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The doctor is in

Abhi Mehrotra - UNC Kenan-FlaglerIt’s been said that you can tell a lot about a person from their signature. But for those looking to uncover insights about Dr. Abhi Mehrotra (MBA ’15), his email signature is what’s most telling.

Below his contact information, Mehrotra – professor, vice chair of strategic initiatives and operations, and medical director of the Hillsborough campus emergency department for the UNC Department of Emergency Medicine – includes a quote by Aesop: “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”

It’s a subtle yet striking detail that speaks volumes about Mehrotra – as a person, physician, educator, family man, student and leader.

Most doctors are motivated by the desire to help others, but Mehrotra has taken things a step further. Over the course of his career, he’d come to realize how the administrative side of medicine impacts the patient side on a day-to-day basis. Fueled by a desire to finesse his business skills and pursue opportunities to positively affect patient care, Mehrotra enrolled in the Weekend Executive MBA Program at UNC Kenan-Flagler.

Like most of his classmates, he already had substantial leadership experience. He’s built on that experience in the MBA program, which has given him the chance to think bigger and more long-term. For Mehrotra, that has meant learning to think strategically about the outcome of his choices and weighing the effects of changes on the hospitals’ day-to-day operations.

“The physician in the emergency department is the captain of the ship, guiding a team of professionals,” he says. “Things change depending on your approach.”

Studying alongside professionals from outside of the medical field helps Mehrotra gain new perspectives, and he often applies what he learns to his roles at UNC’s hospitals and clinics. When a class assignment called for students to create a business plan, he used the opportunity to map out a proposal that was later used for staffing the UNC-Hillsborough emergency department, which opened in July 2015. “Business school has given me an ability to speak the language of the business side of healthcare,” he says.

The MBA program also allowed Mehrotra to explore entrepreneurship, which has long piqued his interest. Innovation, he says, can be used as an avenue for making improvements and implementing transformation in the medical community and the world. Classes like Ted Zoller’s Launching the Venture expanded his knowledge and provided opportunities to learn alongside fellow entrepreneurial-minded professionals in the program – and around the world. As part of the Global Entrepreneurship Lab, Mehrotra and classmates traveled to Denmark to connect and collaborate with founders at the center of the country’s vibrant startup scene.

He’s already putting his medical expertise and broader business acumen to work as a clinical operations consultant for Bivarus, a UNC startup that surveys patients in real time via text message or email, generating an elevated response rate and actionable data.

While he’s enjoying his entrepreneurial pursuits, Mehrotra doesn’t plan to stop teaching and practicing medicine any time soon. Education plays an important role in his life, and he relishes his role in educating students in the School of Medicine’s Emergency Medicine residency program. His teaching style emphasizes compassion and respect in the classroom and in clinical settings.

The son of first-generation immigrants, Mehrotra credits his family – which includes his work and school colleagues and classmates, as well as his parents, wife and kids – with helping him achieve success and is eager to pay it forward. “My mentors have helped me determine where I can go,” he says. “I’ve learned to always be open to learning and have respect for the learning environment.”

Balancing responsibilities as a doctor, professor, hospital administrator, consultant, student, husband and father might sound like an insurmountable challenge. But for Mehrotra, it’s business as usual. His academic prowess, impressive leadership and commitment to helping others landed him on Poets & Quants’ Best EMBAs in the Class of 2015 honors and earned induction into Beta Gamma Sigma, an honor society that recognizes business excellence.

“Abhi has excelled academically, demonstrated outstanding leadership and fully and enthusiastically participated in all our classes and activities. He shows a high level of concern for his fellow classmates and the community,” says Anne-Marie Summers, Weekend Executive MBA Program director. “He embodies what our program is designed to support: people who are excelling in their professions and are ready to take the next step.”