One-Year MBA Alum Puts Skills to Work at BJC Collaborative
The Princeton Review argues "an MBA can accelerate your career prospects, whatever the industry and can set you apart from other job seekers." That's been true for Sarah Gray, a 2015 MBA graduate of Saint Louis University's Chaifetz School of Business.
Gray earned her MBA at the Chaifetz School as a dual degree student in the school's full-time, One-Year MBA program while pursuing her Master of Health Administration from SLU's nationally ranked program. Since finishing her master's degrees, she's used her unique skill set to rise to program director of the BJC Collaborative.
"Obtaining both my MBA and MHA has been invaluable as I have been able to combine the business lens of an MBA with the healthcare lens of an MHA," Gray said.
BJC Collaborative is an organization of seven independent, nonprofit systems, which together enhance the quality of health care provided to the patients they serve, provide meaningful population health benefits and reduce health care costs.
In her role as program director, Gray is responsible for managing the strategic initiatives of the BJC Collaborative, including its endeavors in providing virtual healthcare services, collaborating with Washington University School of Medicine in oncology services and group purchasing in clinical asset management and supply chain. Through group purchasing and cost saving initiatives, the BJC Collaborative member health systems have collectively saved nearly $440 million since the Collaborative’ s inception in 2012.
"I'm responsible for developing and managing strategy associated with meeting the collaborative's goals, achieving buy-in, maintaining engagement among stakeholders, resolving key issues and managing vendor procurement, contracting and performance," Gray said.
Before Gray decided to get her MBA, she worked as a business analyst at a healthcare technology organization.
"One of my family members needed an extended hospital stay, and I saw firsthand how the business decisions that were made by healthcare administrators, such as those related to technology implementation, deeply impacted access and quality of care for patients," Gray said. "Through the combination of these professional and personal experiences, I ultimately realized I wanted to devote my career to improving the way that healthcare is delivered in my community."
For Gray, earning a degree didn't mean learning stopped. After completing a B.A. in business and commerce in 2012, Gray saw the potential for growth to succeed in a career in the health field.
"I decided to get an MBA so I could take additional accounting and finance courses to strengthen my financial skills. What I didn’t realize is that I wouldn’t just strengthen my skills in the financial space, but also in strategy, law, international business, marketing and more – all of which have been invaluable in my career so far."
Through the One-year MBA program at SLU, Gray also gained valuable insight into how to market herself to future employers.
"My most significant takeaway from the MBA was improving my professional development competencies," Gray said. "I learned how to successfully network, navigate a job search, set myself apart as a high performer and continue to grow throughout my career."
The One-year MBA program at the Chaifetz School challenges its students by providing a hands-on learning environment so students can apply these skills to the real-world.
"I use the skills that I learned from my MBA classes in my job everyday – from developing project plans using concepts from the project management courses to leading teams using strategies from the management course."
With enhanced skills from an MBA and MHA, Gray has made the impact in healthcare she dreamed about since her first job as a business analyst.
"This MBA/MHA combination has equipped me with the tools, resources and knowledge base to critically examine and identify potential solutions for how the business of healthcare can be improved to provide higher quality of care to patients at a lower cost," Gray said.
The Chaifetz School's One-Year MBA program is designed to complement the skills of any undergraduate degree. SLU offers the One-Year MBA as part of a dual degree for medical, law, master of healthcare administration and master of education as well as to MBA students interested in a full-time program that allows students to complete an AACSB accredited MBA in just 11 months.