Cory Cooney

Cory Cooney, MBA '23

Bringing Together Business and Biology

Cory came to the Michigan Ross MBA Program with more than seven years of professional experience in healthcare consulting. He had focused his career in the niche revenue cycle consulting space, analyzing large sets of hospital claims data and auditing for underpayments for Cloudmed (previously Triage Consulting), a job he enjoyed. Even so, Cory wanted to further explore the healthcare industry at a broader strategic level — and he saw an MBA at Michigan Ross as the best way to do so. 

A childhood experience helped shape his career path. Cory’s younger sister, Bailey, was diagnosed with leukemia when she was two years old, which introduced him to hospitals and the healthcare system early in life. Witnessing the care his sister received left an impression that he has carried with him. 

“My sister was fortunate and is 25 years old now,” Cory said. “Being exposed to the healthcare system in a positive way happened at a formative time in my life — I want to have that kind of impact on people’s lives through healthcare.” 

Rewarding Culture and Connections

After earning his undergraduate degree from the University of Southern California and double majoring in biology and business, Cory’s interest in healthcare led him to the Michigan Ross healthcare management concentration for his MBA. A West Coast native, Cory says that living in Michigan has given him an appreciation for the change of seasons and a respect for the winter. He also says the welcoming atmosphere of Ann Arbor and the strong sense of community at Michigan Ross has made him feel right at home.  

The people at Ross are a very talented, passionate, and humble group of people. Everyone works together as a community — in classes, in group work, in everything. I’ve made lifelong connections that go way beyond just networking.

Cory has embraced the collaborative spirit of Michigan Ross with his involvement in extracurricular clubs, including the Healthcare and Life Sciences Club and Sling Health. He is also a peer coach for MBA1s going into the healthcare space to help them with their recruiting journey in order “to pay it forward.”  

Additionally, Cory is a Zell entrepreneur through the Michigan Ross Zell Lurie Institute, an immersive entrepreneurial environment where students create, lead, and shape innovative business ventures. He is also a member of the Pinkert Healthcare Accelerator, managed through ZLI, which supports high-impact healthcare innovation by students across the University of Michigan. It was through ZLI where Cory met his current business partner, Parker Martin, MD/MBA/MEng ’23.

Cory and Parker work together on a product (and company) named epiSLS, a medical device that makes allergy testing quicker and more accessible and able to be performed in hospitals and doctor’s offices, rather than solely in an allergist’s office. The device combines delivery and scanning technology to expose the skin to allergens and then uses a novel optical sensor to create a 3-D map of the skin, which allows it to identify and measure allergy response.

“As the technology creator, Parker had been working on epiSLS for some time, and I was able to connect with him through working with ZLI,” Cory said. “Our diverse, yet complementary, backgrounds help bridge the gap between science and business, which is what a successful healthcare business needs.”

Learning While Competing 

Cory and Parker have taken epiSLS to a number of business competitions, recently finishing among the top five finalists in the graduate group at the national Collegiate Inventors Competition held at the U.S. Patent Office in Alexandria, Virginia. At the competition, they presented to a panel of judges made up of some of the most influential inventors and innovation experts in the country.

“We walked them through the development of our prototype and how we plan to commercialize it,” Cory said. “They provided invaluable feedback and insight that helped us improve our ideas and explore new ways of thinking in order to create a stronger product.” 

Taking Steps Toward the Future

Running a business while in school and undertaking the long process of obtaining a patent brings about some challenges, but Cory said the action-based learning experiences he has had at Michigan Ross have helped prepare him for what’s ahead. He notes his experience participating and finishing in second place in the +Tech Innovation Jam, a competition where interdisciplinary teams take an idea from working prototype to pitch in five weeks, as a particularly valuable learning opportunity. 

“To gain exposure to the innovation process and work with a diverse interdisciplinary team from across the university was amazing,” Cory said. “That experience helped me better understand how to tell the story of your product so that people can really see its value, which is something I plan to implement with epiSLS.”

Looking ahead to what’s next, Cory and Parker are currently finishing a clinical trial at Michigan Medicine and in the near future will begin regulatory work with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, while searching for sources of funding to help bring epiSLS to market.   

While Cory doesn’t know exactly what form his future will take, it’s the business side of healthcare where he knows he can have the biggest impact. 

“Healthcare is my passion. I want to remain in healthcare in a meaningful way and have that positive impact on people’s lives.”