Cardiology Team Lead To iMBA Student

Acute Care Cardiology Team Lead, Piedmont Heart Institute & iMBA Student, Kyle Fortman

Describe your journey to your online degree:

I was burnt out on traditional medicine and wanted to take more of a leadership role in my profession. I liked my job, but the culture had changed. To grow, I needed to get out of the fog of 10-hour days and do more than patient bedside work. I wanted to wake up to a new experience – a new challenge.

I chose the Gies College of Business online MBA not only for its reputation and the incredible price but also because of the options to specialize and the innovative way they deliver the content. I chose global business and innovation because my industry needs to look outside of the US to understand the best, most innovative ways to deliver healthcare.

The US economy spends more than twice what other countries do on healthcare with no better outcomes. This degree is helping me understand the macroeconomics that plays into hospital dynamics. I also am learning firsthand about how local economies in other countries deliver high-quality care. A Swiss physician who practices in Germany is in one of my classes, and we’re sharing ways to start and grow entrepreneurial ideas.

What was the online learning experience like?

The Gies iMBA program is much different and much better than a traditional in-class environment. The whole platform brings the classroom to you. We can chat during class, expressing our thoughts and ideas without disturbing the lecture. Meetings with your groups are so easy; five of us can review a topic together in one of the break-out rooms. It’s a team mentality.

How would you describe the online learning community?

In medicine, we talk about “see one, do one, teach one.” After hearing about students networking informally in other cities, I planned our first meet-up in the Nashville, TN, area when I was working there. I have many people that I consider lifelong friends. We frequently meet up on Zoom about job opportunities, family, and career changes across time zones.

How did you balance work and study?

This program is very rigorous. When you have a job, wife, kids, and other responsibilities finding time to complete everything is the biggest hurdle. I stay up late, pause the class to give my infant a bottle and change a diaper, then hit play again. I also took one class in a friend’s guest room on Halloween the night before a job interview.

But the on-demand classroom, whether on Coursera or live sessions, has made it very easy and reasonable to keep up with the coursework and even work ahead.

My colleagues have been very excited and supportive. They see I better understand our financial situation and can contribute more to strategic planning. I can look at the strategic placement of our staff across regions based on metrics that show where the market’s saturated and where there’s more share to gain. I also have applied change management theory to implementing our new electronic health records system.

I also am addressing unconscious biases by having the tools to bring more people into the conversation. By making sure everyone has a voice – not only physicians, but nurses, physician’s assistants, and administrators – we make better decisions and gain practical knowledge from one another.

Read more about Gies on our Partner Publisher page.