Transforming health requires a comprehensive ecosystem approach that can improve care delivery, patient outcomes, and overall system efficiency.

Mayank Madhur, our next pathbreaker, Associate Practice Leader at HFS Research, focuses primarily on the healthcare and digital health industries, to help identify trends, conduct market research, and analyze the competitive landscape in the healthcare sector.

Mayank talks to Shyam Krishnamurthy from The Interview Portal about his exposure to the field of medical devices at HCL that sparked his enthusiasm for cutting edge technologies and their impact on healthcare.

For students, every bit of experience, no matter how big or small, plays a significant role in setting the stage for your future career goals !

Mayank, Your background?

I come from a service-class background – my father was a bank officer at the Indian Overseas Bank (IOB), while my mother devoted her time to being a homemaker. My brother, who is a year younger than me, and I shared our fair share of sibling squabbles while growing up.

I spent my early years in Ranchi, where my father was stationed. I completed my schooling at DAV Kapildev, where I didn’t have many notable accomplishments, but I did achieve good scores in my 10th and 12th grades. Additionally, I took on leadership roles as the House Vice Captain in classes 11 and 12. I consistently excelled in mathematics due to my strong interest in the subject.

During my school days, I had the opportunity to travel to various far-flung parts of India with my parents, an experience that shaped my worldview. My reading interests primarily revolved around fiction in my school and college years. However, as I grew older, I developed a taste for non-fiction, delving into books on diverse topics such as Indian history, mythology, investment, and the stock market.

What did you do for graduation/post-graduation?

I pursued a degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from JNNCE, Shimoga. Following my graduation, I joined HCL as a software engineer, where I had the opportunity to work in the medical device domain. This experience sparked my interest in healthcare and digital health.

After two years of working at HCL, I decided to further my education by pursuing an MBA from BITS Pilani. 

What were some of the influences that led you to such an offbeat, unconventional and uncommon career?

The decision to pursue an MBA was driven by my desire to expand my knowledge and skills, and better position myself for success in the ever-evolving field of digital health and technology. However, the decision wasn’t an easy one. Facing a cash crunch, I searched for a college with a high return on investment and was fortunate enough to secure a place at BITS Pilani. This prestigious institution is well-known in the field of engineering education.

The learning environment at BITS Pilani is quite refreshing, fostering relaxation, competitiveness, and a strong desire to learn. Beyond academics, there were numerous extracurricular activities to participate in. I was involved in organizing the management fest, which involved inviting various speakers and coordinating events. I managed both the logistics and IT aspects of the event along with my team. The 1.5 years I spent at BITS Pilani were an incredible learning experience.

During my final semester, I interned at Altimetrik, where I was fortunate to work under my manager, Mr. Kuldeep Sharma. He played an instrumental role in helping me transition into the corporate world. I worked in the pre-sales department, focusing on business research. Guidance from Mr. Kuldeep Sharma transformed my thought process and contributed to my personal growth, shaping me into a better individual.

How did you plan the steps to get into the career you wanted? Or how did you make a transition to a new career? Tell us about your career path

During my initial years of school and college, like many students, I didn’t have a specific or clear-cut career plan. Instead, I followed my parents’ wishes. After completing my 12th grade, I wanted to pursue hotel management due to my interest in cooking. However, like many middle-class parents, my parents encouraged me to join engineering coaching, which led me to take a gap year before enrolling in an engineering college.

Throughout my four years of college, I enjoyed my time and maintained good grades, but still lacked a clear vision for my future. It’s common in India for students to find their true calling only after completing their engineering degree. I eventually became a software engineer at HCL, where I discovered my interest in the medical device domain. 

During my tenure at HCL, I had the opportunity to work on a significant project involving a Class 3 medical device. Medical devices are classified based on the level of risk associated with their use, with Class 1 devices having the lowest level of risk, and Class 2 and Class 3 devices having moderate and high risk, respectively, on patient life.

In this project, I was involved in developing software for a medical device that delivered sedation to patients. As the module owner for the user interface module, I was responsible for managing the development of the user interface for the device, which required me to use a variety of programming languages and tools such as C, C++, Linux, Qt, and McCabe unit testing tool. Additionally, I worked on developing a program called wpa_supplicant, which controlled wireless connections in devices.

This experience was a pivotal point in my career, allowing me to gain valuable insights into software development for medical devices. I was surprised to discover the extent to which technology could be used in the field of medical devices. Working on Class 3 medical devices provided me with a comprehensive understanding of the regulatory requirements and standards that apply to these devices. This knowledge helped me see the bigger picture when the device underwent FDA approval.

However, I realized that if I wanted to advance further in this field, being a software engineer wouldn’t be enough, especially since I didn’t have a strong passion for coding. I decided to pursue an MBA to help me climb the ladder. I left HCL and enrolled in BITS Pilani’s MBA program, which proved to be a life-changing experience. The environment and projects at BITS taught me more than the MBA coursework itself.

During my MBA program, I interned at Altimetrik, where I received a pre-placement offer. I joined the company as an intern for the last six months of my studies, as part of BITS’ unique approach to preparing students for the corporate world. In addition to my internship, I had to submit a report on IoT, a topic I chose because of its relevance to digital health firms and medical devices – interests I carried over from my time at HCL.

At Altimetrik, I learned about corporate work and IoT projects from Mr. Kuldeep, who was instrumental in my growth. Working in strategic research and pre-sales exposed me to clients’ needs and helped me understand various business use cases. After completing my internship, I joined Altimetrik full-time.

During my tenure at Altimetrik, I gained invaluable experience in strategic business research, which has significantly influenced my current career direction. My work at Altimetrik provided me with a strong foundation in identifying business needs, analyzing market trends, and developing strategic solutions. Additionally, my final semester project on IoT deepened my knowledge of the IoT domain and broadened my understanding of the competitive landscape within the industry, allowing me to focus on pinpointing growth opportunities and key players in the market.

At Altimetrik, I had the opportunity to work on a diverse range of projects, such as a consulting project for the expansion of fintech in India, mainframe-to-cloud migration, and software implementation for wearable devices. These experiences allowed me to gain a comprehensive understanding of various aspects of the industry, which has proven invaluable in my current endeavours.

Next, I had an opportunity to join HFS Research, which was starting its industry research division. I was hired to support the lead analyst across various sectors, including healthcare, life sciences, banking, and manufacturing.

My keen interest in IoT continued to grow, and I eventually focused on the healthcare industry. I was fortunate to work with Mr. Rohan Kulkarni, who taught me about healthcare beyond our research projects. I started covering the Indian healthcare market, gaining an understanding of the Ayushman Bharat scheme, the backbone of India’s healthcare system. I also began reaching out to digital health firms to learn from them.

I am still a learner, growing and evolving each day. There is much to be accomplished, especially in India’s healthcare sector, which has only just begun to explore its potential.

How did you get your first break?

My initial breakthrough occurred after finishing my engineering degree and joining HCL as a software engineer. Even though I didn’t have a definite career path in mind at that time, my experience at HCL led me to develop a strong interest in the medical device domain. Through hard work and determination, I became a UI developer for medical device screens, setting the stage for future career development. This journey sparked my enthusiasm for the medical device field, inspiring me to seek additional education and explore career opportunities within the healthcare sector.

What were some of the challenges you faced? How did you address them?

One of the biggest challenges I faced was learning to conduct rigorous research in healthcare and digital health. Coming from an electrical/electronics background along with an MBA, healthcare was slightly off-topic for me. To overcome this, I had to learn from various websites and read a multitude of articles to understand the related work in the field.

Having the guidance and support of mentors like Mr. Rohan Kulkarni during this journey was invaluable. I would share my understanding with him, and he would promptly provide detailed feedback within just a few hours. I am still working with him, and as I’ve mentioned, every day presents a new learning opportunity. The more I explore, the more I learn, and I feel as though I have only grasped a single drop of water from the vast sea of knowledge.

Another challenge I face is my introverted nature, which I am actively working on by engaging in more conversations and interactions with others.

Where do you work now? What problems do you solve?

I currently work at HFS Research as an Associate Practice Leader, focusing primarily on the healthcare and digital health industries. While I work on healthcare topics worldwide, I am striving to become an expert in the Indian healthcare and digital health markets. Typically, I help identify trends, conduct market research, and analyze the competitive landscape in the healthcare sector, including digital health. I also examine the impact of emerging technologies, such as IoT, on healthcare. Additionally, I try to connect the dots of my studies to understand the triple aim of care, social determinants of health, and a variety of other aspects, particularly from an Indian perspective.

At HFS Research, our healthcare research encompasses a broad array of aspects, aiming to deliver comprehensive insights into the healthcare industry. We consider the various stakeholders and their impact on the sector. Our primary clients are IT firms in India, which we support with their healthcare-related offerings by providing expert advice or collaborating on go-to-market projects.

In addition, we serve healthcare enterprises interested in exploring current and future healthcare and digital health trends. We guide them through these trends by offering strategic direction and recommendations. A significant focus of our research lies in the analysis of new technology adoption, such as telemedicine, electronic health records, and IoT in healthcare. This enables our clients to make well-informed investment decisions.

Our research seeks to empower IT firms and medical enterprises to stay ahead of the curve by leveraging emerging trends, addressing challenges, and making strategic decisions that drive growth and success in the constantly evolving healthcare landscape.

In response to India’s rapidly changing ecosystem, we strive to remain at the forefront by continuously updating ourselves with upcoming changes and trends. We actively engage with stakeholders to share our insights, gather their perspectives, and maintain a holistic understanding of the industry. This collaborative approach enables us to provide well-informed recommendations and research to our clients, helping them adapt and flourish in the dynamic market landscape.

What skills are needed for the job? How did you acquire the skills?

My role requires strong analytical abilities, adept research skills, excellent written and verbal communication, and a comprehensive understanding of the healthcare industry and related technologies. I gained these skills through my engineering degree, MBA program, internships, and previous work experiences at HCL and Altimetrik. Moreover, Mr. Rohan Kulkarni is playing a pivotal role in helping me hone these competencies. To further expand my skill set, I dedicate time to reading extensively and obtaining various certifications.

What’s a typical day like?

A typical day at work involves reviewing industry news and updates, conducting research on specific topics, analyzing data, and preparing reports. I also attend meetings with colleagues and mentors to discuss project progress, share insights, and plan future research activities. 

What is it you love about this job?

I love that my job allows me to constantly learn and grow in the healthcare field, which I am passionate about. It is exciting to contribute to research that can potentially shape the future of healthcare and improve people’s lives. 

How does your work benefit society? 

As a budding analyst in the healthcare and digital health sectors, I am determined to grow into an expert whose views and insights hold significant influence. My work currently contributes to the change I wish to see in the world by focusing on the Indian healthcare and digital health markets and helping develop strategies and innovative solutions tailored to the unique needs of the local population.

I believe that transforming healthcare requires a comprehensive ecosystem approach, and I am dedicated to playing an active role in this process as I continue to learn and grow. My work drives positive change by identifying cutting-edge technologies, best practices, and opportunities that can improve healthcare delivery, patient outcomes, and overall system efficiency.

In the long run, my aspiration is to become a respected and influential figure in the healthcare industry, with my views and insights significantly impacting healthcare policy and decision-making. This ambition fuels my continuous pursuit of learning, growth, and contributions to societal betterment, ultimately enhancing the well-being of individuals and communities in India and beyond.

Tell us an example of a specific memorable work you did that is very close to you!

While I don’t have one specific project that stands out as the most memorable, I am constantly striving to learn and improve in my work. Every day presents new opportunities to expand my knowledge and skills, and I find that the more I learn, the better I am able to perform in my role.

Your advice to students based on your experience?

Based on my experience, I would offer the following advice to students:

  1. Explore your passions and interests: Don’t be afraid to try new things and step outside your comfort zone. This will help you discover what truly excites you and guide you in choosing a fulfilling career path.
  1. Embrace lifelong learning: Stay curious and committed to learning, as it will help you grow both personally and professionally. Take advantage of educational opportunities, attend workshops, and participate in relevant courses to enhance your skills and knowledge.
  1. Develop strong networking skills: Building a solid network of contacts is crucial for career growth and can be invaluable in the long run. Attend industry events, join professional associations, and engage with people in your desired field through social media platforms. I must admit, I am still working on improving my networking skills, but I highly encourage students to start early and actively work on this aspect of their professional development.
  1. Cultivate resilience and adaptability: Be prepared for challenges and setbacks along the way and learn from them. Developing resilience and adaptability will help you navigate through difficult situations and find new opportunities.
  1. Don’t be afraid to seek guidance and mentorship: Look for mentors who can offer valuable insights, advice, and support based on their experience. They can help you navigate your career journey and provide perspective during challenging times.
  1. Set realistic goals and work diligently towards them: Establish clear, achievable objectives for your career and personal development, and create a plan to reach those goals. Stay focused and committed and be patient as you work towards your aspirations.
  1. Understand the importance of financial literacy: I cannot stress enough the significance of learning about the power of compounding, budgeting, saving, and investing early in your life. Developing financial literacy will set you up for long-term financial success and stability. I personally learned this quite late, and I want to emphasize the value of grasping these concepts sooner rather than later, as it can make a considerable difference in your financial well-being.

Remember that every individual’s journey is unique, so stay true to yourself and trust in your abilities. Embrace new experiences, learn from your mistakes, and stay focused on your goals, and you’ll be well-prepared for a successful and fulfilling career.

Future Plans?

In the future, I aspire to become an expert in healthcare and digital health, with a strong emphasis on the Indian market. My objective is to deepen my knowledge and understanding of these fields. To achieve this, I plan to attend industry events, build connections with like-minded professionals, and learn from their experiences. Continuous learning will be integral to my journey as I aim to refine my skills and expertise to stay ahead of the evolving healthcare landscape. Of course, achieving my goals will take time and dedication, but I am committed to making them a reality.