Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Lykourgos (Luke) Demas, Yale SOM

“A serial jack-of-all-trades”.

Hometown: Valley Stream, NY

Fun fact about yourself: I co-founded a maize farm in Malawi!

Undergraduate and major school: Harvard University (Class of 2016), Biology of human development and regeneration

Most recent employer and job title: Senior partner, Performance Delivery Team, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

The Yale School of Management is viewed as a goal-oriented program. What is your mission? How will your MBA at Yale SOM help you fulfill this mission?I aspire to bring equity in the delivery of health care in disadvantaged communities. In my previous work in the healthcare industry, I have witnessed situations where simple, sustainable, data-driven solutions have disproportionate impacts on healthcare delivery, and I believe there are many opportunities of this type remain. At Yale SOM, I hope to gain the perspective needed to further connect these elements, deepen my knowledge of other components of the healthcare delivery pipeline (for example, venture capital funding of innovative new ideas) and learn. of my colleagues to better support and catalyze the resources, development and implementation of such ideas.

Which word best describes the Yale SOM MBA students and alumni you have met so far and why? Real. Of course, Yale SOM students and alumni are smart, accomplished and motivated. These attributes are prerequisites for entering any major business school. What surprised me most is how genuine everyone has been, how vulnerable people are ready to become, and how passionate my colleagues are about the ideas and topics of both. inside and outside the typical commercial sphere.

Apart from your classmates, What was the key element of the Yale SOM MBA program that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? During the application process, I was immediately drawn to Yale SOM’s comprehensive study requirement. Having lived and worked in three very different countries – the United States, Switzerland and Malawi – I have seen first-hand the importance of having a global perspective when it comes to making an effective impact in the world. – beyond borders and cultures. The explicit emphasis on international experience provided by the Global Study program underscored Yale SOM’s international focus, which I really appreciated. And of course, I’m happy to travel (if COVID allows)!

What class, club or activity are you most passionate about at Yale SOM? Voices, a forum that gives students the opportunity to share their personal stories in a safe and welcoming space, sums up many of the things that fascinate me most at Yale SOM: engaging my classmates on difficult and often uncomfortable topics, learning from a variety of perspectives and forge deep friendships throughout life.

Describe your greatest achievement in your career so far: I moved to Malawi in January 2020 to work to support the country’s HIV program. As you can imagine, the nature of my work in support of the Ministry of Health changed dramatically over the year, and I was ultimately tasked with quantifying the health commodities needed to prepare the country for COVID. -19: PPE, hygiene products, essential drugs, and clinical devices. Simple, right?

I have faced the harsh realities of defending the health and safety of Malawians at a time when wealthy countries, many of which fund Malawi’s health care system, were scrambling themselves for commodities. I had to balance the theoretically correct “answers” ​​with the realities on the ground. In a country with few qualified anesthesiologists, for example, increasing the number of intensive care beds or ventilators was largely impossible. Despite many frustrating times (and many hours of multi-time zone Zoom calls), my colleagues in the ministry and I articulated the needs of the country and coordinated with the aid organization to bring the needed commodities to Malawi. While there are still many challenges ahead given the uncertain future of the pandemic, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, I am proud to have supported the country during such an uncertain time.

How has COVID-19 changed your perspective on your career and your life in general? COVID-19 has further reinforced my belief in the importance of building and maintaining collaborative relationships. During the pandemic, we’ve all been deprived of the occasional subway hellos, water cooler gossip, and passing anecdotes we share with co-workers upon entering the office. Relationships could no longer flourish organically, face to face. On the contrary, a real effort was needed to connect with people through video, a task made even more difficult by “zoom fatigue” and audio lags. I struggled to find creative and engaging ways to connect with people virtually, but through this process I understood the value that clear communication and vulnerability can have in making new connections and strengthening. existing links. I hope to bring this concerted effort and authenticity to the new bonds that I will form at Yale SOM, fully in person, hopefully!

What drew you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after you graduate? After several years of exploring the delivery of health care – starting with McKinsey to support Fortune 500 health care companies and ending in Malawi supporting the Ministry of Health – I have found that in many low-resource contexts, the challenges faced by good ideas are often associated with a lack of capital. At this point in my career, I want to better understand the financing side of good ideas and hope to explore opportunities in venture capital and impact investing through my MBA path at Yale SOM. I’m keeping an open mind on what’s to come, but I know it will be exciting, stay tuned!

What other MBA programs have you applied to? Outside of Yale SOM, I applied to HBS, Stanford GSB, and Berkeley Haas.

What advice would you give to help potential candidates gain admission to the Yale SOM MBA program? In my experience, more than other programs, Yale SOM emphasizes authenticity and commitment to the “and society” component of its mission. I urge applicants to think critically about what really motivates them – not just what they think the school wants to hear – and to highlight how they plan to use the skills they develop at Yale SOM. for the betterment of society as a whole.

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