We recently connected with 2014 M.B.A. graduate Josh Gustafson to learn more about his experience in the healthcare M.B.A. He shared with us how his experiences in the program helped to advance his career after graduation and prepare him for advanced leadership roles within the healthcare industry. Josh truly embodies the characteristics that we look for in our M.B.A. graduates and is a prime example of someone using their degree to make positive changes in healthcare.
What was the single most important thing you learned from the M.B.A. program?
It is extremely difficult to single out any one item from the healthcare M.B.A. program that has provided me with the greatest benefit as a manager and leader within a healthcare organization, but one that stands out is the leadership training and knowledge provided by the professional staff at OHSU and PSU, and the students enrolled in the program. Healthcare as an industry is changing, and the employees who work in the healthcare industry must change as well. This can be difficult on those who do not fully understand these changes, which puts pressure and stress on their leaders. The situational training and cohort structure presented to students prepares them for those tough situations that they may encounter with their staff and their leaders, and has undoubtedly provided me with new insight as a leader in healthcare. I have then been able to use this new knowledge when leading my team. From this and the cohort engagement, I have become more effective and efficient, while opening up the lines of communication in efforts to be a great leader rather than a traditional manager.
How has the healthcare M.B.A. helped you to advance your career?
The materials, subjects, and teachings through the healthcare M.B.A. are presented in a way that is not only informative but also applicable and accurate to today's healthcare industry. Since the beginning of the program, I have been able to apply the new knowledge, skills and abilities acquired into my work setting. My understanding of healthcare finance, payment systems, team leadership, healthcare innovation, and operational controls has increased significantly since starting the program. This has undoubtedly provided significant operational and financial benefits to the organization that I work for. From this, I was promoted twice over the three years while enrolled in the healthcare M.B.A. program. Most recently, I was presented with a new management opportunity at a large healthcare system in the Midwest. I know that this recent success and new opportunity would not have been possible without the healthcare M.B.A.
Why would you recommend this degree to others?
I had spent a full year researching advanced degrees and school curriculums across the west coast before choosing the healthcare M.B.A. at OHSU and PSU. If you are looking for more than just a piece of paper showing that you have a master's degree, then look no further than the healthcare M.B.A. To me, a degree means nothing without acquired knowledge and skills that are applicable to your future aspirations. No other school or program met the standards that I had set, and those standards were exceeded each term while enrolled in the program. Today's healthcare leaders have a lot of pressure to succeed, and that pressure comes from multiple levels and across multiple areas of concentration. The healthcare M.B.A. is an intensive program that not only covers each area needed for your success but also combines and builds upon those areas of focus into a greater picture – transforming you into someone who is capable of leading any team across any sector of healthcare. The approach taken by OHSU and PSU is unique in itself, and one that no other university can accomplish on its own without sacrificing potentially acquired knowledge, skills or abilities.
What advice would you give to current/future students of the M.B.A. program?
My advice to current and future students is to embrace every day and every learning opportunity. Each class has a purpose and each student enrolled in the program can provide you with new knowledge that is extremely beneficial. Take the time to embed yourself into every reading, learning opportunity, and project so that you can fully understand how it relates to healthcare and how it can positively affect you in the future. The curriculum selected is applicable to you and your role as a current or future leader, whether or not you can see it at that moment in time. As you continue to move forward through the program, you will realize why the areas of focus were selected and how those build upon one another. In the end, you will be left with everything you need to make a positive impact on the healthcare industry.