Jeremy Lim – Head of Health & Life Sciences Asia Pacific Region – Oliver Wyman
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Many aspire to reach the upper echelon of the healthcare industry, but few are able to successfully navigate the corporate ladder. As Asia becomes the world epicenter of the healthcare industry, C-Suite Partners sits down with international healthcare executives asking the tough questions and unpacking the personalities of the top industry leaders.
Welcome to the boardroom.
Michael Murray 0:35
Jeremy, thank you for joining C-Suite Partners in the boardroom.
Jeremy Lin 0:37
You are most welcome. Thank you.
Michael Murray 0:40
Talk me through your career today.
Jeremy Lin 0:42
Like most doctors, I entered into medical school, thinking I will practice medicine and that’s what I did for a number of years. And after finishing graduate training in surgery, I then took a year off to more formally study public health, because I was taking a month off work every year to volunteer in various medical conditions, Indonesia, Vietnam, and so on. And I thought that after mucking around in other people’s countries for a number of years, I really shouldn’t get the proper education as to what are the sort of things that create the most impact, that really create the most value. And so I took a year off and went to graduate school in the US. And when I came back, I came back spec’ing to SAS in 2003 and I’ve been last 15 years, and then a variety of roles in both the public as well as in the private sectors and then six years ago, I moved into consulting, and I’m the founding partner of the Oliver Wyman Healthcare Practice here in Asia.
Michael Murray 1:42
What do you think are the key differences between public and private given you’ve played on both sides?
Jeremy Lin 1:49
Personally, I think it’s much harder to be a public sector, hospitals CEO. One is that the KPIs, the key performance indicators are not always clear. public hospital CEOs need to balance a whole basket of often contradictory indicators. You want to be financially sustainable, you want staff to be happy to be made to be motivated, manage the attrition rates, you want to provide good service. But in the private hospitals, there’s only one metric which is financial and both in the short term, and that’s mainly in the short term, but also in the long term, because reputation helps, helps the company’s revenue. The real customer in the private hospital is the doctor. And I think it’s been famously said, I think by the folks in 1973, that the hospitals don’t have patients, hospitals and doctors, and doctors have patients. And what this really means is that the is that the hospital CEO, really managers, the doctors, especially this superstar, very high volume doctors, and how to get them to have lots of options as to where to practice. Why should they come to your hospital,
Michael Murray 3:09
A nd everyone looks at China as this opportunity within healthcare. But a lot of the businesses from around the world find it somewhat difficult to penetrate that market. What do you attribute that to?
Jeremy Lin 3:22
I think a couple of reasons. The first is that China is not like any other country. China doesn’t want to be like any other country. So it sees foreign businesses, foreign nationals as essentially guest the guest provided an opportunity to earn a good living. And the quid pro quo is that the expectation, we will impart skills, we will transfer intellectual property technical expertise. And when China has developed enough of these, then it very can reasonably ask the question, why should you still be here? What is your value compared to one of the locals, so businesses that want to go in the one to enter into China profitably, and on a sustainable basis, need to understand that the Chinese government sees their presence not as a god-given right, but as a privilege that the government accords and the Chinese are very, very fervent learners, once they have learned, they want to do better, and if you’ve got no new tricks up your sleeve, don’t have another rabbit to pull out of the hat, the it’s goodbye. Yes. So you do have to keep constantly innovating.
Michael Murray 4:38
What would you look for in terms of executives joining your team?
Jeremy Lin 4:44
I think the metaphor of a Swiss Army Knife would come to mind. I betray my vintage. But you remember the old TV series MacGyver
Michael Murray 4:53
Jeremy Lin 4:54
A lot of healthcare here in Asia is very scrappy. Okay. Going into virgin territories, really solving problems as they emerge and as Mike Tyson says, everyone has a plan until you get punched in the face. Yes. And in Asia, you get punched in the face every single day. Yes. Right. So you not only need to figure out how to react quickly, we offer nothing by your wits, but they gotta have that tenacity and resilience to pick yourself up. And really just get on with it.
Michael Murray 5:27
So what do you think in terms of the trend of you must have an MBA, if you want to be an executive position as opposed to 15 or 20 years of experience?
Jeremy Lin 5:37
I will pick experience over an MBA or any paper qualification. And I will say that beyond a certain vintage, nobody really cares where you went to school. Yes. Because you’ve gone through the University of life, and your track record speaks for itself, for better or worse. Yes. So but if you’re a young person, I do sympathize with the need to differentiate. Yes, and oftentimes, when faced with so many applications, that will be usually either a either a fairly junior person filtering, or there’ll be some automated process that will filter and therefore some of these academic qualifications and MBA or an Ivy League school, become necessary to get through the front door.
Michael Murray 6:29
If you think about your career, how would you want your legacy to be viewed?
Jeremy Lin 6:36
I certainly hope you will behave of a people-driven legacy. Hopefully, every organisation that I’ve left, is is left in a better position and more importantly than the people who have interacted with and in particular, people who supervise and have coached have become better people have become more valuable to society and also to themselves.
Michael Murray 7:05
We’ll finish it there. Jeremy, thank you for spending time with C-Suite Partners in the boardroom.
Jeremy Lin 7:09
Thank you very much.