When she enrolled in the Graduate Certificate in Medical Management at the Kelley School of Business, Shar Taylor, GCMM’21, MBA’23, was looking for business training that was healthcare focused and patient centric. Not only did she find that at the Kelley School, but she was also able to use what she learned to develop a patient payment policy for her employer. Shar is a business administrator of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and Hospital Dentistry at the IU School of Dentistry.
“In many oral surgery practices, if you don’t have the funds to pay for services, you can’t access them. I created a policy within our department to offer staggered payment plans based on the services for each patient, the cost of those services, and how a patient can pay for it over time,” Shar said. “By seeking options to provide care while maintaining a relationship with the patient by helping them from a financial perspective, it creates a win-win for everybody.”
Through 16 years at the Indiana University, Shar has spent her career in healthcare academia. She was interested in the Graduate Certificate in Medical Management to improve her understanding of the business of healthcare while also offering a focus on the patient, which is important to her.
“I looked up the program curriculum, which is centered on teaching you to look around your healthcare organization, see what resources you have, and refine them in a way that benefits not only the organization, but the patients,” Shar said.
In addition to patient-focused care, Shar also values people-focused workplaces. She helps staff and medical residents on campus identify a safe space for underrepresented minorities. Shar implemented the first mentor/mentee program for residents joining the IU School of Medicine to help incoming residents connect with peers on campus. As an African American woman, it’s important to Shar that medical and dental trainees feel at home when they move to Indianapolis.
“We have residents who come from all over the world, and we connect them with resources to help them settle in here. For example, I recently connected an African American woman from Tennessee with a place to get her hair done. When you arrive somewhere new, you want to connect with people who can make you feel welcome and feel at home,” Shar said. “We hosted an international pitch-in meal with different types of food. Residents told me that it felt like home. This work gives them a sense of comfort and assurance that they’ll be okay over the next four years.”
Shar was able to fit in the 12-month, online Graduate Certificate in Medical Management Program to her busy schedule while working full time. She said the program format was helpful for returning students because the biweekly classes gave her time to complete assignments and thoughtfully absorb the curriculum while also attending to life and work responsibilities. Ultimately, Shar decided to apply the “mini-MBA” graduate certificate credits toward completing the top-ranked, part-time Evening MBA Program at the Kelley School.
“What I’ve learned from the Graduate Certificate in Medical Management Program gave me the confidence to enroll in the MBA,” Shar said. “The faculty at the Kelley School are very encouraging, and I knew I could do it with the support they provided me that whole year in the certificate program.”
Shar says the graduate certificate gave her the business basics—finance, marketing, operations— and a capstone project at the end to apply her skills directly. In the capstone project, Shar and her teammates helped a community health organization strategize a path forward.
“This capstone project put together all the pieces we learned. When you talk about creating a business plan and being a consultant—this experience really taught me how to cut through the clutter, narrow down the focus, and deliver what the client wants,” she said.
This experience really taught me how to cut through the clutter, narrow down the focus, and deliver what the client wants.”
Shar enjoyed earning the graduate certificate alongside healthcare professionals from various industries—from pharmacy and nursing to IT. While there are perceived barriers to studying in a graduate program while working full time, Shar—who has taught continuing education courses—says all it takes is some resilience. She repeats to herself what she used to tell her students and encourages others to take the next step.
“When you do this, life is going to happen,” she said. “Somebody’s going to get sick in your family. You might have kids and grandkids to take care of, but with the support of my husband, I just kept telling myself to keep pushing through. That’s what you have to do to take the next step in your career: Be resilient and keep pushing through!”