When physicians earn an MBA, the benefits from their lessons begin immediately and, for many, years after graduation. When Greg Mishkel, MD, MBA’17, decided to enroll in the
Business of Medicine Physician MBA Program at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business, he was already in an administrative role. After 22 years as a practicing cardiologist, Dr. Mishkel had earned the position of executive medical director of Prairie Heart Institute at HSHS St. John’s Hospital in Springfield, Illinois. He found that he enjoyed the administrative side of medicine but realized he needed greater business expertise.
“I felt like I needed to earn more credibility, and I had the time to do it,” he said. “I felt that getting an MBA was going to be important to both my current career and any future job prospects.”
When it came to selecting a school, Dr. Mishkel knew he wanted a quality degree, but he wanted to earn it along like-minded physicians. While an executive MBA would provide him with the rigor and substance he wanted, Dr. Mishkel also recognized the value in completing a program with other physicians, who also rarely use spreadsheets and are starting fresh with traditional business principles.
“In a typical executive MBA, I think I’d spend as much time trying to catch up as I would be learning. In a room full of MDs, I know most of my classmates don’t have prior business experience and are more motivated to share what they know,” he said. “Having a common background—whether it’s learning something as simple as a spreadsheet or understanding a physician’s busy on-call schedule—created a shared experience that was really important.”
In addition to the high-quality degree and the peer learning, Dr. Mishkel also chose the Kelley Physician MBA Program for its Global Healthcare Experience courses, which allow students to study and visit healthcare settings around the world. The trips become a bonding experience for the program’s tight-knit group of physicians, and they provide the physician MBAs with in-depth views of how healthcare is delivered in vastly different environments.
“Although it’s a bit of a stretch to think we would model healthcare in the U.S. after Cuba’s system, I learned from my Cuban peers lessons in how they deliver healthcare with limited resources,” Dr. Mishkel said. “In this country, we’re continually having to learn to do more with less, and it was eye opening to visit a country that has perfected it.”
Dr. Mishkel is hard pressed to pick a course at Kelley that stood out more than the others. From negotiations and business law to accounting and macro-economics, the courses in the Kelley Physician MBA challenged him and allowed him to grasp concepts he’d previously found mystifying, such as the intricacies of national debt, GDP, the European market and the Fed.
“I really enjoyed the courses because they are subjects you wouldn’t be exposed to unless you were completing an MBA,” he said. “The beauty of Kelley’s program is that unlike other healthcare MBAs, you also cover the regular subject matter that a business school offers. Kelley was a great mix of both.”
One of the greatest takeaways for Kelley Physician MBA alumni is the networking and personal connections with other physicians from various specialties, geographies and healthcare organizations. Dr. Mishkel is no exception.
“I couldn’t identify a single person I didn’t develop a personal connection with,” he said. Many classmates keep in touch for years after graduation, providing professional feedback and career advancement support to one another. In fact, shortly after graduation, Dr. Mishkel began considering a career move for a position in Chicago. He knew a classmate whose wife worked for the company.
“We had dinner and chatted, and over the course of the four months that it took to get this job, we became even closer friends. Knowing him didn’t make it easier to get the job, but having a friend in the city gave me insight, support and positivity about pushing forward,” said Dr. Mishkel. “It’s one of those unexpected benefits of this program – you don’t know who you’ll meet or how they might help you later, but the opportunities go far beyond the two years of the course. These friendships can last a lifetime.”
The lessons in professional development also last far beyond the time spent in school. The curriculum includes self-reflection and discovery through career counseling electives, executive skills development and regular work with a personal career coach. Dr. Mishkel reviewed his Kelley course work as he applied for the position in Chicago.
“I had a good idea of how to present myself and what I wanted to achieve by the time I applied for this job, a position I really wanted,” he said. “I reviewed my leadership notes and material on creating a CV and résumé from the career development course. All of those lessons continue to serve a purpose.”
Dr. Mishkel earned the role of vice president of cardiovascular services and division chief of cardiology at Northshore University System. He is applying his Kelley MBA lessons across four hospitals, managing twice the number of cardiologists than he did in his previous position. He says he is a changed leader and physician, armed with new principles and lessons to guide him in the exciting new step in his career.
“In the Kelley Physician MBA Program, you get a chance to reinvent yourself. Your physician MBA classmates are as bright, if not brighter than you, and they challenge you,” he said. “I’ve learned how to listen to different points of view, how to negotiate and how to rotate leadership roles – all of this has contributed to my growth, not only as a person, but as a leader.”