As we celebrate five years of success since the launch of the Kelley Physician MBA Program in 2013, we're featuring some of the first physicians who completed our program. These updates highlight alumni achievements and the leadership roles they've assumed since earning their Kelley Physician MBAs.
Rocky Singh, MD, MBA’15, had experienced a number of leadership and administrative roles throughout his medical career, but eventually he discovered a language gap. An emergency medicine physician who’d served as medical director, chief of staff and department chair, Dr. Singh knew how to be a clinical leader. What he discovered over time was that he wasn’t as confident providing perspectives on the regulatory, financial or business aspects of running a hospital.
“The board would ask me whether it was more important to update an x-ray machine or buy a new CAT scan machine,” he said. “I used my clinical judgment to advise them, but I didn’t grasp the financial impact of these decisions. Would spending more money on a device create better outcomes or incremental value? There were so many business-related questions that, as a physician, I felt ill equipped to answer.”
As more questions came up—how to improve efficiencies and quality, how to improve emergency room flow—Dr. Singh wanted provide credible solutions. He realized that an MBA could supply him with the business background to fully comprehend the administrative implications of these decisions at his health system. Dr. Singh was attracted to the Physician MBA Program at Indiana University Kelley School of Business because he didn’t want to stop practicing medicine to earn an MBA. Also, he wanted a rigorous program, not just a title.
“I wanted real knowledge. It wasn’t a matter of putting a degree after my name, it was being able to speak confidently to my leadership. It was knowing there’s no waste in our OR and that it’s operating at peak efficiency,” he said. “Kelley is a top-ranked school and the greatest advantage was that it’s a physician-only program. I wanted to hear from other physicians and my cohort included a variety of specialties – anesthesia, thoracic and cardiac surgery, orthopedics, primary care, ophthalmology and gynecology.”
Dr. Singh joined the very first cohort of the Physician MBA Program, which Kelley began offering in 2013. As he grasped the business basics of financial statements, healthcare economics and process improvement, Dr. Singh says the professors became his partners in the journey to earning an MBA.
“Kelley faculty went out of their way to accommodate us and ensure they were meeting our learning needs,” he said. “One of the concerns people have when enrolling in an MBA program is not knowing the basics, like what a financial statement is. Kelley professors understood where we were coming from and they met us where we were. They made it feel like a personalized MBA program.”
Dr. Singh took two leadership courses throughout the program and found that he connected well with Kelley Management Professor and incoming Program Chair Christopher Porter. He says the lessons gained through these courses made a lasting impact on how he conducts himself as a physician leader.