“A lot of technology is missing in developing countries, in veterinary and human medicine. My experience could help create a bridge to support medical providers. Being at Rice gives me the support to do those things.”
Discovering a Passion for Veterinary Medicine
Animals were Chidi Igweh’s first love. Growing up on his family’s livestock farm in Nigeria, he’d help his father care for the animals. “For me, they were all pets,” he says.
In the 1990s, a deadly, untreatable poultry virus spread across Africa. Entire farms were wiped out, including Chidi’s family’s. The senseless loss inspired him to become a veterinarian, and he opened a practice in Lagos. Four years later, he suffered another loss: One of his dogs got cancer. Limited diagnostic and treatment options left him powerless to help her.
“She died, and that kind of broke me,” he said. “In the U.S., you have diagnostic, treatment and management tools in veterinary care. Those things hadn’t made it to Nigeria.”
Merging Business with Medicine
Chidi came to the U.S. and earned a master’s in biomedical engineering from the University of Bridgeport, then took a job at Johnson & Johnson, where he delivers strategic advice about the company’s medical devices to health care practitioners.
But he realized that to really make a difference in medicine—human or veterinary—he’d need a sophisticated understanding of the business side.
“I realized there are ways to manage health care apart from the technical side,” he says. “As an investment banker, for example, I could identify a medical device to solve a problem, and I could have the influence to support that business and help developing countries in the long term.”
How MBA@Rice Rekindled His Entrepreneurial Spark
Chidi decided to pursue his MBA at Rice Business partly because of the school’s deep ties to the health care industry. And because he lives and works in Newark, New Jersey, he chose the online program.
“I feel like this program is teaching me about life. I wasn’t expecting that,” he says. “Strategic communication or even managerial economics—you can use them in every part of your life.”
Chidi may choose to pursue investment banking with a focus on medical technology—or perhaps start his own business.
“I think if I were to own a business, it would be animal-care related,” he says. “It could be creating a diagnostic center for animals—basically helping vets use modern equipment, especially in cancer detection. I’d want to focus on the animals, and focus on disease prevention, to solve problems before they happen.”