Learning the Healthcare Ropes in Russia
By Joshua Tuck
In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Master of Business Administration and Leadership (MBAL) program at the University of Charleston School of Business, I completed an international summer internship in healthcare management in Moscow, Russia. For a total of 45 days, I worked at the central office of MyClinic, a wholly owned subsidiary of the global financial services company Allianz. This unique learning opportunity was made possible through the collaboration of Grace Vandecruze-Heyliger, Managing Director of Grace Global Capital LLC, with Wolfgang Wand, Deputy Chairman of Allianz Eurasia and CEO of MyClinic.
My experiences led me to observe interesting topics such as business culture and work environment, Russian entrepreneurship, and cultural differences. All can be described through a combination of my unique experience of this historical place with the voices of those I was privileged to meet, but more importantly and practically can be given meaning in piecing these moments together. As a result, my personal and professional development through this internship has been an experience that I hope all aspiring leaders within healthcare systems and life-long learners of different cultures have the opportunity to take advantage of.
MyClinic is specialized for business development in Russia under Allianz Eurasia, which has grown to be the leader in providing Voluntary Medical Insurance (VMI) in Russia. Originally, the 3 clinics of MyClinic operated under Allianz in a closed-market network of clinics. However in 2009, to capitalize on the expanding market for quality care, Allianz decided to reorganize these clinics to create MyClinic as an open-market business offering services to customers from multiple insurance providers, as well as customers paying out of pocket. Now, MyClinic is a unique and exciting entrepreneurial project in a growing market with aspirations to create a network of 27 clinics in 3 regions of Russia, 9 in each region.
The transition occurring in the Russian healthcare system now is one with much uncertainty, but also with great potential and optimism. Only days after my celebrating American Independence while in Russia, I cannot help but think that a society with the option to create its own story for success in healthcare or in other industries regardless of the hurdles is an incredible success in itself. Competition is a driving force for the market, challenging MyClinic to create a brand recognized for quality while balancing cost control and differentiation. The capacity to solve problems with limited data in an unpredictable environment creates great potential for leaders to succeed.
From a global perspective, the cooperation for an American business student to intern at a Russian healthcare provider owned by a German Insurance company is a testament to global coordination in business. Narrowing down to the community, the commonality I found at MyClinic with businesses across West Virginia is the incredible drive for success in an uncertain but increasingly competitive market. The healthcare regulations and payment methods differ, but the satisfaction in growing a company from nothing to success regardless of the obstacles is the driving force I witnessed in MyClinic’s team to create solutions and reach their goals.
For more information on UC’s innovative MBAL program, visit: www.ucwv.edu/business/mbal