Raised in a family of physicians, Abhay Nihalani was almost inevitably drawn to a health-related career. “Half the world has still not had their health care needs met,” says Nihalani. Yet, he says, “with the kind of affordable technology solutions we can build now, the options are limitless.”
A global product manager for GE Healthcare (an $18 billion unit of General Electric), Nihalani has led the company’s initiative to conceive, develop, and market Vscan Access, a sturdy, low-cost ultrasound device designed to improve maternal health care in remote regions of developing nations. “It’s been quite amazing to see the whole process from start to finish,” he says.
With a BS in biomedical engineering from Columbia University, Nihalani, who grew up in New Jersey, initially aspired to a career in artificial organ design. Instead, he went on to serve for nearly three years as a business analyst and staff consultant focusing on health informatics and global solutions at CSC Consulting. That real-world experience led him to enter Berkeley’s MBA/MPH program in global health policy and management. “I needed to learn how to wield the principles of business for the purpose of creating not just financial value but also social value and development,” he says.
Posted first to Jakarta, Indonesia, then to Singapore, Nihalani spent his first several months at GE Healthcare interviewing midwives, clinicians, and officials in far-flung areas of Africa and Southeast Asia about the obstacles they faced in helping women survive pregnancy and childbirth. “I didn’t come in with a theory at the beginning,” he says, referencing the Haas Defining Principle Students Always. “That idea of inquiry, of humbleness, has been so helpful. Without really listening, I would not be successful.” —AS
Product Marketing Manager, GE Healthcare,