An Actuarial Specialist within McKinsey’s Healthcare Systems and Services arm, Himalaya Mehta, DPSS’20, says the analytic skills he developed in the DPSS program will be valuable for informing decisions concerning healthcare and the public sector.
Headshot of Himalaya Mehta
Himalaya Mehta

Himalaya Mehta always had a passion for driving change through leadership. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with degrees in Mathematics and Economics in 2014, he began pursuing a career in Actuarial Science at Cigna. At the same time, Mehta was devoting hours outside of work to one of his biggest passions: Ultimate Frisbee. “I played semi-professionally and coached a lot of teams, and I realized I was thinking a great deal about how I could develop a team and make them the best they could be. Around the time I took a role as a Market Pricing Lead at Cigna, I began thinking about how I could drive change off the field as well.”

“I started to wonder how I could use data to solve some of society’s biggest problems, like poverty and access to affordable healthcare. Fortunately, the mentors I had showed me that you can do a lot with analytics, and if you apply it in the right way, you can maybe help solve some of these other critical issues in society.”

As he continued learning from his mentors, Mehta started to gain an interest in public policy—specifically public policy analysis. “I began to think about pursuing PhD programs in order to gain the tools to make meaningful change in the public sector. However, I wasn’t sure if I was ready to make that academic jump.”

While exploring academic options at the University of Chicago, Mehta came across the Data & Policy Summer Scholar Program (DPSS) and thought the opportunities it provided were a perfect match. “First, the seven-week program was an ideal duration. I would gain exposure to a lot of the policy, data, and analytical ideas my mentors discussed—and the program provided an opportunity to explore those concepts and ideas before I committed to a longer program.”

Mehta also said UChicago’s reputation as an intellectual hub was appealing. “Harris is a place where really cool things are happening, like the work that EPIC [Energy Policy Institute at UChicago] does, and the DPSS program was a good way for me to dip my toes in the water and figure out whether a PhD program or grad school was something that I really wanted to pursue.”

The virtual format of the program, Mehta added, also allowed him to participate while still working full-time in Philadelphia. “And even though I was collaborating remotely with other participants, it didn’t diminish the connections I made, including a few really good friends I am still in touch with. It was so great to have a community where everyone was talking about policy issues and where I was able to engage with community leaders.”

As for grad school plans, Mehta says he has put applications on the back burner for now to focus on a recent career transition to McKinsey’s Healthcare and Services team, where he will be an Actuarial Specialist. In this position, Mehta says he will help different players in the healthcare ecosystem (i.e. payors, providers, the government) with their most pressing challenges. “The data techniques we used in DPSS taught me to read data effectively and interpret it more objectively. These skills will be invaluable in my new role as I try to help clients in a structured, fact-driven way.”