Alexandra Pulst-Korenberg, MD/MBA ’15, sees medicine as the next great frontier for advancing entrepreneurial innovation. “Historically, physicians and the field of medicine have been very resistant to change,” she observes. “While a great deal of innovation has occurred in certain areas of medicine over the past decade, we have a long way to go. There is still so much in our system that is broken or antiquated.” Armed with a dual degree in medicine and business from University of Michigan ─ and a toolkit of entrepreneurial skills, know-how and experience from the Zell Lurie Institute ─ Pulst-Korenberg is embarking on an ambitious career as a physician-entrepreneur to drive that much-needed innovation.
Currently, she is working as a doctor in a residency program at the University of Washington’s Department of Emergency Medicine. During her off hours, she is piloting a novel medical device ─ which organizes intravenous lines and medical cords to keep them from tangling ─ that she developed through her student start-up company, EasyIV, at Michigan. Pulst-Korenberg’s interest in entrepreneurship surfaced during her second year in Medical School when she co-founded the U-M Student-run Free Clinic in Pinckney, Mich., for uninsured patients in 2012. “The experience of founding something was so invigorating that I decided I needed to do more of it, and learn how to do it well and sustainably,” she says.
The following year, Pulst-Korenberg enrolled in the Ross School and immersed herself in a variety of entrepreneurial programs and workshops offered through the Zell Lurie Institute. As a member of the student-led Zell Commercialization Fund, Pulst-Korenberg gained valuable insights into the criteria venture capitalists consider when investing in early-stage companies and the skill sets that make entrepreneurs successful and fundable. She pursued several entrepreneurial ideas before founding EasyIV in December 2014. Over the next four months, Pulst-Korenberg, a Zell Scholar and Valenti Award recipient, utilized the resources, mentors and network at TechArb, along with funding from Zell Lurie’s Dare to Dream grant program and the College of Engineering’s Center for Entrepreneurship, to take her concept through multiple stages of business development, from ideation and sourcing to patent and prototype.
“In the future, I intend to pursue my two passions of practicing medicine and working entrepreneurially in a start-up,” Pulst-Korenberg says. “Ultimately, I want to be a social entrepreneur in global health.”