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 MBAs.
Earning an MBA was something he’d always wanted to do. Jim Grant, MD, MBA’15, had been a practicing anesthesiologist for over twenty years when he decided to pursue the degree. He felt a greater understanding of business administration would complement his clinical expertise and give him a greater sense of what was happening within his healthcare system.
“I thought earning an MBA make me a more well-rounded physician,” he said. “To grasp the business implications of healthcare seemed particularly useful at a time when regulatory agencies have increased influence on what we do.”
Chairman of the Department of Anesthesiology at Beaumont Health in Royal Oak Michigan, Dr. Grant was a busy physician as he researched a number of MBA programs. Seeking a high-quality degree from a top-tier program, Dr. Grant enrolled at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business Physician MBA Program.
“Kelley was the only program that met that criteria, plus it’s an MBA geared toward physicians specifically. Kelley understands what we’re looking for, our backgrounds and how carefully we must budget our time,” said Dr. Grant. “The courses are provided both online and in residency sessions, which was convenient. I advocate strongly that any MBA program should provide consistent, in-person interaction. Some of the greatest takeaways from the MBA were on building bridges, relationships and networking. You can’t gain that solely from a computer screen.”
Two years after earning his degree, Dr. Grant was elected president of the American Society of Anesthesiologists in October 2017. Dr. Grant said he is able to use lessons from his MBA each day in his role leading the organization. Like medical school, Kelley’s Physician MBA Program provided the business basics, but it also imparted strategic communication and problem-solving skills.
“In any MBA program you will certainly learn finance and accounting, but the key lessons I gained from Kelley’s program were learning how think, how to talk and how to synthesize information,” he said. “When leading a large national association with a diverse membership and diverse interests, the MBA skill I employ most often is consensus-building; bringing people together and moving everyone in the same direction.”
Like many physicians who enroll in Kelley’s program, Dr. Grant was already a leader in his organization. Over the years, he’d gained leadership skills on the fly and honed his abilities through trial and error. While leadership itself wasn’t a new concept when he enrolled, Dr. Grant said some of his greatest lessons from the MBA program built upon his existing leadership skills.
“At Kelley, you learn the theories and the reasoning behind why you make strategic leadership decisions – those were my ‘aha’ moments in this program,” he said. “They help you build upon what you already learned, cementing it and fine-tuning your leadership skills. I’m a different leader now - I think differently, I synthesize differently, I analyze differently, I project differently.”
Three years after completing the program, Dr. Grant’s fellow alumni and Kelley faculty continue to be resources for him. Having spent two years alongside physicians from a variety of specialties, organization types and geographical locations, Dr. Grant says he and his classmates still contact one another to discuss ideas and solutions. He also connects with Kelley faculty.
“Kelley professors are truly one-of-a-kind, world-renowned instructors. And they don’t abandon you after you graduation. If I have questions or want feedback, they’ve always been there for me,” he said. “Professor Tony Cox is a brilliant marketer. I call him regularly to run speeches and presentations by him because he just has a knack for saying and doing the right thing. It’s invaluable to be able to get feedback from someone I respect.”
Dr. Grant says he’s achieved his initial goal to become a more well-rounded physician through earning an MBA. Not only does he instinctively look for innovative solutions to challenges, he also has a greater understanding of the administration of healthcare. Dr. Grant says he’s simply a different physician.
“It will help you think differently as a physician. You’ll become a better strategist and visionary, equipped to plan the future direction of healthcare.”