Jason Genta, DDS, had been considering pursuing an MBA for several years, but the upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic was the final push he needed to commit. The changes the pandemic brought to the dental industry motivated him to continue his education. He entered the program in the fall of 2020, and while adding another thing to his plate was no small matter, he’s glad he opted to start down the road to an Executive Healthcare MBA.
Coming Back to Creighton
Genta is a 2011 Creighton Dental School alum. After graduation, he completed a one-year residency at UCLA and then began practicing at DecisionOne Dental Partners in Chicago, where he still works today. In 2016, he became vice president of clinical affairs for DecisionOne, helping to manage the clinical and business operations of the company and its 33 locations. In his new role, he faced a steep learning curve in the areas of leadership, management, and business, leading him to consider an Executive Healthcare MBA.
So did he choose Creighton’s EMBA program simply because of his familiarity with the University from dental school? No, he reports. Along with appreciating the school’s Jesuit values and whole-person approach to education, he says he was, “impressed with how well the program is tailored to a busy healthcare professional. It’s the perfect mix of in-person, online and on-demand training.” Other programs didn’t compare. He also appreciated that the program focuses on healthcare specifically and that many of the professors are working practitioners. These real-life healthcare executives are “different from a faculty member who is teaching from a book. These are people who are out there living it and doing it every day. In a lot of ways, it feels more like a mentorship than a teacher-student relationship.”
A Program that Complements His Career
Genta is currently in the thick of the program, and while going back to school has been a change of pace, he says the work doesn’t feel like a typical school setting with traditional homework. It’s more than checking a box to fulfill an assignment. His professors have encouraged him to tailor course projects to his full-time job. For example, his company recently opted to add new service lines, including oral surgery and orthodontics, to their organization. He used the real-world task as the topic of a class project, so he was able to meet his school and work obligations at the same time. “Do something valuable to you,” is something he hears from his professors a lot, meaning, make sure the work you’re doing applies to your specific situation and needs.
As the only dentist in his cohort, Genta initially wondered if he would relate to his classmates. With many of them working in hospitals or other traditional healthcare settings, would he get much out of their interactions? Thus far, he’s found that the insights and perspectives from those in other industries have been remarkably valuable. He notes, “Gaining numerous, diverse perspectives has been both interesting and helpful in shaping the way I think and approach real-world problems.”
When asked what has been his biggest challenge, Genta acknowledges that fitting it all in (work, family, friends, school) is no small task. Having just completed his second four-day, in-person residency for the program in Omaha, he says that’s a common feeling among other members of the cohort, but meeting this challenge together has helped ease the burden. He notes that the program is flexible and, “the blend of in-person learning along with virtual is what not only makes the program possible, it makes it enjoyable even though each and every one of us is busy.”
Seeing the Way Forward
In the end, the effort is more than worthwhile. The business of healthcare is increasingly complex, and Genta says, “It’s important for healthcare professionals with a clinical background to be more involved with the business of our healthcare organizations. We need to have a stronger voice. In order to do that, we have to increase our knowledge in terms of leadership, administration and business. I think this is the perfect opportunity to do that.”