For alumnae Joy Jaco and Akshita Venkatramanan, the decision to pursue a degree at the Bryan School of Business and Economics was one that directly benefited their careers in medicine and science.
“I noticed through my several positions in healthcare a need to have business knowledge on top of my science knowledge,” said Jaco, who earned a Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 2010. “I needed to know how to communicate with broader groups of people and how to strategically think about things in different frameworks for different problems within healthcare.”
Jaco went on to earn an MBA from the Bryan School in 2019 and says she enjoyed learning how to think about things from a new perspective.
“I almost had this tunnel vision for my specific position,” she said. “But I really couldn’t see how my position and my healthcare knowledge fit the bigger picture on a global scale or a broader company scale. I couldn’t see that until the MBA education.”
Jaco was able to add to her educational foundation by expanding on topics from leadership and sustainable business to economic policies and their impact on global outcomes. She took the next step in her career as a pharmacist and now serves as a Pharmaceutical and Med Products Practice Team Leader.
For someone in similar shoes, having a better understanding of markets and supply and demand could impact their research or even a grant they’re writing.
Venkatramanan, on the other hand, was looking to the Bryan School for help in another area.
“Managing, leadership, everything,” said Venkatramanan. “Though I got a practical exposure (through my career) I still felt the need to have a background on it.”
Venkatramanan paired her technology and computer science bachelor’s degree with an MS in Information Technology and Management from the Bryan School, which she earned in 2019. She now works as a business solutions analyst after building on her experience as a systems engineer and IT analyst.
“It’s one thing to experience something practically but it’s a different feel to learn about it and understand different perspectives on it within a specific industry,” she said. “I did not have any business knowledge and decided to come back to school and brush up my skills with team management, project management, and come back and lead my team in a better way.”
If your goal is a career as a clinical contracts specialist, executive director of lab services, clinical solutions program manager, or a nurse manager, the road to that finish line may seem daunting.
Jaco admits she felt a bit overwhelmed while considering pursuing an MBA. She felt like her background was a great fit for the things she wanted to do in the future, but had no idea at the time what her opportunities would be.
“I was nervous if an MBA program was going to take me; I didn’t know if I was a candidate,” she said. “I laugh because I know it’s so silly now but when I was looking for different MBA programs that was my biggest concern. I later learned that it wasn’t a concern at all. I think the most exciting thing was taking a deep dive into some of those areas I didn’t have experience in. I remember taking an economics class so long ago. My first semester was economics and quantitative analysis, which sounds intimidating, but every course I just got so excited about the content but I couldn’t believe how relatable the content was and in everyday life.”
Students and professionals considering a business degree should, of course, consider the benefits alongside their career goals. They should think through the timing and what their next steps will be.
Whether it’s a rather aggressive courseload or continuing to work full-time, Venkatramanan and Jaco both admitted their pursuits were challenging at times. But Jaco believes it’s worth it.
“Honestly, I just don’t think you can go wrong,” she said.
“It doesn’t really matter when,” she said. “The sooner you get that knowledge, the better.”