Quick Facts

Name: Avantika Handa

Class of: 2012

Hometown: Miami, FL

Majors: Economics, Political Science

Current Occupation: Graduate Student

Words of Wisdom: Every class I took helped me develop a skill and that is what you have to think about in academic planning.

Avantika Handa, Class of 2012TU Symbol - Profile Pic

Graduate Student, Master of Health Administration
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Tell us about yourself.  How did you come to Tulane?
I am originally from Miami, Florida. After Hurricane Katrina passed through South Florida before it hit New Orleans, I started volunteering with the Red Cross and really started my journey on community service. The emphasis that Tulane places on service learning, the Community Service Scholars program, and the strong academics led me to apply to Tulane. The rest is history!


Bachelor of Arts, Economics                                       2012
Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana

Master of Health Administration                                  2014 anticipated
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland

Present Day

What do you do?
As a 2nd year MHA student, I am currently completing my administrative residency at Sibley Memorial Hospital, a member of Johns Hopkins Medicine in DC. My duties and responsibilities include working with the executive team to:

-Coordinate patient safety initiatives such as the Comprehensive Unit Safety Program (CUSP)
-Develop healthcare innovation programs at Sibley
-Conduct strategic planning and adjust our hospital strategy in response to the changing competitive health care market and health care legislation
-Manage relationships and cultural change within the organization as Sibley integrates with Johns Hopkins Medicine
-Assist nursing staff in collecting and analyzing data and developing a professional practice model as they work towards applying for Magnet certification
-Manage physician contracts
-Plan marketing initiatives to increase patient volumes and presence in the DC health care market
-Help improve patient satisfaction scores
-Conducting financial and data analysis to present management with opportunities for growth

What are some of the pros of your current position or role?
I am getting to work in an industry that does meaningful work without being medical staff. I get to do the work I enjoy like working with health policy on an organizational level.

Undergraduate Experiences

What did you study at Tulane?
I double majored in Economics and Political Science.

What insights did you have as a college student?
I learned that classes helped me develop skills and attain knowledge. Internships and volunteering during the school year and over the summer really helped me realize what I was actually interested in pursuing and led me to realize my career goals. I learned that classes are important but do not underestimate the importance of your out of class experience.

What academic advice would you offer incoming students?
Don't limit yourself by the major you declare. What really matters are the skills you gain from the classes you take. In retrospect, every class I took helped me develop a skill and that is what you have to think about in academic planning.

What are some classes that had a significant impact on you?
Health Economics & Policy
Public Policy
Games and Strategic Behavior (Economics)


Do you have any other recommendations?
Seek out mentors both professionally and academically. It is amazing how much you can learn from them and how valuable the advice they give is. Create opportunities. Don't just seek out internships that are structured programs. Some of my most valuable experiences resulted from cold calling people and sending emails to people I didn't know and telling them that I was interested in their work and eager to learn. I ended up creating unpaid internship positions where they had never had interns before.

What do you wish you had known as a first-semester freshman?
I remember my freshman year that a lot of people were pre-med, pre-law, or were in the Freeman School of Business. While that is great for some people, I wish I had known that you don't have to fit into one of those three categories to be successful. There are a lot of majors and things you can do that do not fall into pre-professional tracks. I wish I had known that your major doesn't always define what your career is going to be. I wish I had known that your major is all about attaining valuable skills.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000