“If I have one word of advice to prospective students, it’s to understand your motivation. UNC is a first-class program that takes first-class commitment. Don’t just do it to get an MBA. Real drive comes from having a purpose. Make sure your reasons for getting an MBA are strong enough to push you through the challenges.
One particular experience brought the value of an MBA front and center for me. From 2007 to 2010, I had the privilege of serving as the Administrator for Pender Memorial Hospital. I had been the mayor of our small town and I’d earned a Master’s in healthcare administration, so I understood the public side of the job. But when I took on the role of Hospital Administrator, I soon realized that I lacked an understanding of the business side. In the end, I was able to implement a short-term strategy to stem losses and deliver a $975,000 turnaround for the hospital, but I wasn’t able to achieve sustainable long-term growth. I recognized my limits. I knew I needed a better understanding of complex financial problems and an ability to think strategically about multi-dimensional issues.
I requested a transfer to a position where I felt confident that I could make a difference. Then I applied to UNC’s Weekend MBA program. Some people may have chosen to continue as hospital administrator while pursuing a degree. For me, it would not only have been too much to balance, it would also have been a disservice to my organization. In retrospect, I’m grateful for the lessons that I learned as a hospital administrator. It showed me what I need to do to reach my goals, and it inspired me to pursue my MBA. That motivation makes all the sacrifices easier.”