a masters in public health, etc. A science background is especially helpful (but not essential) if you want to work in the life sciences space within healthcare. The science background is helpful as you can truly understand the details behind some of your clients’ products. For example, if you are helping your client evaluate acquiring a biotech company, having a science background can enable you to understand the biotech company’s product and clinical pipeline.
Healthcare Consultant Resume
A healthcare consultant resume should have similar components of a regular generalist consultant resume. Aspects that your resume should have include:
- Action-oriented language which clearly shows your impact
- Relevant work experience
- Leadership activities
- Unique interests
- Correct formatting (1-page, parallel structure, and no grammatical errors)
For a complete guide on how to write your resume, please click here.
What differentiates a healthcare consultant resume from a generalist resume is what experiences you prioritize including. Specifically, in a healthcare consulting resume, you should prioritize your healthcare-related experiences. For example, it is helpful to highlight any healthcare-related work, clubs, or coursework. Highlighting this information is helpful as it can help signal to the interviewer that you are passionate about the industry.
Therefore, healthcare consulting is a way for you to quickly develop your subject matter expertise within the healthcare sector. As a healthcare consultant, you may focus on sub-sectors including pharmaceuticals, healthcare providers, and medical technology. You may also focus on functions including healthcare strategy, healthcare analytics, etc. In order to land an internship or full-time opportunity as a healthcare consultant, it is critical for you to exude your passion for the space. This passion can come out through: highlighting healthcare-related experience in your resume, showing off your healthcare knowledge in the interview process, etc. To get coached on how to land an opportunity in healthcare consulting with an ex-MBB consultant, click here.
- Do Bundled Payments Improve Healthcare?
- Top Consulting Firms of 2023
- Consulting Resume: Complete Guide
- Case Interview: Complete Prep Guide