Global Business School for Health


MBA Health Student Spotlight: Han Liew

1 June 2022

We speak to Han Liew, who will be joining the first-ever cohort for the innovative UCL MBA Health in September 2022, about his background, career goals and why he's excited to be a student at the UCL Global Business School for Health.

Han Liew

Tell me more about your background – It would be great to find out more about your education and career so far.

Upon graduation from Nanyang Polytechnic in Singapore, I started as a junior nurse working in an acute hospital, On a daily basis, I worked together with a team of nurses, making collaborative decisions with medical doctors, and allied health, patient families for providing care to the patient. This is where I strengthened my knowledge and skills. To further advance my nursing knowledge, I did my bachelor of nursing at the University of Sydney. From here I started to gain interest in research studies. After graduating from the University of Sydney, I worked in a Nursing Research Unit, where I facilitated research activities, promoting evidence-based practices in nursing. 

During the pandemic, I was deployed to a pandemic ICU, exposing me to new work procedures and allowing me to pick up valuable skills and experience in managing complex cases. I now work as a Senior Charge Nurse. Besides actively practising in the clinical area, I’m also involved in revising clinical and operation workflow processes and leading clinical initiatives that aim to enhance patient safety and improve productivity. I was also given the opportunity to precept new staff and student nurses. this allowed me to impart my clinical knowledge and experience to them and provide guidance in translating theory into practice. 

In terms of my portfolio, I have never ever changed my roles but keep adding them across community, population and acute health. In the next stage of my career, I would like to sharpen my leadership and management skills through the UCL MBA Health.

Why did you choose to apply for the UCL MBA Health?

Becoming a UCL GBSH student means I become part of one of the world’s most vibrant cities and UCL MBA Health is the world’s first B-school dedicated to health and healthcare management. Healthcare is a complex system, therefore it is beneficial to have that cross-disciplinary approach in the UCL MBA Health.

At UCL, there is a group of experts including health and medical professionals as well as business management who will provide us with a great breadth of knowledge and experience and will stimulate innovative responses to complex health challenges.

As a clinician, my training was very much focused on clinical knowledge and skills. I have witnessed the impact of good management skills in providing better care and better outcomes. However, in my current role, I’m using my intuition and past experiences in guiding my decision making. Therefore, I decided to go for UCL MBA Health to further strengthen my leadership and strategic management skills.

What aspect of the UCL MBA Health programme are you most excited by?

The two aspects that excite me the most are the Global Health Challenge and the Health Consultancy Project. I’m very much looking forward to travelling with my coursemates next year to the assigned country to work on the Global Healthcare Challenge. As we will be undertaking primary research and performing data collection, I hope that this would give me further practical-based skills and experience. Next would be the Health Consultancy Project - this final part of the programme will provide me with further hands-on experience in consulting, and build on my consultancy skills in helping clients in solving complex business problems

I believe that these two aspects will greatly broaden my learning experience and certainly boost up my portfolio. I believe these opportunities will diversify my exposure, prepare me to better deal with the challenges of the healthcare sector in the near future and allow me to positively contribute back to society. 
Is healthcare management an area more business schools should be exploring? If so, why?

Yes, certainly. There is always a dilemma in healthcare settings, the “Iron Triangle”, access, coverage and costs. Generally, it is difficult to have a low-cost, high quality and wide access healthcare system. In this industry, it requires leaders that navigate in the midst of disruption-from shifting government regulation and technological innovation to business competition and patients’ demands and expectations. A healthcare management programme enables us to see the healthcare process from an efficient perspective that will bring down the costs without dragging down the quality. Healthcare is a business, yet is unlike any other business. Whilst it benefits from practices that drive innovation and growth, it can’t run as if it’s a “product” to buy and sell.

In many countries, considering rapid ageing populations, increasing health costs, digital health transformations, and patients/taxpayer's have higher expectations of healthcare than ever before. There is a constantly increasing need for experts in operational management, to come in and find ways to deliver more efficient and affordable care to a greater number of patients. Besides that, there is a need to address the healthcare workforce shortage. Solutions such as rebalancing healthcare tasks (e..g redesigning nurse's roles and responsibilities by clearly defining clinical and non-clinical tasks), developing new care models (e.g. integrating healthcare, focusing on prevention, surveillance and ambulatory care at the community level), harness technology (by using effectively adopt meaningful technology innovation that benefits the workforce and patients). All these required experts and business points of view to drive these changes.

Therefore, in summary, healthcare management is an area more business schools should be exploring.

What value do you feel a UCL MBA Health will add to your career moving forward?

As a clinician, I’m very focused on the clinical area, however, as my role expands I’m taking up more leadership roles. While I love creating impact at the patient level on a daily basis, my clinical skills didn’t fully prepare me to create a systemic level impact. I am looking forward to learning more about how to strategically execute the ideas, manage my resources and people, run and grow my department, and improve efficiency and productivity. 

What advice would you give to prospective students thinking about applying for the UCL MBA Health?

Timing is everything - start early! This is very essential as it gives you ample time throughout the application process, such as preparing your CV, academic transcript and your personal statement. Writing a personal statement is all about you, it helps you to share who you are beyond your grades and how your life experiences have shaped your academic interest and goals in life.

Talk to your friends, mentors and professional colleagues. Their knowledge, network, and skill set can complement yours. If your friend is in a different field or works for a different organization, they can often offer you deeper career insights. As long as they offer something different from what you already know, you can learn from that too. Besides that, because of your friendship, they know you, your past challenges and your future goals, they may have seen you develop as a person and likely have a holistic view of your personal strengths. They know what you’re looking for out of life and can likely advise you on how to get there faster. Last but not least, get in touch with the GBSH Admission team.

If your future goal is in healthcare, or you have ambitions of improving healthcare, there is no better time than now to apply for the UCL MBA Health! To those thinking about applying to UCL MBA Health, I strongly encourage you to go for it. Be the change you want to be. 

Start your application journey today