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MBAs Hear from the Heart of Startup Culture

By Grace Beck, student writer

Taking the plunge into the startup community is jumping off a diving board for the first time. How can you be certain of the fall? Broad College of Business Full-Time MBA students heard firsthand the sometimes frightening, yet rewarding, experiences from two alumni who took the plunge themselves.

Omari Bouknight
Bouknight joined CardioFocus in 2016, serving as its Chief Commercial Officer.

Omari Bouknight (BA Supply Chain Management ’99) and Jeff Rynbrandt (FTMBA ’02), serve as chief operating officer and vice president of U.S. sales for CardioFocus, a company that specializes in providing doctors with tools that bring new levels of precision and control to the treatment of atrial fibrillation.

Both Broad alums took a leap of faith in joining the startup community, each with different backgrounds ande bringing something unique to the company: Bouknight, a supply chain management undergrad degree and an MBA from Harvard;  Rynbrandt, over six years of military service and an MBA from Broad.

“My focus has always been on how much I can learn as a professional on new technology, growth opportunities, and meeting new people,” said Bouknight on working for a startup company.

Rynbrandt served as an Officer in the United States Army in multiple command and leadership positions before securing his MBA and eventually joining CardioFocus in 2016.

CardioFocus started in 2016, creating the HeartLight System, a controlled, fast, safe, and predictable procedure for treating atrial fibrillation using laser energy, a compliant balloon technology and visualization.

The speakers discussed growth opportunities – specifically for startups within the medical device market. Bouknight explained that CardioFocus is the first balloon-based technology; there are a lot of potential uses for the new successful laser. CardoFocus is already a success in the Japanese, European, and the U.S. market.

“There is a huge amount of risk that comes with jumping into a smaller organization, but the reward is there. You can use different skills, and learn new things that you normally would not in a large corporation,” said Rynbrandt on his experience with startup companies.

At the heart of Bouknight and Rynbrandt’s professions, they say, is impacting the health care industry and making a difference in peoples’ lives. Having the ability to potentially save someone’s life with the new laser technology is the biggest reward.



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