Rachel Phillips started her career as a pharmacist at Walmart in 2009. Through the years, she took on several different management roles, eventually becoming a regional health and wellness director for the company. After years of steady advancement, Phillips started to take careful stock of where she was and what exactly she wanted to do going forward. She decided an MBA was her next step, “not only to complement the skillset that I had already gained, but to open doors and explore other fields beyond the retail healthcare setting.”
Healthcare Management Development a Key Factor
Phillips says she opted for Creighton’s Executive Healthcare MBA because it offered the curriculum she was looking for. Specifically, she wanted a program that would enhance her understanding of the business side of healthcare while also helping her to develop new leadership skills. She says she’s passionate about leading and directing teams, adding, “I really see myself growing into a healthcare leader and not just a leader in pharmacy. The EMBA gives opportunity and exposure to better understand multi-discipline healthcare administration.”
Phillips pursued the EMBA with an eye to her future, but it came a little sooner than she expected. She learned a restructure meant her role was changing—and moving. She opted not to relocate and instead accepted a role at OptumRX as the senior director of specialty fulfillment operations. She says being in the EMBA program “absolutely helped” her land the new opportunity and she feels it will help her as she grows within the company as well.
A Diverse Cohort Rounds Out the Program
Phillips says the program has, “Delivered beyond my expectations. When I entered the program, I very much knew there was academic rigor and I would be diving into coursework, but what has been such a pleasant surprise has been the network of people—the faculty and the peers in the cohort.” Phillips hadn’t considered who else might be in the classes with her, but she was happy to see a wide variety of healthcare settings and professions represented. Her classmates offer perspectives that will help her in her current role and down the road.
A Leap Worth Taking
Like most people working full time and pursing an advanced degree, Phillips says she has to be mindful of time management, but the option of audio and electronic textbooks has been a huge help as she balances assignments and travel for work. On top of that, flexibility, compassion and trust are the rule rather than the exception in the program. She says that amidst personal and professional challenges, faculty have been exceptionally accommodating and encouraging.
So what would she say to someone considering the program like she was a year ago? “I would say, it’s worth it. There are always those hesitations, but I would just encourage people to jump in and take a leap of faith. The reward you get from learning and growing in a capacity outside your daily work is huge.” She notes that healthcare has been and will continue to be disrupted. Those willing to step outside their comfort zones and broaden their knowledge base will be the ones to lead the way.