After working in private practice as a physician for 10 years, Dr. Josue Leon started to become more involved with financial and managerial decisions that medical school didn’t prepare him for.
“Financial statements might as well have been written in Chinese or Russian because I had no idea what I was looking at,” he said.
We asked Josue, now a Wharton EMBA student in San Francisco, to tell us more about his experience in school and how he is applying his new knowledge to his practice.
On Being an MD in Business School
It feels like being a fish out of water, but that is exactly what I was looking for. I researched a few programs specifically targeted at doctors, but I wanted a rigorous program to gain the knowledge and skills needed to improve the business aspects of my medical practice. I wanted a full MBA.
On Applying New Knowledge
I’ve been able to apply my Wharton knowledge in ways I didn’t expect. On a class weekend in my second term, I suddenly started getting phone calls telling me that our practice, which has been in business since 1965, was going through a serious managerial crisis. The situation was so critical that I took the red eye back to San Diego that night.
Fortunately, I was able to take the knowledge from my Wharton classes and apply it directly to that crisis. And because I was a Wharton MBA student, I had credibility in front of my employees and colleagues that I knew what I was talking about. We might not be in business today if it weren’t for the knowledge I gained at Wharton in just a term and a half.
During that crisis, I turned to lessons from my Management class. Prof. Michael Useem teaches Leadership, sometimes some of us affectionately call him Papa Useem because when you walk into the class, he sits on a stool and starts telling you stories.
He talks about saving miners in Chile, how park rangers fought uncontrollable fires, and about many other leadership moments. At the time, you might wonder what he is preparing you for, but the lessons from those stories really sink in when you’re in the middle of a crisis.
On Learning from Classmates
By connecting with students in other industries, you see how your challenges are similar. Many of my classmates are leaders in the military, technology, and many other industries yet they are experiencing some of the same problems that we see in medicine.
You start learning from each other, which is another benefit of this program. It’s not just about textbook learning, but learning from others how to deal with challenges that business and life throw at you.
On Career Impact
I joined the American College of Healthcare Executives. I will be joining the executive team of my health care system as part of a fellowship in Health Care Management. I don’t think I would have gotten into this position prior to Wharton.
It’s exciting because I didn’t come here to make a career change or stop being a doctor. I’m going to continue practicing medicine, but I want to take advantage of my education.
On Knowledge for Action
This is the kind of experience that you use in your everyday business life. If you want to learn, if you want to challenge yourself, if you want to build character, then you should come to Wharton. If you want to be a leader then this is the program for you.
Posted: March 17, 2015