Online Healthcare MBA Program

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Cmdr. Matthew Newland



Cmdr. Matthew Newland
Graduate 2014
Senior Policy Analyst serving in the Office of Global Affairs in the Office of the Secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
Online Healthcare MBA Program
The George Washington University

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Tell us about yourself.

I am Commander Matthew Newland.  And I’m in the School of Business in the Healthcare MBA program at the George Washington University.

Why did you decide to take the GW Healthcare MBA online program?

Well, I walked into a colleague’s office one day, and she’s a director of one of our programs at my bureau.  And she said, “Matt, if you want to be in a leadership position, you need to have fiscal and managerial skills and an MBA will give you that.  And if you have the educational benefits as an officer, I encourage you to look into an MBA program.”

By all means, take the program, the MBA program.  It’s really been a benefit to me personally.  I talk to my colleagues about it all the time, or sometimes they’ll ask me about it.  And many times they’ll ask me, “Well, what classes are you taking?  If you have any homework assignments, you know, maybe you can use some data for your homework assignments,” or, “What’s your capstone project?  We’d love to have you do an analysis for us.”  And so I speak very highly of the program because I’m committed to it, and it’s been very personally and professionally rewarding to me.  But then I found out, when I walk through my bureau and talk with my colleagues, they feel like they’re earning an MBA too, just as they have discussions with me.

What are your goals after completing this program?

Professionally, my goals are to apply all my skills, both managerial and fiscal, to a leadership position in the federal government.  I’m an officer in the US Public Health Service and this training will give me exactly what I need.  On a personal level I’ve always admired the MBA programs and wanting to apply those skills, you know, for my personal gain as well, but also for the intellectual stimulation.

Well, I’m hoping to go back into international healthcare, which was my profession.  And in a leadership position as well too, in the federal government.  And I’ve been in the federal government for nine years now, nine very, very good years, but I wanted to take it to the next level.   And the MBA program and the skills that I gain will help me with that.

What is your favorite course in the program?

I would have to say entrepreneurship, of all things.  I really want to take the program for leadership and fiscal skills, and they’ve been good, but the professor, Dr. Ayman El Tarabishy, really made the difference with entrepreneurship.  And it was more than just being an entrepreneur and the business skills, it was about life.

How does the online learning environment work?

It works very well interacting in the online environment.  Ten years ago, this probably wouldn’t have been possible.  But now with mediums like Skype, Blackboard, the discussion board e-mail was always there, but it never really provided the same kind of interaction.  But I’ve interacted with team members and students on Skype, professors, and then webinars too, and it can be done in real time.  They can also be recorded and you can view them at your discretion.  So it really is like being in the classroom.

How do you balance work, school, and other obligations?

It’s already impacted my career.  I mean, as an officer, every year we have to write down what education and training that we take, and so I update my CV and documents every year with the courses.  One of my directors asked me to conduct analyses of one of our programs, and I used many of the tools in the financial analysis class that I took, StatTools and other programs.  And I earned my first commendation medal here as an officer for conducting the analysis and making a program recommendation.  I was very honored to have that.  I was also honored to have my director ask me to conduct the analysis and make a direct application from the learning to work.

What does an average week look like in the program?

Probably the biggest challenge of any MBA program, when you’re working full time and studying full time, I don’t know how people do it when they’ve got family too.  I mean, that’s just a whole other level.  But I made a choice and it’s an investment.  And so instead of investing my time in some of my hobbies, which I’d like to, and I fully intend to get back to when I graduate, I’ve invested in studying.  And, fortunately, with the online program we don’t have to worry about commuting and, you know, actually having to physically be in a classroom unless we really want to.

What does an average week look like in the program?

There really is no average week in the program because it depends on which courses that you’re taking.  Some courses are more demanding of … than others.  Some courses will have assignments that are due throughout the semester; others have papers that they’re due at the end.  Some are based more on class participation.  Some are very involved with teams.  Some are very heavy in terms of the literature and the reading.  And so it really depends.  There is no typical semester.  But I’ve enjoyed it that way.  I’ve learned to pace myself.  And the times when it’s more demanding, I just set aside time to commit to it.  But then when I take a semester where the structure is a bit different, it’s a relief.

Any final thoughts that you would like to share with future students?

I’d say even if you’re just giving an MBA a passing thought, by all means, take it seriously.  This is my fourth master’s degree that I’ve earned.  I also have a doctorate in sociology and a certificate in epidemiology and biostats.  And when I first joined the Public Health Service I was allowed to sign up for educational benefits through the then Montgomery GI Bill and then it transferred into the Post-9/11 Bill.  What I truly believe the MBA Program is really about, learning more and enjoying life.

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