Mireia Feliu: “Working in the healthcare sector makes you feel like a superhero”
Mireia Feliu studied International Business and Marketing, a degree with countless professional paths. “I wanted to do a master or postgraduate degree but I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do,” she confesses. “I come from a family of doctors, so the healthcare sector interested me.” In 2018, she did the Design Health Barcelona (d·HEALTH Barcelona) program, which trains future healthcare innovators and entrepreneurs and is geared towards graduates with degrees in business, like Mireia, or design, engineering or science. “d·HEALTH isn’t just any old program; it’s nothing like the other masters and postgraduate programs out there,” she sums up. “It is much more tangible and applicable: your day-to-day isn’t in a classroom taking notes and tests. You go to a hospital, learn from what goes on there and transform the way you look at things.”
Like 95% of the program alumni, Mireia found a job in the healthcare sector just months after graduating and is now working in the Marketing department at a multinational medical device corporation.
What is the draw of the healthcare sector for a student or professional trained in areas that seem so different, like economics, business or marketing?
Above all, the healthcare sector has a very emotional side. That’s what made me decide to follow this path. At the end of the day, you know your job is doing things to help improve other people’s lives. Working in the healthcare sector sometimes makes you feel like a superhero when a patient thanks you because, in your own way, you’ve done your part to change their life. From a practical standpoint, the healthcare sector is full of professional opportunities and needs more and more profiles, and more diverse ones.
In this regard, 95% of Design Health Barcelona alumni find work when they finish the program. What was your experience?
Four months after graduation, I joined a multinational medical-equipment corporation, Smith & Nephew, where I am Junior Marketing Manager in the medical device unit of the Wound Management Department. As a marketing department, you have to know your client to adapt the messages. In my case, the clients are doctors, nurses… Thanks to the clinical immersion I did at the hospital during the Design Health Barcelona program, I know what these professionals do every day and I can understand their point of view and adapt our work to them.
What surprised you most about the d·HEALTH Barcelona fellowship?
The clinical immersion, no question. For someone like me, who had only been in the hospital visiting other people, there is quite an impact when you walk in, put on your white coat and participate in the day-to-day of the medical teams. I have to confess, I almost fainted in the ICU on my first day! But the most surprising is being able to deal with patients and see what their experience at the hospital is like. In our case, my team was working on a project for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). I had no idea what COPD was, or the problems these patients face, but developing the project gave me a new vision.
Your d·HEALTH Barcelona teammates are an engineer and a biomedical specialist. What was that multidisciplinary challenge like for you guys?
Professionals with very different profiles coming together to work towards a common goal is a challenge you later face in your professional career, where each person has a different way of working or of looking at life. During d·HEALTH Barcelona, you get excellent coaching on how to work as a team and deal with the hard times, which you can later apply in any company, or even in your personal life.
The program really stresses teamwork and other soft skills. How can you apply this learning in your professional life?
You leave d·HEALTH Barcelona with an innovative mentality that allows you to switch up how things are being done to improve them. Smith & Nephew is a multinational corporation, so their pace is different from a start-up. But we’re changing the way things are done and, for example, we’re using design thinking (another noteworthy element from my time in d·HEALTH Barcelona) so the doctors help us co-create our proposals.
If you have background in Life Sciences, Engineering, Business and Design and you want to follow Mireia Feliu’steps, Biocat has open the selection for students of its 7th Design Health Barcelona (d·HEALTH Barcelona) edition, a postgraduate program to develop innovators and entrepreneurs in the healthcare sector, with starting date in January, 2020. The 95% of the previous editions participants have found a job in the healthcare sector and 30% of them started their own business project. Following the Stanford biodesign methodology, participants experience a full cycle of innovation. The fellows divide into multidisciplinary teams and do a two-month clinical immersion in top hospitals in Barcelona to detect real unmet clinical needs on site that can be the basis for creating new products or services. More info: http://dhealthbcn.moebio.org