As he began working with physician students, Smith admits he did change his approach to teaching accounting. But in the end, teaching physician MBAs business accounting from the ground up was no different than addressing what encumbers any business student from grasping the subject.

“My philosophy is: if you remove roadblocks, learning will happen,” he said. “All you have to do is realize that some people take a bit longer to grasp a concept. But these physicians are all smart, motivated people. It’s my job to make sure I support them if they fall behind.”

Smith says he doesn’t do this alone.

“Teaching is a team sport, and I have enormous respect for the work my fellow faculty members do,” he said. “We all have to work together to lift up the whole program, and it happens here like I’ve never seen it happen anywhere else.”

When physicians graduate from the Kelley Physician MBA program, Smith believes the credential they earn is the lesser of their achievements when compared to the rich experience students gain from learning alongside physician peers. He believes program alumni do—and will continue to do—great things in the medical community.

“You’ll be a different physician, leader, and even a different person when you complete this degree,” he said. “Over the next decade, we’ll see major changes in the practice of healthcare in the United States. And our students are going to be at the forefront of that movement.”

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Professor Smith travels to Cuba with MBA students for Global Studies courses.