David Kline has been a leader in strategic marketing for more than 28 years. For the last 12, he’s worked for CVS Health, the retail pharmacy and healthcare company that is ranked seventh on the Fortune 500 list. When the company announced its bid to acquire a health insurance giant, Kline was excited about the possibilities. He reflected on the implications of the corporate merger and asked himself, “What more could I do?”
As the Director of Channel Marketing Strategy, Kline has in-depth knowledge about Medicare programs, but felt he lacked policy chops. In order to bridge that gap and bring additional value to CVS Health, he made the decision to go back to school. Kline explains, “The CVS team is looking for ways to transform health care. I want to be part of that change. The new iteration of our company is going to need people who deeply understand health care policy and have a track record of implementing strategic change.”
Already armed with an MBA from Columbia University, Kline was convinced he could better position himself as a key asset to CVS Health by earning a master’s degree in health policy, but he needed to find the right program. “I didn’t want a program that was just going to offer me another MBA with a health care focus,” says Kline.
When he learned about the Double Executive Masters in Health Policy at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and the London School of Economics and Political Science, he was impressed. The opportunity to concurrently earn an MA in public policy and an MSc in health economics and policy from two world-renowned institutions was just what Kline had hoped to find.
“The Chicago-LSE program stood out as unique. The curriculum goes beyond what I learned in business school and combines health care policy with economics,” says Kline. “I also appreciate that it’s an immersive program that will allow me to develop relationships with my colleagues and professors in real time.”
The two-year program engages participants in four full-time, two-to-three week teaching blocks, rotating from the London School of Economics campus to that of the University of Chicago. Participants also remotely complete two summer practica: a capstone project at the end of the first year, and a written dissertation at the close of the second.
“The idea of working on a capstone and dissertation while working full-time can seem daunting,” says Kline. “However, in the Chicago-LSE program, it’s really appealing because it’s done in an incubator-like setting. I will be getting a jump start on projects that matter most to me and that I want to enact when the program is over.”
One of those projects will undoubtedly deal with developing lower-cost models for health care delivery, a major pain point in American health care, says Kline. “I want to help shape the future of how healthcare is purchased and received.”
“The double executive masters program will enhance my ability to deliver results for CVS Health by providing a broader view on cost, quality, and access to care. It will expand my industry knowledge and public policy understanding,” Kline says. “Our company will greatly benefit from strategic thinkers who understand health policy and health economics. Through my participation in the Chicago-LSE program, I will position myself to be one of those thought leaders.”