“I was looking for a solid, rigorous foundation in management, strategy, operations, and finance to help me make a larger impact in healthcare.” – Dr. Luke Day, WG’24

Physicians undergo years of rigorous and comprehensive medical education and training, equipping them with the knowledge, skills, and expertise required to practice medicine.

“But as clinicians advance to higher levels of leadership, they typically don’t receive formal management training,” says Dr. Lukejohn (Luke) Day, Wharton MBA Program for Executives student. Luke learned the basics of healthcare management in his first job out of residency as Medical Director of the Gastroenterology Unit at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center. His clinical expertise, natural leadership abilities, and strategic thinking skills earned him a quick promotion to Chief Medical Officer of the entire facility.

“As I gained more responsibilities at work, I started looking for a solid, rigorous foundation in management, strategy, operations, and finance to help me make a larger impact in healthcare,” says Luke. “The Wharton Executive MBA has given me that, plus the ability to maintain my full-time job and gain a huge professional and personal network.” Luke shares how the Wharton EMBA program transformed his daily routine as a physician and equipped him with the knowledge and confidence to make a more expansive impact in healthcare.

Immediate Career Impact

Students in the Wharton MBA Program for Executives work full-time during the week and attend class every other weekend, seamlessly integrating classroom teachings into their daily work routine.

“It’s been a radical transformation as far as how I approach my job,” explains Luke. “Every week I’m applying what I’m learning in class, whether it’s conflict negotiation, metrics efficiency within clinics, proven practices to improve operations, building strong teams…these are things I’ve had to do before, but never had the formal training on. Wharton puts these concepts into an evidence-based framework and allows me to test theories both in class and at work. Oftentimes I will share knowledge I’ve gained from the program with my team so they can implement it within their daily practice, too.”

After completing the first year of the program, Luke leveraged his newfound business savvy and applied for a higher-level role that would amplify his impact: System-Wide Chief Medical Officer at University of California San Francisco Health (UCSF). He credits Wharton with giving him the foundational knowledge and executive presence required to land the position earlier this year.

“Wharton played a significant role in helping me apply for this larger role,” he says. “I loved my work at Zuckerberg, but I wanted to expand that experience to a more integrated healthcare system. This program helped me feel more confident in my unique skill set and refined my vision and long-term goals. Many times, you think the career impact will happen after the program is over, but it happens before you even graduate.”   

After a long day of class, Dr. Day (pictured front left, at the head of the table) enjoys an evening out with classmates in San Francisco. (Image: Dr. Luke Day)

Global Learning Opportunities

First-hand exposure to international healthcare systems is essential for physicians to broaden their understanding of diverse medical practices, cultural nuances, and resource disparities. The Wharton Executive MBA program offers unparalleled global learning opportunities, exposing students to cutting-edge business and social issues in dozens of locations worldwide. Luke elected to participate in two Global Modular Courses (GMCs) which provided unique insights into the healthcare and business sectors of Ghana and Rwanda.

“One of the things that attracted me to Wharton’s Executive MBA program was being able to do an immersive week or two somewhere in the world on a specific topic,” he says. “The Ghana GMC resonated with me because of its focus on healthcare innovation. When you have a healthcare system in a country like Ghana where people are so spread out geographically, you have to be very creative when it comes to access. My classmates and I met with senior leaders in the political, business, and health sectors to learn more about the country’s innovations in healthcare delivery, telemedicine, community outreach programs, sustainable infrastructure, and other topics. Gaining exposure to international healthcare systems allows physicians to witness diverse approaches to healthcare delivery, innovation, and best practices. Global Modular Courses were life-changing experiences for me professionally and personally.”

Future Healthcare Leadership

Set to graduate with his Wharton MBA this spring, Luke is well prepared to excel in his new role at UCSF Health, a nationally recognized major provider of patient care services in the San Francisco Bay Area.

“I’m honored and humbled to be in this new role,” shares Luke. “This is a new position within UCSF due to the rapid growth within the system. We’re transitioning to thinking of ourselves as an entire fully integrated system and scaling ourselves to prepare for future growth. I’ll be working closely with other physicians, nurses, and clinicians to onboard, develop, coach, and mentor leaders throughout the entire system as we provide the best, most optimal, highest quality of care to our patients.”

Looking to the future, Luke will play a pivotal role in shaping the clinical direction of UCSF Health, ensuring that the organization provides excellent patient care while aligning with broader strategic goals and industry best practices.


— Kendra King

Posted: February 23, 2024

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