From failing medical school to building a company

 

 

Usually stories end with a lesson but today, I would like to start with one. Never assume you will make it all by yourself. And never underestimate someone else’s help. It could change your life – At least it did for me. 

 

After finishing high school in Switzerland, I decided I wanted to apply to medical school in Paris. I was 18 and I knew for sure that I wanted to become a doctor. In France, before getting into medical school, one has to pass a very competitive exam where only 300 people out of 2,500 are allowed to continue on to pursue their medical degree. Unfortunately, I wasn’t part of those lucky 300, despite all my efforts. I was devastated. Without much enthusiasm, I applied to what seemed to be the closest thing to medical studies: Pharmaceutical Sciences.

 

After 6 months of University I understood three things:

  1. Pharmaceutical sciences were actually very interesting, combining both scientific and business-oriented courses.
  2. I was so happy I hadn’t gone into medicine.
  3. Although pharmaceutical sciences were great, I wasn’t going to pursue a classical career in the pharmaceutical industry.

 

With this in mind, I knew I had to find what I truly loved and pursue a career in that field. I started reading about the healthcare industry and future trends. This was 5 years ago and, at that time, one had to be blind not to see that all signs pointing in one single direction: digital health.

 

Reading about digital health was great, but I wanted to understand the practice of digital health. So, I decided to participate in a hackathon. I don’t think I am exaggerating in any way when I say that this experience changed everything from me. Suddenly I was surrounded by new technologies, entrepreneurs, healthcare all in one place. I knew in that moment that I want to be an entrepreneur. I wanted to create and innovate, all while making a difference in patients’ lives through digital healthcare. This was it. I wasn’t going to treat patients in hospitals, I was going to participate in creating the tools that will build tomorrow’s health system.

 

I came out of the hackathon with a strong objective, but no clue as to how to achieve it. Luckily, around the same time, I was also told that I could apply for a business degree in parallel with my pharmaceutical sciences studies. I thought this was a great idea and knew it would help me gain the tools needed to become an entrepreneur. So, I went for it!

 

During my first year of business school, I met a teacher that told me about something called Blockchain technology. I felt like a lot of people were talking about it at that point but no one really understood the impact it could have on healthcare. Therefore, with the help of my teacher and successful serial-entrepreneur, I started my journey to understanding the potential of this technology in my industry. Finally, I had a precise goal and a plan achieve it.

 

Discovering Blockchain technology felt like opening a good book and never wanting to close it again. But, understanding the technology was not enough anymore, I had to share my knowledge with everyone else. This is what convinced me to write articles to try to explain everything I had learned thus far. I became among the first people to specialize my research on the impact of blockchain in all the aspects of healthcare.

 

Fast forward a couple of months and people started contacting me to write for them or speak at their events. I couldn’t believe it.

 

At that point, I was still in my 4th year of my pharmaceutical sciences degree with two more long and grueling years ahead of me before obtaining my Pharm.D. Despite my preconceptions, the faculty staff appeared extremely supportive of my activities and encouraged me to pursue.

 

Professionals from the healthcare industry continued to reach out to me to learn more about blockchain technology. They were seeking help with their projects and asked me if I could support them. This is when the idea of creating a digital health consulting company emerged. With two other partners, we decided we were going to call it 23 Consulting. Why? Because our goal was to bring together international experts and create unique solutions for our clients, just like the 23 chromosomes of our genome combine to create a unique individual. We know how difficult it is to innovate in the healthcare sector and we also know that each company has its own processes and limitations. We wanted to address all these problems in a personalized way.

 

We created the company six months before graduation. And since we hadn’t finished our studies yet, we had to take it slow and work after classes and on weekends. But, the demand was still there. We spent those months dreaming about the time when we could finally work full time for our company and do the work we loved for a living!

 

Those six months have passed and the time is finally here! 23 Consulting is now advancing at full speed to support all healthcare organizations with their blockchain initiatives. I am extremely happy to work towards achieving my dreams and I want to share my journey with you. I am passionate about what I do, I love every second of it and I want you to join the adventure. So, stay tuned. There is more to come. Much more!

 

 

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