Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise

UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

Leadership Fellows

Jake Petralia

Jake Petralia

Background: I was born and raised in California. Up until moving to North Carolina in 2013 I had only lived a maximum of two hours away from where I grew up, which was in Watsonville, just outside of Santa Cruz. I attended Stanford University where I was pre-med, majored in Human Biology, and ran varsity Track & Field and Cross Country. One of my proudest accomplishments in college was earning All-American honors in track. Like many collegiate athletes, I took to the civilian life following graduation and became a professional in something other than athletics. Similar to most pre-med students, I wanted to become a physician. However, after spending three years in clinical research at the Stanford University Medical Center departments of Neurosurgery and Neurology, I discovered that being a physician was not the ideal path for me. However, I was still drawn to healthcare and knew that I wanted to dedicate my life to playing a meaningful role in improving the lives and outcomes of patients. Ironically, between leaving clinical research and returning to graduate school, I spent a year working at an e-commerce start-up in San Francisco called Luvocracy. At Luvocracy I was involved in both operations and marketing, an experience that was far different than anything I had done before, but that was also an excellent segue into business school.

Career Path: While being far removed from the healthcare industry that I had developed a passion for, working for a start-up company was one of the most enriching experiences that I could have asked for, and it whetted my appetite for entrepreneurship and innovation. Now, as an MBA and Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) dual degree candidate at the UNC, my goal is to gain a very in-depth understanding of healthcare policy while taking business principals and strategies to make the largest and most meaningful impact that I can on patient outcomes. To me, this means starting my own healthcare company some day. To date, I have focused my efforts on becoming engaged in the local entrepreneurship community by taking relevant coursework and being a part of the Kenan-Institute's Concierge Service for Entrepreneurs. Additionally, I am the Kenan-Flagler Business School's Healthcare Club president, and I intend to use my entrepreneurial spirit to help make the business school the go-to institution for business students looking to enter or advance their careers in the healthcare industry.

Interests and Hobbies: I still enjoy running very much and try to do it as much as possible. My goal is to try to break the 4-minute mile barrier before I'm 30 (if I make it public, then I have to try, so here we go!). I've also started taking swing dance lessons and hope to compete in the 2016 Olympic Swing Dance team. I thoroughly enjoy eating cereal, and drinking coffee, wine, and craft brews. I am also constantly on the hunt to do adventurous things -- skydiving and great white shark diving are among the activities I've done over the past few years.