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GW MBA HELPING GRAD REFORM HEALTH CARE
Chris Katkocin’s career focus is business, but healthcare has always been close to his heart. He grew up fascinated by medicine and healthcare systems because his 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.
So when Chris, with his business sensibilities and family history in healthcare, learned about the George Washington University’s online Healthcare MBA, he was naturally drawn to it.
"This program teaches you all the components of a traditional MBA, but it applies it directly to the healthcare industry,” he said. “You really get a business-minded perspective on the healthcare industry while also learning how to improve it through operational enhancements."
Chris now serves as a Deputy Director within the Business Advisory Services Group at the Altarum Institute, a nonprofit that bills itself as a health systems research and consulting organization, where he manages a staff of about 40 employees and oversees a dozen or more healthcare-related projects.
AN IMMEDIATE IMPACT
GW’s Healthcare MBA is designed to teach students current, relevant skills and techniques to help them succeed immediately in the industry.
In 2010, before he had even finished at GW, Chris took a job at the Altarum Institute. On the first day he was able to use the skills he learned at GW to help on a major, years-long project with the federal health provider and the largest integrated health system in the country.
The project, in which Chris was involved for his first couple years at the institute, entailed consolidating revenue collection and management from 153 federal medical centers across the nation to seven centralized locations. It was a resounding success.
"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."
What makes the GW program special to Chris is how it was designed to teach the same principles students would find in a traditional MBA, but with a focus on healthcare.
I was always interested in getting an MBA. But the way that this program takes the components of an MBA and applies it to the healthcare industry — to me, that was really what made GW's program stand out.
In the six years since he began working with the Altarum Institute, Chris has progressed quickly. He started as a junior analyst while finishing up his MBA, and since then has advanced through five positions before landing in his current role as Deputy Director.
Chris said the knowledge he gained remains as relevant in his work today as when he first began. In fact, he finds himself referring back to some of the books he read for classes at GW, and uses them as training resources for new hires.
“The program has absolutely done wonders for not just my career advancement but also in creating a strong network both locally and nationally,” Chris said. “Continuing to use the applications learned and applied from the program — using that in my day-to-day work — has been fantastic.”