Healthcare MBA Faculty Profiles

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Dr. Robert Dyer


Online Healthcare MBA Program
The George Washington University

Tell us about yourself and your role at the George Washington University.

Hi, I’m Professor Robert Dyer.  I’m a faculty member in the marketing program and I’ve been at the university for a good long while and enjoying my experience in teaching graduate courses and study abroad for graduate students and, particularly, the online Healthcare MBA program.

Well, I’ve been at the George Washington University for a good long time, forty years to be exact.  I came here from the Smith School at the University of Maryland, was my first job out of the Ph.D. program.  I was doing work in public policy, working with the Federal Trade Commission.  And I’ve taught, literally, all the courses in the marketing program.  And, more specifically, courses like marketing, research and new product development and buyer behavior.  And then the strategy courses in the marketing area as well.

What key research and / or publications are you currently working on?

Well, my focus early on was on marketing and public policy issues working with the Federal Trade Commission.  And I did a lot of work, a whole series of publications and articles on a topic called corrective advertising.  I’ve also worked with the Food and Drug Administration in the public policy area, another application was children are advertising.  But, in addition, I’ve worked with a colleague in the School of Business who also teaches in this program, Dr. Ernest Forman.  And we’ve worked extensively with marketing applications, the analytic hierarchy process, which relates to strategic decision making in how marketers can improve their decision making capabilities using this software supported vehicle.

What courses do you currently teach?

The key course is really for me, the online survey courses in marketing, the two course sequence, the nature of markets and marketing decisions.  And our focus here is on a number of theoretical and conceptual tools for marketing decision making, doing a SWOT analysis, assessing your competitors, application of market research and customer relationship management.  We do a lot of application exercises in the course, including case studies and, most importantly, the fact that the students in the program are divided into teams and they actually work with a client in the industry and they have to do a strategic marketing plan for that client.

What is your most memorable experience in the online program?

Again, it relates to the nature of markets and marketing decisions classes.  It’s the use of virtual guest speakers, and some our chat and Elluminate Live capabilities, the technology within the program.  So I’m fortunate enough to have a number of contacts.  Some of these are our alums, who actually work in marketing positions within the field.  For example, the director of The George Washington University Medical Centre is an adjunct faculty member and has worked with us for a number of years.  And he does a session on the opening of the health center’s new spine center.  An alum one of my students is the director of marketing at Children’s Hospital.  And she talks about the application of social media and also how she uses marketing planning for the Children’s Hospital.  Another graduate works in the pharmaceutical industry, and she’s also one of our virtual online lecturers.  And her application specifically is on some of the problems and opportunities associated with weight loss pharmaceutical products.  So students really participate so strongly in these experiences and the opportunity that I moderate, getting a chance to interact, okay, after a presentation session with a real live practitioner in the field who’s doing this in the marketing area.

What is the background of students enrolled in the program?

Really more diverse than one might think.  It’s not all folks, okay, staff or board certified physicians who work for hospitals.  It’s the complete gamut of public policy positions, the Food and Drug Administration, research positions, individuals involved in pharmaceuticals or wellness programs.  So it’s very, very diverse in terms of the kinds of jobs, okay, that our students find themselves in.  I think the common it’s some area of healthcare, we can say for sure, but whether its technology, whether its policy, whether it’s running a practice or whatever you is known, the variations are within the individual students.

What makes the GW Healthcare MBA online program unique?

I believe it’s our Washington location and the access we … that we have to practitioners and people in a variety of policy roles.  I think our school is very, very strong in the areas of ethnics and social responsibility, which are a critical part of the core in the program.  In addition, I think it’s the active oversight role and involvement of our full-time faculty.  Even though we do use some exceptional adjunct faculty in the programs, the lion’s share of the course, particularly in the core courses, are taught by faculty or who are full time.  And their commitment, attending planning meetings and sessions on the continuous improvement program.

I think the uniqueness is the fact that there are both theory, conceptual frameworks and so many practical opportunities, like, for example, my course where teams of five to six MBA’s with really strong backgrounds choose a client, okay, and work to develop a strategic marketing plan with that client.  So it’s theory and applications, a strong blend of the two.

How do healthcare practitioners balance the business bottom line and ensure quality patient care?

Most of the practitioners are in here because they think they need strengthening in the management and strategic planning aspects of the program.  One can be a great practitioner, whether it’s in surgery or an area like oncology or … or whatever.  But the fact is that once you get beyond a certain point in your career, increasingly, you’re required to have leadership, management and strategy responsibilities.  And so to be a carpenter without tools isn’t a fortunate situation to be in.  So I think managing a staff, working with leadership, looking at global opportunities are all things that one can glean out of this program.

What are the traits of a successful online student?

Our students are all busy professionals.  And the program is taught straight up as a strong MBA program.  So the fact that they are an online program doesn’t change, doesn’t diminish one iota of the content they’re getting out of the GW MBA.  So I think perseverance, budgeting time, deciding when they can do their work, because there is homework and these projects take considerable amount of time.  So it’s … it’s a good scheduler, it’s a good time manager, it’s an individual who is really dedicated to completing this program because this stuff comes, it’s like what’s the analogy, drinking from a fire hose, it can be literally like that at times.  But their motivation gets them through it.

What do you think is the future of the healthcare industry?

Certainly, what we look at in our classes are more applications overseas, also healthcare tourism that is that we have patients that come to us from abroad.  And many of institutions are embracing this is … is an important factor underlying patient demand.  Technology is incredibly important in all aspects of service delivery, management of the patient relationship and so forth that so technology, global and the other aspects that I’ve mentioned, I think are the key factors.

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

If you want a great program, one that gives you an opportunity with to learn with an exceptional group of colleagues and a dedicated faculty, one ought to consider the George Washington University Healthcare MBA program.