“Life is short; nothing is guaranteed:” After loss, physician renews pursuit of MBA

It was a tragic, personal loss that led Funke Agbasi, MD, MBA’18, to renew her pursuit of an MBA.

“A defining moment in my life was the death of my husband,” explained Dr. Agbasi, a family medicine physician. “It’s when I realized that life is short, and nothing is guaranteed. If you want to do something, do it. Because there’s really no assurance you’ll have the opportunity next time.”

Dr. Agbasi lost her husband unexpectedly in 2015, just three weeks after the family moved to Houston. Their son, who’d been diagnosed with Down syndrome, was just two weeks shy of his second birthday at the time.

“Through all of it, I felt there were two things I could do after I lost my husband: Look at the glass half empty or figure things out and keep going,” she explained. “I decided on the latter; I have a son who depends on me. I want people to see that regardless of what life throws at you, you can thrive. I want to show my son that life may not be fair; it may not be pleasant, but you can determine your future. You must pick yourself up and thrive.”

Dr. Agbasi decided to pursue an MBA as a single mom – her son and her late husband as her inspirations.

“I always wanted to get an MBA. I was really interested in learning about the administrative part of medicine and I had enrolled in a different program in 2010. But after we moved a couple times, it was hard to keep up, and I completed only one semester.”

“Following the loss of my husband, my life mantra really became: Life is short. Nothing is guaranteed. If you want to do something, do it. So, I started searching to see if I could continue my MBA.” 

I want people to see that regardless of what life throws at you, you can thrive. I want to show my son that life may not be fair, it may not be pleasant, but you can determine your future. You must pick yourself up and thrive.  

Funke Agbasi, MD, MBA'18

Dr. Agbasi graduated from medical school in 2002 in her home country of Nigeria. She then traveled to the United States, first living in Houston, then completing three years of residency in Oklahoma. Her first job as a physician took her to Nevada, but it wasn’t until her family moved back to Houston that Dr. Agbasi renewed her search for an MBA.

During her research, she found the Business of Medicine Physician MBA Program at the Kelley School of Business, which admitted its first class of physician MBAs in 2013.

“I found Kelley, and I really liked the way it was set up with an in-person residency each month in Indianapolis combined with online instruction. Interacting face-to-face with other physicians of varying specialties each month – my peers – made me feel I could connect with other like-minded individuals and grow with a community I couldn’t find anywhere else. The Kelley Physician MBA is more than a program. It’s become a way to recreate my network and develop lifelong friends who are sounding boards for any issues that come my way.”

Dr. Agbasi is now the associate director of medical operations for the urgent care department at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, having received a promotion during her time in the Physician MBA Program. She says she leaves the Kelley School program with a newfound understanding of the business of medicine.

“The Kelley Physician MBA has completely changed my worldview of the business side of medicine. I now understand the business language, and I’m more effective at getting things done.”

The Kelley Physician MBA has completely changed my worldview of the business side of medicine.  

Funke Agbasi, MD, MBA'18