Niyum Gandhi, EVP & Chief Population Health Officer, Mount Sinai Health System
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your career path since you left Oliver Wyman?I left Oliver Wyman in 2015 to take a role as the EVP and Chief Population Health Officer at Mount Sinai Health System in New York. I had been at Oliver Wyman for almost 10 years, and had never worked anywhere else (I even did my college internship at OW!), so it has certainly been a new experience.
What does a typical day look like for you? What do you most look forward to?
The activities of a typical day are pretty much the same for me as they were at Oliver Wyman – back-to-back meetings all day, followed by a dinner meeting most evenings, and then catching up on emails at night – and flights on Monday AM and Thursday PM (I still live in Chicago and commute). So not much of a change there! Depending on the day, what I look forward to most varies, but one meeting that I look forward to every week is our weekly executive leadership team meeting. It’s a 90-minute agenda-less meeting that allows our small leadership team to deal with the highest priority issues at the intersection of urgent and important, get on the same page, and problem solve a path forward. It’s a regular reinforcement that we’re truly a team working towards a common goal.
How is what you’re doing now similar to what you did at Oliver Wyman? How is it different?
The content is very similar – my team at Mount Sinai is responsible for the same functions that I most regularly consulted on while at Oliver Wyman. The biggest difference is that my team is also responsible for the actual implementation and operations of our population health efforts, so I find that I’m learning a lot from them on the nuances and operational complexities of what we’re trying to achieve. It’s been fascinating and humbling to have a team full of really bright people and know that because of their depth of content knowledge in their specific areas (contracting, care management, analytics, clinical program design, etc.), there’s no way I’d be qualified to do their jobs!
What skills did you acquire at Oliver Wyman that have helped you throughout your career?
The most important skill I learned at Oliver Wyman was how to quickly assess and understand people’s motivations and drivers, and then modulate my engagement of them accordingly. Consulting is not at all an ideas business – it’s a people business. And since our only way as consultants to have an impact was to influence our clients to take (or not take) action, I believe Oliver Wyman helps consultants build a toolkit of influence tactics and trains them to identify which ones to use in which situations with which people. Some people want to be involved early and often; some just want to be told how they can help; some respond best to ideas that come from their boss; some respond best when ideas come from their most trusted employees; and so on. At Oliver Wyman, we practiced identifying these dynamics and acting accordingly all the time in selling and executing our work, and the same skills help me get my current work done much more efficiently and effectively, because every business is just as much of a people business and consulting is.
What do you miss most about being at Oliver Wyman?
This may sounds cliché, but I miss the people. I really enjoy working with my current colleagues; however, there’s an energy embedded within the culture of Oliver Wyman that I think is at least in part driven by the repeated influx of a new group of highly motivated and incredibly intelligent people every year to keep the rest of us on our toes – and I miss that. Plus, many of my closest friends are my former colleagues from Oliver Wyman. Fortunately, the folks in the OW Chicago office have been kind enough to let me crash the occasional office Happy Hour without making me feel like a creepy alum who can’t let go!
What are you reading?
The Oliver Wyman Global Alumni Newsletter! No, seriously, I find myself reading a lot of short pieces that are related to innovation in the healthcare industry. It was so easy to keep up with what was going on across the industry when I was a consultant – not even directly for work purposes, but just in terms of hearing about interesting things going on at various organizations – and I find that I miss that and end up reading a lot more to get that fix.