8 Successful Individuals Who Returned to School

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A healthcare manager leads a meeting.Every memorable story has a hero. This person doesn’t have to wear a cape and leap tall buildings in a single bound. Sometimes, a hero’s achievements are more commonplace than the supernatural. According to one definition from the Oxford Dictionary, a hero is a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. Anyone can be the hero in their own story.

These 9 successful individuals who returned to school have earned a post-graduate degree, an outstanding mid-career achievement.

Their stories show it is possible and rewarding to continue your education and career in order to make a more profound difference in the world.

1. Genevieve Regal, Pharm.D., M.B.A.

Genevieve had already earned a Doctor in Pharmacy, which provided her with extensive education on clinical pharmacy. But she wanted to advance her career with a more well-rounded educational foundation that addressed the business of healthcare. Genevieve decided to return to school for an online Healthcare M.B.A. from the George Washington University while continuing with her full-time position.

Career path
After receiving a Healthcare M.B.A., Genevieve earned a promotion to Senior Consultant at BluePeak Advisors, a company dedicated to solving the unique regulatory problems of Medicare Programs Part C and D. This new position requires a mix of expertise that spans clinical pharmacy, operations, leadership, project management and regulatory compliance knowledge – areas that Genevieve excels in thanks to her two advance degrees.

Genevieve made professional connections while taking online classes at the George Washington University. One of these connections led her to co-author an article, with GW Adjunct Assistant Professor Gail Bloom, which explored a facet of Medicare that Genevieve was passionate about. The article was published in a major trade magazine, Modern Medicine.

Words of wisdom
“Throughout my career, I noticed that senior healthcare professionals who excel at their clinical positions typically get promoted to management roles,” Genevieve said. “Healthcare professionals possess strong clinical or technical expertise. However, leadership, business skills and project management are essential abilities needed for success in their new management roles.”

2. Chris Katkocin, M.B.A., PMP, CHFP

Chris Katkocin began his career focused on business, but he always knew that health was his passion. In fact, healthcare was the family business. Chris’s mother was head nurse of Pediatrics at Albert Einstein College Hospital in New York City, and his father earned a Ph.D. in Microbiology en route to a career creating vaccines. With his business sensibilities and family history in healthcare, the Healthcare M.B.A. was a natural fit for Chris Katkocin.

Career path
Today Chris serves as Deputy Director within the Business Advisory Services Group at the Altarum Institute, a nonprofit that focuses on health systems research and consulting. In this position, Chris Katocin manages a staff of 40 employees and oversees more than a dozen healthcare projects.

Chris took a position at the Altarum Institute before he graduated from the George Washington University with a Healthcare M.B.A. From his first day on the job, Chris used the skills he learned in his online courses to assist with a major consulting project with the largest integrated health system in the country. This project, spanning his first two years at Altarum Institute, entailed consolidating revenue collection and management from 153 federal medical centers across the nation to seven centralized locations. According to Katocin, “They now collect close to $3.3 billion a year in terms of their total collections. They weren’t experiencing anywhere near that performance back in the ’90s and early 2000s.”

Words of wisdom
“This program teaches you all the components of a traditional M.B.A., but it applies it directly to the healthcare industry,” Chris said. “You really get a business-minded perspective on the healthcare industry while also learning how to improve it through operational enhancements.”

3. Kimberly Matthews, M.B.A.

In high school, Kimberly Matthews initially wanted to be an attorney. Her career plans
shifted after visiting her mother’s workplace – a rehabilitation center. While still in high school, Kimberly began a work-study program at a nursing home that led to a full-time job offer. She accepted the job and completed her 12th-grade year at night school. Kimberly enrolled in nursing courses at a local community college but soon realized that she did not enjoy the hands-on nature of nursing.

Career path
After 17 years working in healthcare, Kimberly decided to pursue the George Washington University’s online Healthcare M.B.A. to prepare her for making an impact in the healthcare business. “Because I had worked in healthcare for so many years I knew that what I needed was a program that would enhance my knowledge of budget, finances and strategic planning. I would need to be able to project where an organization will be in X amount of years. I felt like I needed an M.B.A. to give me that business acumen.”

Kimberly Matthews currently excels in her position in geriatric medicine at the University of Florida Health Senior Care clinic. In this position, Kimberley works directly with a broad range of healthcare professionals from doctors, nurses, specialists and the CEO.

Kimberly continues to seek out further professional opportunities, and she is better equipped, too. The M.B.A. she earned online in 2014 has given her the in-depth insights into healthcare management to reach more advanced positions in her field.

4. Cmdr. Matthew Newland, M.B.A.

Commander Matthew Newland is an officer and senior policy analyst who works under the Surgeon General in the U.S. Public Health Service. He holds a master’s and Ph.D. in public health and sociology, and he earned another master’s in Southeastern Asian studies. A director of a program within his bureau suggested that Matthew enroll in a M.B.A. program to work towards a leadership position. His colleague understood that a M.B.A. would provide Matthew the fiscal and managerial skills needed to advance his career.

Career path
Still serving in the U.S. Public Health Service, Cmdr. Newland knows that his Healthcare M.B.A. has given him the necessary skills to progress to a larger leadership role, possibly as a program director.

Matthew earned his first commendation medal post-graduation for conducting a thorough program analysis and making a vital recommendation.

Words of wisdom
“The benefits just go on and on — I see that on a daily basis. I have a much greater fiscal literacy — when they have articles about the economy in the news, health policy or issues happening in work environments and companies, it’s almost like I’m wearing a different set of lenses walking through life.”

5. Rhonda Corprew, M.B.A.

Rhonda Corprew first set her sights on an M.B.A. degree in 1995. At the time, she needed to focus on other areas of her life, putting a pause on her dreams of getting a master’s degree. When she learned about the Healthcare M.B.A. at GW, Rhonda knew it was time to take action.

Career path

When Rhonda decided to continue her education, she was a pharmaceutical sales representative with a desire to advance her career. With the skills learned from her Healthcare M.B.A., she plans to start a consulting firm and non-profit organization.

In her position as pharmaceutical sales representative, Rhonda Corprew had the opportunity to present business plans for a vaccine business unit with Pfizer’s Latin America division. The program’s goal was to present social media marketing tools to executives. Working with four colleagues, Rhonda presented a marketing plan that could easily be implemented in many corporations. The presentation was a success and Rhonda looks forward to working on similar projects in the near future.

Words of wisdom
“…if you’re desiring to [get a Healthcare M.B.A.], follow your dreams and follow your passions and do it full force, “Rhonda encourages. “But when go[ing] into the program, make sure you give it a hundred and ten percent on a daily basis, don’t be unorganized, make sure you work at it every day, ‘cause it’s easy to get lazy with the online program. So you have to give it your commitment.”

6. Martin Ezemma, M.B.A.

Martin Ezemma earned an undergraduate degree in criminal justice and studied Cisco Certified Networking. He worked in the criminal justice field before transitioning to the financial insurance services business. After spending a few years in finance, Martin decided to focus on health insurance as a general manager. This is where he developed a desire to solve healthcare issues in the U.S.

Career path
Now that he has received a Healthcare M.B.A., Martin greatly understands his value to any organization. Martin is now the director of international business development at Prince George County Economic Development Corporation. Martin Ezemma will continue to explore higher-level career opportunities with the qualifications that his GW Healthcare M.B.A. provides.

Words of wisdom
“The program has opened up doors that I probably did not know existed.”

7. Leonard Caputo, M.D., M.B.A., F.A.C.S.

As a private practice general surgeon, Leonard Caputo wanted to participate in healthcare reform. He chose to pursue a Healthcare M.B.A. to better understand and contribute to the U.S. healthcare system.

Career path
Dr. Caputo has gained a more in-depth understanding of healthcare policies that help him understand any changes to his practice due to healthcare reform. Anticipating these reforms will help him proactively approach any changes in Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance.

Dr. Caputo already has a successful private practice, and he has begun following the cost curve associated with healthcare policies. Words of wisdom “I would recommend to students considering this, or any professional considering an online experience, to devote the time. They must have the family support, the social, work support and their commitment to finish within two years.”

8. Ellen Dowling, M.B.A.

Ellen Dowling works in the information technology department of a Seattle hospital. She chose the Healthcare M.B.A. program for its rigorous education and flexible schedule, so she could fit education in with her full-time job.

Career path
Ellen Dowling earned a promotion with her Seattle hospital soon after graduating from GW.
After obtaining her Healthcare M.B.A. Ellen went on to become the senior director of IT systems at Virginia hospital.

Words of wisdom
“If I had one tip for people,” Ellen said, “it would be to schedule your own work time, plan ahead in the week and schedule out when you’ll complete all of your assignments and really hold yourself to that.”

The decision to return to school mid-career can pose many challenges, but the risks are usually worth the reward, as evidenced by the above success stories. Parents, veterans and successful professionals in the healthcare industry can advance their skillset and open career options by enrolling in higher education, such as the Healthcare MBA program at George Washington University.